SUNRISE - Balloon-borne Solar telescope

SUNRISE is a light-weight solar telescope created to make spectro-polarimetric observations of the atmosphere of our Sun and thus to try to understand the structure and dynamics of the magnetic field in the solar atmosphere and the chromosphere as well to understand the physics of irradiance changes.

It is a cooperative developmental effort carried out by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research and the Katlenburg-Lindau Kiepenheuer-Institut für Sonnenphysik from Germany, the NCAR's High Altitude Observatory and the Lockheed-Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory both from USA, and the Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial, Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Grupo de Astronomía y Ciencias del Espacio de la Universidad de Valencia and the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias from Spain.

The instrument is composed by a Gregory telescope with a parabolic primary mirror with an aperture of 1 m and a focal length of 2.5 m coupled with an elliptic secondary mirror. Three instruments are attached to the telescope to perform specific measurements: the spectrograph-polarimeter (SUPOS) for high-precision spectral line measurements in the linearly and circularly polarized light, a filtergraph (SUFI) for high-resolution images in the visible and UV spectral ranges, and a magnetograph (IMaX) providing two-dimensional maps of the complete magnetic field vector and the line-of-sight velocity.

The telescope and all instruments are mounted in a stabilized gondola that helps to compensate the motion of the balloon in flight allowing to obtain images in spatial scales down to 35 km on the Sun. Solar panels are attached to provide desired power during flight.

Althought it was built to fly in a long-duration balloon mission around the south pole in Antarctica (hence the penguin in the logo) after a first engineering flight in USA in 2007 SUNRISE performed two medium-duration transatlantic balloon flights from the Swedish balloon base of ESRANGE to the north of Canada in 2009 and 2013.

During the first scientific flight in 2009 were obtained images of an unprecedent clarity for such an instrument.

List of flights of the SUNRISE telescope

Launch baseDateFlight DurationExperimentPayload landing place or cause of the failure
Fort Sumner (NM)10/3/2007~ 9 hSUNRISEBetween the cities of Hartley and Dalhart, Texas, USA
ESRANGE6/8/20095 d 17 h 18 mSUNRISEIn Somerset Island, Nunavut, Canada
ESRANGE6/12/20135 d 7 h 4 mSUNRISE IIIn Boothia Peninsula, Nunavut, Canada

Related Entries

External Links

Sunrise Home Page - at Max Planck Institute website