Solar Orbiter wave observation program in the helIosphere

Short Description

SOPHIE (Solar Orbiter wave observation program in the heliosphere) is an Austrian scientific contribution to the Solar Orbiter mission of European Space Agency (launch planned in October 2018).

Many problems remain unsolved in our understanding of physical processes in solar wind turbulence such as energy transport mechanism, spatial structure of turbulence, radial evolution of turbulence, and wave modes existing in the solar wind. Solving the problems of solar wind turbulence is one of the main tasks for Solar Orbiter.

Motivated to support Solar Orbiter RPW instrument (Radio and Plasma Wave experiment) through software development and scientific studies, the project sets three goals:

  1. to develop analysis tools for solar wind turbulence for Solar Orbiter,
  2. to test the tools using the Helios spacecraft data to obtain the new knowledge on solar wind turbulence, and
  3. to construct a heliospheric turbulence model which will be used as a reference model for the Solar Orbiter measurements.

The strength of the project is the first-time combination study of energy spectra with spatial structure determination (through wavevector anisotropy) and wave mode identification using the Helios spacecraft data (plasma and magnetic field). The novel non-elliptic wavevector anisotropy model developed by the project leader will be used in the turbulence structure study.

The analysis tools, the new scientific knowledge, and the heliospheric turbulence model are delivered to the Solar Orbiter mission team to minimize the work load due to the data processing and to maximize the scientific potential of Solar Orbiter.

Project Partners


Austrian Academy of Sciences

Contact Address

Austrian Academy of Sciences
Priv.-Doz. Dr. Yasuhito Narita
Schmiedlstraße 6
A-8042 Graz