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Far Side of the Sun

  1. Nov 27, 2006 #1
    Whenever something interesting happens on the side of the sun that faces earth, is there any orbiting satellite that can simultaneously view the opposite side?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 27, 2006 #2
    No real need to
     
  4. Nov 28, 2006 #3

    Chronos

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    Hi RJEmery, welcome to PF! The answer to your question is yes, it's called SOHO.
    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/060320_sun_farside.html
    One of the purposes of SOHO is to warn us of any eruptions occuring on the far side of the sun. Satellites tend to be expensive as solar flare detectors. If you know one is threatening to rotate into view, the potential damage can be mitigated in many cases.
     
  5. Nov 28, 2006 #4

    tony873004

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    I was about to disagree with you until I read your link. Very interesting stuff.
     
  6. Nov 28, 2006 #5
    Chronos,

    That is truly marvelous -- sonograms of the sun! I would imagine that observing far side phenomena in this manner would also be subject to varying degrees of distortion, all the better to understand the different densities and internal structure of the sun. The sun is hardly homogeneous.

    Ulysses is another sun observing satellite, although in solar polar orbit. I am curious to know if its elliptical orbit, perpendicular to the equitorial plane and extending to the orbit of Jupiter, precesses along the zodiac. I am also curious about the orbit's eccentricity. Do you have any sources to answer those two questions?
     
  7. Nov 28, 2006 #6

    Nereid

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    Try this page.
     
  8. Nov 28, 2006 #7
    Nereid,

    I'm afraid few web sources if any discuss orbital characteristics and dynamics of space probes. From what little I have been able to glean, I am amazed at how Ulysses, Cassini, Messenger and many others get to their destinations, and once there, how they are controlled and maneuvered to carry out their missions.
     
  9. Nov 29, 2006 #8

    Chronos

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    Neried gave a very good link, ESA. I can't improve much on that. Here is the NASA link:

    http://ulysses.jpl.nasa.gov/

    The orbit of Ulysses is essentially perpendicular to the sun's rotational axis [I don't have the deviation figures at hand, but assume they can be pinned down. The orbit is pretty elliptical. That is by design. The orbit occupied by Ulyssess is timed to match the sunspot cycle, as noted in the ESA and NASA links. The intent is to make close passes during the minima and maxima cycles.

    The scientific missions being 'flown' these days are amazing. The first one that truly blew me away was the mars lander [my age is showing]. How amazing is that - driving a remote controlled vehicle around on another planet? Modern science is very, very good. None of these kinds of experiments would work if we were wrong by more than a few parts per billion - and sometimes a few parts per trillion.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2006
  10. Nov 29, 2006 #9

    Nereid

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    While its scope is considerably broader than just 'driving the probes', "Voyager's Grand Tour", by Dethloff and Schorn gives a window into just what's involved, from a non-technical perspective. The book has a huge, huge bibliography, including material on the more technical aspects of 'how to get there' (if not back too).

    I think you'll find some good material on the web on this - both technical and non-technical, starting with the mission pages of each probe (you will have to be patient though, too often the stuff you want doesn't come by simply clicking on a link with a nice name like 'interested layperson's guide to how {probe} got to {target}, its trajectory, orbit, etc'
     
  11. Nov 29, 2006 #10
    Nereid,

    I appreciate the suggestion. Voyager's Grand Tour, although published in 2003, would appear to be out-of-date by decades. Still, it will serve as a good beginning.

    I have not had good luck with web searches, and I doubt if I could find something that I could understand on the unusual (to me at least) trajectories of the more recent deep space probes.

    I need to contact someone within NASA who actually plans the flight paths of these missions, and learn from him or her what would be available at my level, something on the order of an "executive overview." That may not be as far-fetched as it may seem at first. I will gladly share herein whatever suitable material I am able to identify.
     
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