Home » Solar Instruments » NASA/MSFC Vector Magnetograph
NASA/MSFC Vector Magnetograph
PI Instrument
Contact: Mitzi Adams, mitzi.l.adams@nasa.gov, (256) 961-7626 Mail Code SD50, NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL 35812
Solar Instruments
The MSFC vector magnetograph works by measuring the amount of polarization in the light which originates from sunspots at one specific wavelength, 5250.2 A (1 A is equal to 10^(-10) or 0.0000000001 m). This particular wavelength was chosen because it is magnetically sensitive (i.e., the line will split into components when in the presence of a magnetic field), and because the light which produces the line originates from the photospheric layer of the solar atmosphere, where we observe sunspots. Polarized light is composed of two parts: circular and linear. The line-of-sight component of the magnetic field produces the circular part, the transverse produces the linear. Circularly polarized light can be vibrating either clockwise (right) or counterclockwise (left) with respect to the magnetic field and linearly polarized light vibrates either parallel or at right angles to the field. The job of the magnetograph then, is to separate light into circular and linear polarized components and to record the value of the intensity of the light in these different modes. Circular polarization of a magnetically sensitive spectral line gives a measure of the longitudinal magnetic field, the strength of the field directed toward and away from the instrument. Linear polarization provides information on the strength and direction of the magnetic field transverse to, or across, the line of sight.
Dr. David H. Hathaway,
Mail Code VP62 NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL 35812 e-mail: david.hathaway @ nasa.gov Tel no: 256-961-7610 Fax no: 256-961-7216
david.hathaway @ nasa.gov
Spectral RangeFeI 5250 A line magnetograph
Spectral Resolution
Spatial Coverage and Resolution
Temporal Resolution
Data Accuracy
Data Precision
Physical ObservablesLinear and circular polarization
Derived OutputsSolar Vector Magnetic Fields Potential and force free fields
Concurrence Opportunities
Expected Lifetime
Location or Orbit
Capability Summary
Archival Data
Number of Users
Planned Upgrades
Data Products
University FacilityNo
National Ground BasedYes
Virtual ArchiveNo
22 Sep 2009 16:16