Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
                     
 

 
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The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) investigation is a part of the Solar Dynamics Observatory mission that is the lead mission of the NASA Living With a Star program. The goal of the AIA investigation is to further our understanding of the magnetic activity in the Sun's atmosphere. This will lead towards a better capability for predicting space weather.

AIA is a coordinated effort led by Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory (LMSAL) with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) as the major subcontractor; the CCD cameras for the AIA telescopes are being provided by MSSL, RAL and E2V in the UK.

A key part of the AIA investigation is the development of the flight instrument, which consists of four science telescopes, each with its own guide telescope.

AIA is designed to provide an unprecedented view of the solar corona, taking images that span at least 1.3 solar diameters in multiple wavelengths nearly simultaneously, at a resolution of <1.5 arcsec and a cadence of 10 s or better. The primary goal of the AIA Science Investigation is to use these data, together with data from other SDO instruments and from other observatories, to significantly improve our understanding of the physics behind the activity displayed by the Sun's atmosphere, which drives space weather in the heliosphere and in planetary environments. The AIA will produce data required for quantitative studies of the evolving coronal magnetic field, and the plasma that it holds, both in quiescent phases and during flares and eruptions. The AIA science investigation aims to utilize these data in a comprehensive research program to provide new understanding of the observed processes and, ultimately, to guide development of advanced forecasting tools needed by the user community of the Living With a Star (LWS) program. The AIA is designed to provide, for the first time, multiple near-simultaneous, highresolution images of the corona covering a wide and continuous temperature range, with the aim to resolve the fundamental observational ambiguity between magnetic field evolution (evidenced by moving loops) and thermal and density changes in adjacent loop atmospheres that outline the magnetic field.

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Last Modified on Monday, 03-Mar-2008 20:36:18 EST
Comments or Questions? Contact Atmospheric Imaging Assembly Project