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Scientific Projects at MPE
 
  Scientific projects at the MPE are often the efforts of the different research departments to build, maintain, and use experiments and facilities which are needed by the various scientific research interest in our institute. Besides of harware projects there are also projects that use archival data and are not neccessarily connected to a new instrument.
The following list is never complete, but is updated regularely.

Active projects are projects that collect data and/or are operational.
Past projects are projects where data gathering or operation has been terminated but very often data analysis and interpretation are still very intensive.
Future projects are under construction, accepted, or proposed.

Active Projects

Past Projects

Future Projects

see below ACE
see below ARGOS
see below Chandra
see below CLUSTER
see below ESO-VLT
see below Fermi (GLAST)
see below GROND
see below HASTA
see below Herschel (FIRST)
see below INTEGRAL
see below LBT
see below OPTIMA
see below PARSEC
see below Plasma Kristall (PKE)
see below Rosetta
see below SAMPEX
see below SOHO
see below SPIFFI
see below STEREO
see below Swift
see below XMM-Newton
see below Abrixas
see below ALFA
s.u. AMPTE
external link Azur
see below Compton GRO
external link Cos B
see below Equator-S
external link EXOSAT
link Firewheel
external link Helios
link HEXE
see below ISO
see below MEGA
link Mir-HEXE
see below ROSAT
external link SMM
see below SOFIA
see below Stardust
externer Verweis Ulysses
under construction

see below eROSITA
see below GRAVITY
see below KMOS

accepted

. . . .

proposed

Athena
 
ABRIXAS

Satellite
Launch April 28, 1999
End of Mission July 12, 1999
Status total loss

MPE Participation
Satellite
Telescopes
Detectors

Abrixas

ABRIXAS was a national X-ray satellite with seven 27-fold nested Wolter-1 telescopes, sharing one 6 × 6 cm2 pn-CCD detector (copy of the EPIC camera developed for XMM-Newton) in the focus. Launched on April 28, 1999 ABRIXAS was supposed to perform the first complete all-sky survey with imaging telescopes in the medium energy X-ray range (0.5 - 15 keV). A three-years scanning mission was planned to detect at least 10.000 new hard X-ray sources obscured by gas and dust clouds and to study diffuse X-ray sources and bright time-variable X-ray sources.
Due to a failure of the on-board batteries, the mission ended already few days after launch without any scientific data taken.

For more information please see the

link MPE Abrixas pages
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ACE

Satellite
Launch August 25, 1997
End of Mission t.b.d.
Status active; at L1

MPE Participation
Solar Energetic Particle Ionic Charge Analyzer (SEPICA)

ACE
Advanced Composition Explorer

The Earth is constantly bombarded with a stream of accelerated particles arriving not only from the Sun, but also from interstellar and galactic sources. The study of these energetic particles is the aim of the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) and this will contribute to our understanding of the formation and evolution of the solar system as well as the astrophysical processes involved. The ACE spacecraft carrying six high-resolution sensors and three monitoring instruments samples low-energy particles of solar origin and high-energy galactic particles with a collecting power 10 to 1000 times greater than past experiments.
ACE orbits the L1 libration point which is a point of Earth-Sun gravitational equilibrium about 1.5 million km from Earth and 148.5 million km from the Sun. With a semi-major axis of approximately 200,000 km the elliptical orbit affords ACE a prime view of the Sun and the galactic regions beyond.

For more information please see the

external link ACE / SEPICA pages at UNH
external link Caltech ACE pages
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ALFA
Adaptive optics with a Laser for Astronomy

ALFA is the "adaptive optics with a laser for astronomy" system for the Calar Alto 3.5-m telescope. It is a joint project between the MPIA in Heidelberg and the MPE. This system dramatically improves the image resolution in the near-infrared regime. Diffraction limited images at 2.2 microns obtained with ALFA have a higher spatial resolution than those obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope. ALFA is based on a Shack-Hartmann sensor with a high-speed low-noise CCD camera, a 97-actuator deformable mirror, a tip-tilt sensor (CCD camera), a tip-tilt mirror and a continuous Ar-Ion laser pumped dye laser which generates the laser beacon in the sodium layer of the mesosphere.

For more information please see the

link MPE ALFA pages
ALFA

MPE Participation:
Joint project between MPE and MPIA in Heidelberg

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AMPTE
Active Magnetospheric Particle Tracer Explorer

The AMPTE mission was designed to study the access of solar-wind ions to the magnetosphere, the convective-diffusive transport and energization of magnetospheric particles, and the interactions of plasmas in space. It created the first artificial comet.
The mission consisted of three spacecraft: the CCE; the IRM, which provided multiple ion releases in the solar wind, the magnetosheath, and the magnetotail, with in situ diagnostics of each; and the UKS, which used thrusters to keep station near the IRM to provide two-point local measurements.

