A Heliospheric Imager for Deep Space: Lessons Learned from Helios, SMEI, and STEREO
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1007/s11207-010-9579-3
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.