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Laboratory of X-ray Astronomy of the Sun





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Solar Space Experiments in LPI

TESIS team



Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences

LPI Solar X-ray Astronomy Laboratory (LPI abbr. Lebedev Physics Institute) is one of the leading centers for the study of solar activity in Russia. In the course of theoretical and experimental studies unique data was obtained at the laboratory: structure and dynamics of the solar corona, mechanisms of energy release in the solar atmosphere, temperature and spectral composition of the solar plasma. Research scientists at the laboratory, for the first time in history, conducted a satellite experiment on observation of the Suns short-wavelength radiation. For the first time, particles of the Earth's radiation belts (also known as Van Allen radiation belts) were recorded, the first in the country x-ray photograph of the Sun was taken, and the first-ever solar spectrum with the wavelengths shorter than 10 angstroms was registered.

In a new history of Russia until the year 2009, the laboratory as a part of the CORONAS program of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Complex ORbital Observations Near-Earth of Activity of the Sun), carried out systematic studies of the solar corona using the X-ray spectroscopy. Since 1991, as part of this program, three satellites had been launched into space to study the Sun: CORONAS-I (1994), CORONAS-F (2005) and CORONAS-Photon (2009).

Currently, the laboratory is working on a number of promising projects, including the participation in the building of scientific equipment for the spacecraft Intergeliozond, conducting work on building of the solar telescopes ARKA, and being a manufacturer of the scientific equipment and spacecraft's components such as on Spectrum-UV, Zond, Electro, and number of others. The laboratory is open for cooperation in research and development projects on optical and x-ray imaging equipment in a field of space and ground experiments, as well as for the electronic and mechanical components in scientific equipment and others.

Building of the X-Ray imaging Telescopes and Spectrometers for Experiments in Space.

Solar X-ray Astronomy Laboratory at the Lebedev Physics Institute has unique unparalleled capabilities in the country to build high-precision telescopes and spectrometers for conducting research of the Sun and experiments in space. The laboratory carries out a full cycle of works on the building of the scientific equipment, starting from the concept development and modeling, and ending with the building of an actual model delivered on board of the spacecraft. In total, from 1951 to 2007, the equipment which was built by the LPI Solar X-ray Astronomy Laboratory had been working on board of more than 30 spacecraft satellites and geophysical rockets.

Some of these experiments are shown in the graph below.

LPI space experiments from 1957 to 2008

Solar Observatory Coronas-F. It had been working on the Earth orbit in a period from July 31, 2001, to December 5, 2005.

ISZ2 (abbr. rus.: Iskesstveniy Sputnik Zemli 2, also known as Sputnik-2) - the second Earths artificial satellite, on board of which was the equipment built at the Lebedev Physics Institute and used for the recordings of x-ray radiation from the Sun for the first time in space
R the experiments conducted on board of the high-altitude geophysical rockets in the 60s of the XX century;
K163 and K230
IC - the research experiments conducted on the first satellites of the soviet COSMOS series;
V - the experiments on the VERTICAL series of the rockets;
Coronas-I, Coronas-F and Coronas-Photon - the experiments on satellite in CORONAS program;
Helios - the experiment planned in a year 2014 to study the Sun from a close heliocentric orbit. LPI Solar X-ray Astronomy Laboratory for this experiment was developing the complex of the telescopes named the TRACK.

At present, the LPIs space experiments are carried out within the framework of the CORONAS program of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Complex Orbital Observations Near-Earth of Activity of the Sun). Since 1991, this program had covered the launch of three spacecrafts to study the Sun, two of which (CORONAS-I and CORONAS-F) had completed their mission. Onboard of the first spacecraft the Lebedev Physics Institute conducted TEREC experiment on observing the Sun in the extreme spectrum areas of the ultraviolet and X-ray together with the SPIRIT experiment which was conducted on the CORONAS-F satellite is currently the most successful experiment in the solar research in the history of Soviet and Russian science.

Experimental and theoretical study of the solar activity.

Collage of images obtained during the SPIRIT experiment.

Solar flares spectrum measured in the range 275335 Å during the SPIRIT experiment.

Large-scale regions of high-temperature plasma in the corona, discovered during the SPIRIT experiment.