More information is available on the

externer Verweis AMPTE pages at NASA

externer Verweis AMPTE pages of the DLR

externer Verweis Article about AMPTE in Max Planck Forschung 1/2006
   (in German)
AMPTE

Satellite
Launch August 16, 1984
End of Mission August 13, 1986
Status inaktive

MPE Participation:
IRM (Ion Release Module)

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ARGOS
Advanced Rayleigh guided Ground layer adaptive Optics System

ARGOS is the Laser Guide Star adaptive optics system for the Large Binocular Telescope. Aiming for a wide field adaptive optics correction, ARGOS will equip both sides of LBT with a multi laser beacon system and corresponding wavefront sensors, driving LBT's adaptive secondary mirrors. Utilizing high power pulsed green lasers, the artificial beacons are generated via Rayleigh scattering in earth's atmosphere. ARGOS will project a set of three guide stars above each of LBT's mirrors in a wide constellation. The returning scattered light, sensitive particular to the turbulence close to ground, is detected in a gated wavefront sensor system. Measuring and correcting the ground layers of the optical distortions enables ARGOS to achieve a correction over a very wide field of view. Taking advantage of this wide field correction, the science that can be done with the multi object spectrographs LUCIFER will be boosted by higher spatial resolution and strongly enhanced flux for spectroscopy.

For more information please see the

link MPE ARGOS pages
ARGOS

MPE Participation:
Project management (PI), laser systems, detectors, optical shutter, system technique

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Chandra (AXAF)
High resolution imaging and spectroscopy X-ray mission

The Chandra X-ray Observatory (formerly known as the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility - AXAF) is the NASA follow-up mission to the Einstein Observatory. The Chandra instrumentation consists of a high resolution mirror, two imaging detectors, and two sets of transmission gratings with following important features: an order of magnitude improvement in spatial resolution, good sensitivity from 0.1 to 10 keV, and the capability for high spectral resolution observations over most of this range. The MPE contributed the Low Energy Transmission Grating (LETG) in collaboration with the Space Research Organisation Netherlands (SRON) in Utrecht.

For more information please see the

link MPE Chandra pages
external link NASA Chandra pages
CHANDRA

Satellite
Launch (by Space Shuttle) July 23, 1999
Duration of Mission > 10 years
Status aktive

MPE Participation
Low Energy Transmission Grating (LETG)

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CLUSTER

ESA's Cluster mission consists of four identical spacecraft flying in a tetrahedral (triangular pyramid) formation between 25000 and 125000 km above the Earth. They will study the planet's magnetic field and electric surroundings in three dimensions. In particular, they will be looking at the effects of the solar wind, which buffets Earth's protective magnetosphere.
Each of the Cluster spacecraft carries an identical set of 11 instruments. These are sensitive to electric and magnetic fields, various electric and magnetic waves, and to electrons and charged atoms.
The mission is a direct repeat of the original Cluster project lost during the explosion of the Ariane-5 demonstration flight in June 1996. Cluster will be based on the original mission, even using some of the original spare parts. Its scientific objectives also remain unchanged.
The names of the four: Rumba, Salsa, Samba and Tango.

In 2005, the cluster mission was extended till 2009 ( linkmore).

For more information please see the

link CLUSTER pages at MPE
external link German CLUSTER Data Centre (GCDC)
external link ESA CLUSTER pages
CLUSTER

Satellite
Launch
(2 x Soyuz)
July 16, 2000, 14:39 CEDT;
August 9, 2000, 13:13 CEDT
Duration of Mission extended till 2012
Status all satellites in final orbit

MPE Participation
Cluster Ion Spectrometer (CIS)
Electron Drift Instrument (EDI)
Fluxgate Magnetometer (FGM)
German Cluster Science data Center (GCDC)

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Compton GRO
Compton Gamma Ray Observatory

The Compton Gamma Ray Observatory was the second of NASA's Great Observatories. Compton, at 17 tons, the heaviest astrophysical payload ever flown, was launched on April 5, 1991 aboard the space shuttle Atlantis. Compton has four instruments that cover an unprecedented six decades of the electromagnetic spectrum, from 30 keV to 30 GeV. In order of increasing spectral energy coverage, these instruments are the Burst And Transient Source Experiment (BATSE), the Oriented Scintillation Spectrometer Experiment (OSSE), the Imaging Compton Telescope (COMPTEL), and the Energetic Gamma Ray Experiment Telescope (EGRET). For each of the instruments, an improvement in sensitivity of better than a factor of ten is realized over previous missions.
In a highly controversial decision, NASA ended the mission on June 4, 2000 by intentionally destroying CGRO during a forced re-entry.

