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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Heliospheric Imager for Deep Space: Lessons Learned from Helios, SMEI, and STEREO

  • Author(s): Jackson, B. V.
  • Buffington, A.
  • Hick, P. P.
  • Bisi, M. M.
  • Clover, J. M.
  • et al.

The zodiacal-light photometers on the twin Helios spacecraft, the Solar Mass Ejection Imager (SMEI) on the Coriolis spacecraft, and the Heliospheric Imagers (HIs) on the Solar-TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) twin spacecraft all point the way to optimizing future remote-sensing Thomson-scattering observations from deep space. Such data could be provided by wide-angle viewing instruments on Solar Orbiter, Solar Probe, or other deep-space probes. Here, we present instrument specifications required for a successful heliospheric imager, and the measurements and data-processing steps that make the best use of this remote-sensing system. When this type of instrument is properly designed and calibrated, its data are capable of determining zodiacal-dust properties, and of three-dimensional reconstructions of heliospheric electron density over large volumes of the inner heliosphere. Such systems can measure fundamental properties of the inner heliospheric plasma, provide context for the in-situ monitors on board spacecraft, and enable physics-based analyses of this important segment of the Sun-spacecraft connection.

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