LPI Solar X-ray Astronomy Laboratory is one of the leading centers for the study of the solar activity in Russia. In the period more than a half a century in history of theoretical and experimental research at the laboratory a unique data was obtained on structure and dynamics of the solar corona, mechanisms of energy release in the solar atmosphere, temperature and spectral composition of the solar plasma. The research scientists at the laboratory, for the first time in history, conducted a satellite experiment on observation of the Suns short-wavelength radiation. For the first time, particles of the Earth's radiation belts (also known as Van Allen radiation belts) were recorded, the first in the country x-ray photograph of the Sun was taken, and the first-ever solar spectrum with the wavelengths shorter than 10 angstroms was registered.

Currently, the laboratory continues a systematic research of the solar corona using modern x-ray spectroscopy. The main tasks of these studies are the most pressing problems of modern solar physics, such as:

  • research for the mechanisms of heating in a cold photosphere (6000 K) to the temperatures reaching more than 1 million degrees in a still crown and more than 20 - 30 million degrees in the areas of the solar flares,
  • study of the structure and dynamics of magnetic fields in the solar corona and their relationship with the lower and upper layers of the solar atmosphere,
  • the study of the physical properties of plasma of stable structures (active regions, coronal holes, bright points, etc.),
  • determination of the mechanisms of energy release of the fast processes, such as flares and coronal mass eruptions,
  • research for the mechanisms of formation and acceleration of the solar wind,
  • solution to the problem of amplitude of the elements in the corona.

In a period of 5 years, the following major scientific results were obtained at the LPI Solar X-Ray Astronomy Laboratory:

  • Discovery, for the first time, of the new structures and phenomena in a hot solar plasma
  • Was determined the contribution of a plasma with a temperature of 610 MK to the thermal energy store of the flares (up to 80%) was determined
  • Recorded the distribution of the substance (differential emission measure) in the temperature range above 5 MK for various structures and the dynamics of this distribution in the flare processes
  • Obtained the spatiotemporal distribution of the electron density and temperature gradient of the flare plasma
  • Established relationship between large-scale eruption and the restructuring of the magnetic field of the solar corona
  • Revealed the relationship between the density and speed of the solar wind and the integral flows of the Sun in the lines of the transition layer and coronal lines
  • High (close to 100%) degree of polarization of x-ray radiation in a flash was first recorded together with the Research Institute of Nuclear Physics of Moscow State University
  • According to the observations of SPIRIT and the ground-based solar telescope, the altitude structure of coronal holes was studied and the relationship of their structure with high-speed solar wind flows were shown
  • Investigated the periodic processes in the MgXII hotline together with the variations of the Earths upper atmosphere.

Development and building of non-destructive quality control systems for industrial products

Quality control of the non-destructive turbine blade.

Spectroscopic research method is a powerful tool in an industrial non-destructive quality control which gives excellent results even in cases where manufacturing defects are not visible and cannot be detected by external examination of the product. The LPI Solar X-Ray Astronomy Laboratory has a practical experience in a building of the quality control systems, based on the above principles, which can detect internal cracks and cavities in an item and detect inclusions of foreign materials in it.

The picture is showing the result from the spectroscopic study of a turbine blade with the manufacturing defect. Where on the left side in a conventional photograph of the blade that does not show any visible defects, and on the right is shown the image of the internal structure of the blade taken by the imaging spectroscopy. A plate made of foreign material that violates the integrity of the whole structure is clearly visible.

The method gives good results during the quality control of the small items, contact lenses in particular. The examination of each object is carried out in less than 1 second and without violation of the integrity of the whole ensemble, that allows implementation of the continuous quality control systems from the early manufacturing stage. A selective study of individual samples can be carried out if necessary. Examination of a separate individual samples can be done if necessary.

Building of the electronic systems and software programming for the operational control of the scientific equipment and visualization of the obtained data

Program for reading and analyzing data from the TESIS sensor block.

The capabilities of the equipment and quality control systems can be significantly expanded with the use of the implemented electronic control systems, including the microcomputers. Among all other things, the LPI Solar X-Ray Astronomy Laboratory is also specializing in building of such systems, as well as in the research & development of a specialized software for interactive operational control of the equipment and visualization of the received data. Software tools are written in the high-level programming languages such as C ++ and IDL (Interactive Data Language).