For more information please see the

link MPE High-Energy Astrophysics pages
link MPE COMPTEL pages
link MPE EGRET pages
external link Compton GRO Science Support Center pages (NASA)
GRO

Satellite
Launch (by Space Shuttle) April 5, 1991
End of Mission June 4, 2000
Status satellite destroyed during re-entry

MPE Participation
COMPTEL
EGRET

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EQS

Satellite
Launch December 2, 1997
End of Mission May 1, 1998
Location Earth Orbit

MPE Participation
Satellite
Magnetic Field Instrument (MAM)
Electron Drift Instrument (EDI)

Equator-S

was a low-cost mission designed to study the Earth's equatorial magnetosphere out to distances of 67000 km and it formed an element of the closely-coordinated fleet of satellites that comprise the IASTP program. It was based on a simple spacecraft design and carried a science payload consisting of advanced instruments that were developed for other IASTP missions. Unique features of Equator-S were its nearly equatorial orbit and its high spin rate.

The satellite and major parts of the experiment in which the institute was involved were designed and built at MPE.

Equator-S was launched as an auxiliary payload on an Ariane-4 on December 2nd, 1997. The mission was intended for a two-year lifetime but ended premature after the failure of the primary and redundant on-board processor system on May 1st 1998.

For more information please see the

link MPE Equator-S pages
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eROSITA
extended ROentgen Survey with an Imaging Telescope Array

eROSITA will be the primary instrument on-board the Russian "Spectrum-Roentgen-Gamma" (SRG) satellite which will be launched from Baikonur in 2012 and placed in an L2 orbit. The mission eROSITA will perform the first imaging all-sky survey in the medium energy X-ray range up to 10 keV with an unprecedented spectral and angular resolution.

The telescope will consist of seven Wolter-1 mirror modules, similarly to ABRIXAS. However, each module will be extended to 54 nested mirror shells in order to meet the required sensitivity. A novel detector system has been developed by MPE on the basis of the successful XMM-Newton pn-CCD technology.

For more information please see the

link eROSITA pages at MPE

eROSITA

Satellite
Launch 2012
End of Mission t.b.d.
Status Phase C/D

MPE Participation
project management, detectors, telescope

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ESO Very Large Telescope Instrumentation

The ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory (Atacama, Chile) is the world's largest and most advanced optical telescope. It comprises four 8.2-m reflecting Unit Telescopes and several moving 1.8-m Auxiliary Telescopes, the light beams of which can be combined in the VLT Interferometer (VLTI). With its unprecedented optical resolution and unsurpassed surface area, the VLT produces extremely sharp images and can record light from the faintest and most remote objects in the Universe.

The MPE is involved in development and construction of several instruments to be used at the telescopes.

For more information please see the

link MPE CONICA pages
Verweis MPE GRAVITY pages
link MPE LISA pages
link MPE PARSEC pages
link MPE SPIFFI pages
external link ESO VLT pages
VLT

MPE Participation
Coudé Near Infrared Camera (CONICA)
Precision narrow-angle astrometry and interferometric phase referenced imaging of faint objects (GRAVITY)
Near Infrared Camera (LISA)
Laser for the VLT laser guide star facility (PARSEC)
Spectrometer for Infrared Faint Field Imaging (SPIFFI)

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Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope
(formerly GLAST)

The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is a high-energy Gamma-ray mission to identify and study Nature's highest energy particle accelerators. The LAT (Large Area Telescope) onboard Fermi operates in the energy range from 30 MeV to 300 GeV and has a factor of more than 30 improvement in sensitivity over the Energetic Gamma Ray Experiment Telescope (EGRET) onboard the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (CGRO). The MPE is involved in the scientific analysis of the LAT data.
In addition to the LAT, a Gamma-ray burst monitor (GBM) is part of the satellite covering the energy range 10 keV to 30 MeV. This burst monitor was built in close cooperation with MPE.

For more information please see the

external link Fermi pages at NASA

link Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor pages at MPE

GLAST

Satellite
Launch June 11, 2008
End of Mission t.b.d.
Status active in earth orbit

MPE Participation
Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM);
Scientific analysis of LAT data.

