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The Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI)  

Robert P. Lin   Submitted: 2002-09-19 14:17

RHESSI is the sixth in the NASA line of Small Explorer (SMEX) missions and the first managed in the Principal Investigator mode, where the PI is responsible for all aspects of the mission except the launch vehicle. RHESSI is designed to investigate particle acceleration and energy release in solar flares through X-ray and gamma-ray imaging and spectroscopy. It provides the first hard X-ray imaging spectroscopy, the first high-resolution gamma-ray line spectroscopy, and the first imaging above 100 keV including the first imaging of gamma-ray lines. This is accomplished with a Fourier transform imager consisting of nine bi-grid rotating modulation collimators (RMCs), in front of a nine germanium detector (GeD) spectrometer, one GeD behind each RMC, cooled to ~75 K by a Sterling-cycle mechanical cooler. It has a full-Sun (~1) FOV, high spatial resolution (as fine as ~2.3 arcsec), and high spectral resolution (~1-5 keV FWHM) over the energy range from soft X-rays (3 keV) to gamma-rays (17 MeV). An automated shutter system allows a wide dynamic range (>107) of flare intensities to be handled without instrument saturation. Data for every photon is stored in a solid-state memory for later telemetry to the ground, thus allowing for versatile data analysis keyed to specific science objectives. The spin-stabilized (~15 rpm) spacecraft is Sun-pointing to within ~0.2 and operates autonomously. RHESSI was launched on February 5, 2002, into a nearly circular orbit (600-km apogee, 586-km perigee) at 38 inclination, and began observations a week later. The mission is operated from Berkeley using a dedicated 11-m antenna for telemetry reception and command uplinks. All data and analysis software are made freely and immediately available to the scientific community.

Authors: R. P. Lin, B. R. Dennis, G. J. Hurford, D. M. Smith, A. Zehnder, P. R. Harvey, D. W. Curtis, D. Pankow, P. Turin, M. Bester, A. Csillaghy, M. Lewis, N. Madden, H. F. van Beek, M. Appleby, T. Raudorf, J. McTiernan, R. Ramaty, E. Schmahl, R. Schwartz, S. Krucker, R. Abiad, T. Quinn, P. Berg, M. Hashii, R. Sterling, R. Jackson, R. Pratt, R. D Campbell, D. Malone, D. Landis, C. P. Barrington-Leigh, S. Slassi-Sennou, C. Cork, D. Clark, D. Amato, L. Orwig, R. Boyle, I. S. Banks, K. Shirey, A. K. Tolbert, D. Zarro, F. Snow, K. Thomsen, R. Henneck, A. Mchedlishvili, P. Ming, M. Fivian, John Jordan, Richard Wanner, Jerry Grubb, J. Preble, M. Matranga, A. Benz, H. Hudson, R. C. Canfield, G. D. Holman, C. Crannell, T. Kosugi, A. G. Emslie, N. Vilmer, J. C. Brown, C. Johns-Krull, M. Aschwanden, T. Metcalf, A. Conway

Publication Status: Solar Physics (in press)
Last Modified: 2002-09-24 11:37
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