Science with the solar optical telescopeThe Solar Optical Telescope (SOT) is designed to provide the solar physics community with the data necessary for solving several fundamental problems in the energetics and dynamics of the solar atmosphere. Among these problems are questions on the origin and evolution of the sun's magnetic field, heating of the outer solar atmosphere, and sources of the solar wind in the lower lying regions of the outer atmosphere. The SOT will be built under the management of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, with science instruments provided by teams led by Principal Investigators. The telescope will be built by the Perkin-Elmer Corporation, and the science instruments selected for the first flight will be provided by the Lockheed Palo Alto Research Laboratory (LPARL) and the California Institute of Technology, with actual construction of a combined science instrument taking place at the LPARL. The SOT has a 1.3-meter-diameter primary mirror that will be capable of achieving diffraction-limited viewing in the visible of 0.1 arc-second. This dimension is less than a hydrodynamic scale-height or a mean-free-path of a continuum photon in the solar atmosphere. Image stability will be achieved by a control system in the telescope, which moves both the primary and tertiary mirrors in tandem, and will be further enhanced by a correlation tracker in the combined science instrument. The SOT Facility is currently scheduled for its first flight on Spacelab at the beginning of the 1990's.
Jordan, S. D. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Hogan, G. D. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)