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GRAVITY

GRAVITY is an adaptive optics assisted, near-infrared VLTI instrument for precision narrow-angle astrometry and interferometric phase referenced imaging of faint objects. The GRAVITY instrument will interferometrically combine near-infrared (NIR) light collected by the four telescopes of ESO’s Very Large Telescope. It will use adaptive optics at the telescope level and fringe tracking at the interferometer level. The use of infrared wavefront sensors enables one to observe highly obscured or dust embedded sources like the Galactic Center and young stellar objects at the highest sensitivity.
In its astrometric mode, GRAVITY will allow to measure distances between the fringe tracking star and a science object to an accuracy of 10 µas. This will allow one to measure directly the on-sky motions of many objects in the field of view (2”) in a relatively short amount of time. At 100 pc, a velocity of 10 µas/yr corresponds to 5 m/s, at 1 Mpc to 50 km/s. With such a high precision astrometry it will be possible to watch how objects move in the local universe. GRAVITY is specifically designed to observe highly relativistic motions of matter close to the event horizon of Sgr A*, the massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.
GRAVITY can also be operated in an imaging mode, yielding an unprecedented resolution of 4 mas in the NIR for objects that can be as faint as mK~20. The application of phase referenced imaging – instead of closure phases – is a major advantage in terms of model-independence and fiducial quality of interferometric maps with a sparse array such as the VLTI.

Further information is available on the

link GRAVITY pages at MPE
GRAVITY

MPE Participation
Overall project and system lead (PI institute)
Project management
development of sub-systems, in particular beam stabilization, fiber coupler, metrology

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GROND

MPE Participation
GROND was build by MPE in collaboration with LSW Tautenburg and ESO and is operated at the 2.2m MPG/ESO telescope La Silla

GROND
Gamma-ray Burst Optical Near-IR Detector

GROND is an imaging instrument to investigate Gamma-ray Burst Afterglows and other transients simultaneously in seven filter bands. Several dichroic beamsplitters feed light into three NIR channels and four visual channels, each equipped with its own detector. GROND is mounted at the MPI/ESO 2.2m telescope on La Silla (Chile), and is operational since 2007.

For more information please see the linkWeb pages of J. Greiner (MPE).

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HASTA
H-Alpha Solar Telescope for Argentina

For observations of the solar chromosphere the Telescope HASTA at the Estación Astronómica (2370 m) in El Leoncito, Argentina is used. The main telescope with a diameter of 10 cm and a focal length of 170 cm is equipped with a tunable Lyot filter and a CCD-camera. It is being used for observations of solar flares and eruptive prominences with high spatial (1.5") and temporal (3 s) resolution.
A data link from the observatory via the University of San Juan and IAFE Buenos Aires into the INTERNET will be established, in order to make one solar H-alpha-image every 5 minutes available for space weather monitoring.

HASTA

MPE Participation
Instrument owned by MPE

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HERSCHEL

Satellite
Launch May 14, 2009
End of Mission t.b.d.
Status In transfer to Lagrangian point L2

MPE Participation
detector development
Photoconductor Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS)

Herschel Space Observatory
(formerly FIRST)

The Herschel Space Telescope (formerly called `Far InfraRed and Submillimetre Telescope' - FIRST) will perform photometry and spectroscopy in the 60-670 µm range. It has a radiatively cooled telescope and carries a science payload complement of three instruments housed inside a superfluid helium cryostat. It will be operated as an observatory for a minumum of three years following launch and transit into a an orbit around the external link Lagrangian point L2 in the year 2009.
Herschel is cornerstone number 4 (CS4) in the European Space Agency (ESA) `Horizon 2000' science plan. It is implemented together with the Planck mission (selected as M3) as a single project.

For more information please see the

link MPE detector development pages
link MPE PACS instrument pages
external link ESA Herschel pages
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INTEGRAL
International Gamma-ray Astrophysics Laboratory

INTEGRAL is the European Space Agency's key project in the field of Gamma-ray astronomy and high energy astrophysics. INTEGRAL is dedicated to fine Gamma-ray spectroscopy and accurate imaging of celestial sources in the energy band 15 keV to 10 MeV with concurrent source monitoring in the X-ray (3-35 keV) and optical (V-band, 550 nm) bands.
INTEGRAL is a collaborative project by many research institutions. The MPE was responsible for the development of the anticoincidence subsystem of the spectrometer SPI.

