Future Missions

Solar Orbiter


The Solar Orbiter is a spacecraft which will follow an elliptic orbit very close to the Sun allowing an unprecedented view of the polar regions. It will carry two instrument packages. These include Solar remote sensing instruments to directly view the Sun from close, high latitudes making observations of the solar atmosphere at high temporal and spatial resolutions, with the Heliospheric in-situ instruments making measurements of the currently unexplored inner heliosphere.

Solar Orbiter is designed to understand how the Sun influences its environment by the creation and propagation of solar wind into interplanetary space. Solar Orbiter will be close enough to the Sun to sample this solar wind shortly after it has been ejected from the solar surface, while at the same time observing in great detail the process accelerating the wind on the Sun's surface. 


The scientific objectives of Solar Orbiter rely ubiquitously on the Extreme-Ultraviolet Imager (EUI), a suite of imaging telescopes to observe the solar atmosphere. EUI will allow us, on one hand, to determine the global structure of the solar corona and, on the other hand, to provide a crucial understanding of fine scale processes in the dynamic solar atmosphere. Images taken by the Full Sun Imager (FSI) of the EUI suite will offer the indispensable link between the solar surface and the outer corona, which ultimately shapes the characteristics of the interplanetary medium to be sampled in situ by Solar Orbiter. The two High Resolution Imagers (HRIs) will provide a nearly simultaneous view of the solar atmosphere. They will image the upper chromosphere, the quiescent and the active corona, thus providing a comprehensive view of the solar atmosphere dynamics under different conditions, and uniquely at different viewpoints.

The EUI consortium consists of 7 institutes in 5 countries. There are 4 co-PIs (Harra, Appourchaux, Schuehle, Berghmans). The institutes involved are in UK (MSSL), Belgium (CSL (PI Pierre Rochus), ROB), France (IAS, IO), Germany (MPS), Switzerland (PMOD).

See Dr Lucie Green's site for more.

Page last modified on 26 oct 11 12:16