Science: Max-Planck-Institut für Aeronomie Sunrise project

Remedy IT has provided an ACE course for the Max-Planck-Institut für Aeronomie’s Sunrise project. In addition, Remedy IT will be assisting, where necessary, in the development of the software.

The Sunrise project will use multiple pc’s with each a different operating system connected by Ethernet. ACE is used for building the software parts that will transfer all images and command data between the several hosts. Using ACE, this software can be build much faster and more portable then it was before.

Sunrise is a lightweight solar telescope with a 1m aperture for spectro-polarimetric observations of the solar atmosphere. The telescope is planned to be operated during a series of long-duration balloon flights above the Antarctic in order to obtain time series of spectra and images at the diffraction-limit and to study the UV spectral region down to 200 nm, and is not accessible from the ground.

The central aim of Sunrise is to understand the structure and dynamics of the magnetic field in the solar atmosphere. Interacting with the convective flow field, the magnetic field in the solar photosphere develops intense field concentrations on scales below 100 km, which are crucial for the dynamics and energetics of the whole solar atmosphere.

In addition, Sunrise aims to provide information on the structure and dynamics of the solar chromo sphere and on the physics of solar irradiance changes.

The light beam delivered by the solar telescope is distributed via several beam splitters to 4 instruments. Each instrument uses one or two CCD cameras to produce special kinds of pictures. All the 4 instrument computers transfer their images via 100 MBit Ethernet to an on-board central computer; and this central computer sends commands to the several instruments. This communication will be handled by ACE. There is also a telemetry link to a ground computer accessible via RS232. The telemetry bandwidth is very small, it’s only applicable for house-keeping data like temperatures, voltages, currents, etc.

The main data stream are the images which will be stored on a local disk array (3.2 Terabyte). The local disk array is connected to the central computer via IEEE 1394 (Firewire).

When the mission is finished, the gondola will fall down with a parachute and someone has to rescue the disk array for analysis.