For more information please see the

link MPE INTEGRAL pages
external link ESA INTEGRAL pages
INTEGRAL

Satellite
Launch October 17, 2002
End of Mission t.b.d.
Status satellite on orbit

MPE Participation
SPI anticoincidence
Data analysis center

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ISO
Infrared Space Observatory

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) is an astronomical satellite that was operational between November 1995 and May 1998. It operated at wavelengths from 2.5 to 240 microns, in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The satellite essentially consists of: a large liquid-helium cryostat; a telescope with a 60-cm diameter primary mirror; four scientific instruments and the service module.
ISO was successfully launched by an Ariane 44P launcher from Europe's spaceport in Kourou, on 17 November 1995. Initially it was supposed to be operational for 20 months, but thanks to meticulous engineering and some good fortune the satellite's working life was stretched to more than 28 months: ISO unveiled the infrared universe until May 1998.

For more information please see the

link MPE ISO SWS pages
external link ESA ISO pages
ISO

Satellite
Launch (Ariane 44P) November 17, 1995
End of Mission May 16, 1998
Status switched off; in orbit

MPE Participation
Short Wavelength Spectrometer (SWS)
ISO Spectrometer Data Centre
ISO Spectral Analysis Package (ISAP)
ISO-SWS Standard Software Packages
ISO Post Mission Archive

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KMOS

MPE Participation
Science Workpackage
Detector Procurement
Data Reduction Software

KMOS
Multi Integral Field Spectrograph for the VLT

KMOS is a new cryogenic near infrared instrument which will combine the advantages of multiplexing with the power of integral field spectroscopy.
A consortium of German and British institutes together with ESO develop KMOS as one of the so called second generation VLT instruments. It is planned to be operational in late 2010.
The baseline concept is to have 24 integral field units (IFUs), each of which has 14x14 spatial elements providing a 2.8 arcsec field of view and can be positioned anywhere in the 7.2arcmin diameter unvignetted field of the VLT Nasmyth focus.
There will be three identical spectrographs with a resolving power of about 3500 in the J, H, and K bands, each fed by 8 IFUs and equipped with a Hawaii 2RG array with 2K x 2K pixels.
The cryostat is 2 m in diameter and 1.5 m high, and will be cooled to 77 K by three closed cycle coolers.

For more information please see the

link KMOS pages at MPE
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LBT

MPE Participation
NIR spectrograph (LUCIFER)
LBT hardpoints

LBT
Large Binocular Telescope

The Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) is a twin 8.4 meter telescope being built on Mount Graham by a collaboration of institutes. The two primary mirrors are located on a common mount, providing either the capability of a single 11.8 meter telescope in terms of light gathering power (incoherent beam combination) or the resolving power of a 22.8 meter telescope when used interferometrically.

MPE is directly involved with the design and construction of the facility NIR spectrograph for the LBT, LUCIFER. MPE's contribution is primarily directed toward the integral field unit and the multi object spectrograph unit.

In addition, MPE is involved in the fabrication of the LBT hardpoints. The hardpoints are extremely stiff variable length actuators, six of which are used to control the position in space of each of the LBT primaries.

For more information please see the

link LUCIFER and LBT pages at MPE
external link LBT pages at the University of Arizona
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MEGA
Medium Energy Gamma-ray Astronomy

MEGA would be an imaging system for gamma rays in the energy range of 0.5 MeV to 50 MeV. The instrument takes advantage of the Compton effect and pair production events. An incident gamma photon undergoes Compton scattering in a first detector. Here the photon looses energy and changes its direction of motion. After the first interaction, the photon will be stopped in the second detector made of several modules of Cesium Iodide calorimeters.

For more information please see the

link MPE MEGA pages
MEGA

MPE Participation
The prototype of the instrument was designed and built at MPE.

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OPTIMA
Optical Pulsar Timing Analyzer

OPTIMA is a high-speed photoncounter which is used to measure (Gamma-ray) interesting objects, especially pulsars with high time resolution (10-6 s.) and high sensitivity.

Meanwhile it is used to observe also other rapid variable objects (e.g. Cataclysmic Variables or Gamma Ray Burst afterglows) from observatories world wide.

More information is available on the

link OPTIMA pages at MPE.
OPTIMA

MPE participation
The instrument was developed and built entirely at MPE and is continually improved.

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PARSEC

Instrument at the VLT

MPE Participation:
PARSEC is build at MPE

PARSEC
Laser for the VLT

PARSEC, a joint project by MPE (Garching) and MPIA (Heidelberg), is a sodium line laser which will produce a high quality 10W continuous wave output beam. At the end of 2004 it will be installed on Yepun, the fourth 8.2-m unit telescope of the VLT in Chile, as part of the Laser Guide Star Facility (LGSF).

To equip the VLT with a LGSF, MPE and MPIA are working with ESO - who are responsible for the laser clean room, the beam relay, and the launch telescope. The aim of the LGSF is to substantially increase the sky coverage available to, and hence the scientific potential of, the adaptive optics cameras CONICA (with NAOS) and SPIFFI (as part of SINFONI). Additionally, the LGSF has been designed with the potential to be upgraded to project up to 5 laser guide stars, which are needed for multi-conjugate adaptive optics.

For more information please see the

link MPE PARSEC pages
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PKE-Nefedov, PK-3 Plus, and PK-4

The Plasma Crystal Experiments, PKE-Nefedov, PK-3 Plus, and PK-4 are a collaboration of the Russian Institute for High Energy Densities (IHED) and our Institute. They are supported by the Russian and German Space Agencies (Roskosmos and DLR).
PKE-Nefedov was the first basic science experiment onboard the International Space Station ISS. The experiment consisted of a small (0.5 l) chamber containing a radio frequency (RF) discharge Argon plasma. Into this plasma microparticles with a selectable diameter of about 3.4 or 6.8 µm were injected. The particles were illuminated by a thin layer of laser light and the movement of the particles was monitored with two CCD cameras. The data were stored onto video tapes. The investigation of plasma crystals especially, and of complex plasmas generally, is a new topic in the research under microgravity conditions. PKE-Nevedov was named in memoriam of Anatoli P. Nefedov.
PK-3 Plus is the successor of PKE-Nefedov on the ISS since 2005, based on an improved version of the RF plasma chamber.
PK-4, which shall also be operated on the ISS (preparation phase supported by DLR and ESA) is a complex plasma experiment using a DC discharge for investigating mainly the liquid phase.

For more information please see the

link PKE-Nefedov,
link PK-3 Plus,
link PK-4
pages at MPE
Thomas Reiter inside ISS

Experiments on ISS
 
PKE-Nefedov
Launch February 26, 2001
End of Mission July 27, 2005
Status deorbited
PK-3 Plus
Launch December 19, 2005
End of Mission t.b.d
Status in orbit (ISS), taking data
PKE-4
Launch 2009/2010
End of Mission t.b.d.
Status in preparation (Phase A/B)

MPE Participation
The complete instruments are designed and built mainly at MPE; data analysis.

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ROSAT

Satellite
Launch June 1, 1990
End of Mission February 12, 1999
Status switched off; in orbit

MPE Participation
Satellite
Telescopes
Detectors

ROSAT

The ROSAT mission was governed by two scientific objectivies, the first all-sky survey with an imaging X-ray and EUV telescope and the detailed study of selected X-ray und EUV sources.
As the primary objective ROSAT has performed the first all-sky survey with an imaging telescopes in a scan mode in the soft X-ray band of 0.1 keV - 2 keV (corresponding to wavelengths of 100 Ĺ - 6 Ĺ) as well as in the adjacent extreme ultraviolett region of 0.04 keV - 0.2 keV (corresponding to wavelengths of 300 Ĺ - 60 Ĺ). This part of the mission lasted half a year, and was completed in February 1991.
Following the all-sky survey, ROSAT provided detailed observations of selected sources with respect to spatial structure, spectra and time variability. In this pointing mode the sensitivity has been at least two times larger than that of former missions. The location of the sources was determined with an accuracy of at least 10 arcsec.
The successful observatory was switched off after gradual failures of critical components after more than four times it's expected life time.

For more information please see the

link MPE ROSAT pages
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Rosetta

The prime scientific objective of the Rosetta mission is to study the origin of comets, the relationship between cometary and interstellar material and its implications with regard to the origin of the Solar System.
The International Rosetta Mission was approved in November 1993 by ESA's Science Programme Committee as the Planetary Cornerstone Mission in ESA's long-term space science programme. The mission goal was a rendezvous with comet 46 P/Wirtanen. Unfortunately problems with the Ariane 5 launcher resulted in a postponement of the mission, as the tight launch window was missed.
During the ESA SPC meeting on 13-14th May 2003 it was decided to re-target Rosetta to Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Launch with Ariane-5 G+ was on March 2, 2004 and the final rendezvous with the new target comet is expected in November 2014.
Rosetta will study the nucleus of a comet and its environment in great detail for a period of up to two years, with far-observation activities leading ultimately to close observation (from about one km distance) and in situ analysis of the nucleus material by a lander (RoLand).

For more information please see the

external link ESA Rosetta pages

external link Rosetta pages at the MPI for Solar System Research
(in German)

link Rosetta page of the mechanical engineering department at MPE
(in German)

external link DLR Rosetta pages
(in German)

external link ESA COSIMA pages

ROSETTA

Satellite
Launch
(Ariane 5)
March 2, 2004
Arrival at target November 2014
End of Mission t.b.d.

MPE Participation
Cometary Secondary Ion Mass Analyzer (COSIMA)
Rosetta Lander (RoLand)

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SAMPEX

Satellite
Launch July 3, 1992
End of Mission t.b.d.
Status (2010) active

MPE Participation
Heavy Ion Large Area Proportional Counter (HILT)

SAMPEX
Solar Anomalous and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer

The four SAMPEX instruments are a complementary set of high resolution, high sensitivity, particle detectors used to conduct studies of solar, anomalous, galactic, and magnetospheric energetic particles.
SAMPEX measures energetic electrons as well as ion composition of particle populations from ~0.4 MeV/nucleon to hundreds of MeV/nucleon from a zenith-oriented satellite in a near polar orbit (altitude 520 by 670 Km and 82 degrees inclination). A key part of SAMPEX is to use the magnetic field of the earth as an essential component of the measurement strategy. The Earth's field is used as a giant magnetic spectrometer to separate different energies and charge states of particles as SAMPEX executes its near polar orbit.

For more information please see the

external link SAMPEX pages at GSFC (NASA)
external link SAMPEX Overview   (LASP)
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SOFIA

Airplane
First Scientific Flight 2007
End of Mission t.b.d.
Status first test flight on April 26, 2007 successful

MPE Participation
Field Imaging Far Infrared Line Spectrometer (FIFI-LS)

SOFIA
Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy

NASA and the German space agency, DLR, are working together to create SOFIA - a Boeing 747-SP aircraft modified to accommodate a 2.5 meter reflecting telescope. SOFIA will be the largest airborne telescope in the world, and will make observations that are impossible for even the largest and highest of ground-based telescopes. The observatory is being developed and operated for NASA by a team of industry experts led by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA). SOFIA will be based at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Federal Airfield near Mountain View, California, and is expected to begin flying in the year 2007. SOFIA is part of NASA's Origins Program.

For more information please see the

link MPE detector development pages
link MPE FIFI-LS pages
external link SOFIA pages at DLR (in German)
external link NASA SOFIA pages
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SOHO
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory

SOHO studies the internal structure of the Sun, its extensive outer atmosphere and the origin of the solar wind, the stream of highly ionized gas that blows continuously outward through the Solar System. SOHO helps to understand the interactions between the Sun and the Earth's environment, the Sun itself including the heating of the solar corona, the acceleration of the solar wind, and the physical conditions of the solar interior.
That view of the Sun is achieved by operating SOHO from a permanent vantage point 1.5 million kilometers ahead of the Earth in a halo orbit around the external link L1 Lagrangian point. CELIAS is the instrument on board SOHO where MPE is involved most.

For more information please see the

external link CELIAS home page at the University of Bern
link CELIAS / STOF data at MPE
external link CELIAS Solar Wind data
external link CELIAS UV data
external link ESA SOHO pages
external link NASA SOHO pages
SOHO

Satellite
Launch December 2, 1995
End of Mission t.b.d.
Status active at L1

MPE Participation
Charge, Element, and Isotope Analysis System (CELIAS)

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SPIFFI

MPE Participation
SPIFFI is build exclusively by MPE

SPIFFI
SPectrometer for Infrared Faint Field Imaging

SPIFFI is a fully cryogenic, near infrared, integral field spectrometer. Together with an adaptive optics system, build by ESO, it forms SINFONI (SINgle Faint Object Near-infrared Investigation), an adaptive optics assisted near infrared integral field spectrometer for the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope. SINFONI was first mounted at the Cassegrain focus of Yepun UT4 in 2004.
SPIFFI is the first instrument to provide integral field spectroscopic capabilities in the near infrared at ESO VLT. It takes 1024 spectra simultaneously, arranged in a 32x32 pixel format with a moderate spectral resolution between ~1000 and ~3300. The operating wavelength range is from 1.1 - 2.45 microns, covering the J, H and K windows.

For more information please see the

link MPE SPIFFI pages
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Stardust

Stardust has the primary goal to return to Earth samples of dust and volatiles from Comet P/Wild 2 and from interplanetary space.
The Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA) is a time-of-flight mass spectrometer for ions created at impact on a target. This instrument was not only be operated at the successful cometary flyby on January 2, 2004, but also during certain periods of the cruise phase, mainly with the aim to collect interstellar dust grains.
Stardust was successfully launched on 7 February 1999 and on 22 February 1999 CIDA was first switched on. On 2 February 2004 Stardust rushed past comet Wild and it's return to Earth with the collected dust particles is scheduled for 15 January 2006.

For more information please see the

external link NASA Stardust pages
STARDUST

Satellite
Launch (Delta II) February 7, 1999
End of Mission January 15, 2006
Status successful fly-by on January 2, 2004

MPE Participation
Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA)

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STEREO

Satellite
Launch October 26, 2006
End of Mission undefined
Status in heliocentric orbit

MPE Participation
PLasma and SupraThermal Ion Composition (PLASTIC) sensor for the measurement of solar wind velocity, density and temperature and of the elemental and ionic charge composition of suprathermal ions (H-Fe) in the energy range 0.2 - 100 keV/e.

STEREO
Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory

STEREO is the third mission in NASA's Solar Terrestrial Probes program. It was launched in October 2006 aboard a single Delta II 7925 launch vehicle. This mission will employ two nearly identical space-based observatories to provide the first-ever, 3-D stereoscopic images to study the nature of coronal mass ejections.
Coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, are powerful eruptions that can blow up to 10 billion tons of the sun's atmosphere into interplanetary space. Traveling away from the sun at speeds of approximately 1000 km/s, CMEs can create major disturbances in the interplanetary medium and trigger severe magnetic storms when they collide with Earth. Large geomagnetic storms can cause electrical power outages and damage communications satellites.

For more information please see the

external link STEREO page at APL

external link STEREO page at NASA

external link PLASTIC home page at the University of New Hampshire

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Swift

Swift is a first-of-its-kind multi-wavelength observatory dedicated to the study of Gamma-ray burst (GRB) science. Its three instruments will work together to observe GRBs and afterglows in the Gamma-ray, X-ray, optical, and ultraviolet wavebands. Swift, part of NASA's medium explorer (MIDEX) program, is being developed by an international collaboration. It was launched into a low-Earth orbit on a Delta 7320 rocket on November 20, 2004. During its nominal 2-year mission, Swift is expected to observe more than 200 bursts, which will represent the most comprehensive study of GRB afterglows to date.
The main mission objectives for Swift are to:

  • Determine the origin of Gamma-ray bursts.
  • Classify Gamma-ray bursts and search for new types.
  • Determine how the blastwave evolves and interacts with the surroundings.
  • Use Gamma-ray bursts to study the early universe.
  • Perform a sensitive survey of the sky in the hard X-ray band.

For more information please see the

external link NASA Swift pages

link pictures taken during the Swift telescope calibration at MPE Panter facility

Swift

Satellite
Launch November 20, 2004
End of Mission 2+ years
Status in Earth orbit

MPE Participation
calibration of the X-ray telescope,
software development,
burst advocates.

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XEUS

Satellite
Launch ......
End of Mission ....
Status under study

MPE Participation
....
.....
......

XEUS / IXO
The X-Ray Evolving Universe Spectroscopy Mission

XEUS is a potential follow-on to ESA's Cornerstone X-Ray Spectroscopy Mission external link (XMM-NEWTON). XEUS will be a permanent space-borne X-ray observatory with a sensitivity comparable to the most advanced planned future observatories such as external link JWST, external link ALMA and external link Herschel.
The mission is under study as envisaged by the ESA Horizons 2000 Survey Committee, who recommended "analysing the potential offered by a major high energy astrophysics facility within the external link Space Station Utilisation Programme".

XEUS will be around 250 times more sensitive than XMM-NEWTON. The scientific goals include the study of the:

  • First massive black holes.
  • First galaxy groups and their evolution into the massive clusters observed today.
  • Evolution of heavy element abundances.
  • Intergalactic medium using absorption line spectroscopy.

For more information please see the

external link ESA XEUS pages
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XMM

Satellite
Launch December 10, 1999
End of Mission t.b.d.
Status aktive

MPE Participation
Telescope
EPIC-Camera
Survey Science Center

XMM - Newton
High Throughput X-ray Spectroscopy Multi-Mirror Mission

The XMM-Newton mission is the second of four cornerstone projects in the ESA long-term programme HORIZON 2000 for space science. The primary scientific objective of XMM-Newton is to perform high throughput spectroscopy of cosmic X-ray sources over a broad band of energies ranging from 0.1 keV to 10 keV. The XMM-Newton spacecraft payload includes three highly-nested grazing-incidence mirror modules of type Wolter I coupled to reflection grating spectrometers and X-ray charge-coupled device (CCD) cameras with resolving powers ranging from 10 up to 1000 as well as one small optical/UV telescope. The MPE has a main contribution on this mission (telescope development/test, EPIC-pn camera, and survey science center).

For more information please see the

link MPE XMM-Newton pages
external link ESA XMM-Newton pages

 
 
 
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