Hydrogen Alpha Filters

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The Sun Today

DayStar Solar Filter flies on NASA Hi-C High Resolution Coronal Imager mission July 11, 2012
White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico July 11, 2012:
NASA's High Resolution Coronal Imager, or Hi-C, captured the highest-resolution images ever taken of the sun's corona in the extreme ultraviolet wavelength. Onboard, was also a DayStar Filters custom fabricated Hydrogen Alpha filter used for Hydrogen alpha comparison images and for pointing purposes.

DayStar provided support services of the project in cooperation with the Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. DayStar has produced several of such filters in the past, used on the Space Shuttle Challenger mission STS-51F as well as 9 previous suborbital Black Brant sounding rocket missions.  

DayStar Filter technician fits Hi C H alpha filter plates
DayStar Filter technician tests Hi C H alpha filter spectroscopy.
A standard DayStar Filters Quantum filter was initially produced for the project and used in planning stages and construction of the optical instrumentation package.

After optical qualification and fitting, the standard Quantum filter optics were moved to a space flight qualified housing.  This would allow the housing to maintain temperature of the optical assembly throughout the ~900 second mission.

The rugedized housing was designed to withstand liftoff vibration conditions; vacuum conditions and exposure to cosmic radiation present outside of Earth's protective atmosphere. NASA provided test services for qualification of liftoff vibration conditions and vacuum chamber operations.

Hydrogen Alpha wavelength observations were not the primary focus of the investigations conducted by the Hi C, High Resolution Coronal Imager, but rather as an additional data reference.

"We will start acquiring data at 69 seconds after launch, at a rate of roughly an image a second," says Jonathan Cirtain, a solar scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. who is the project scientist for HI-C. "We will be able to look through a secondary H-alpha telescope on the instrument in real time and re-point the main telescope as needed."
After the sucessful launch and mission of the
Hi C
High Resolution Coronal Imaging mission, the capsule returned to earth and was recovered with optical instrumentation intact.  

Click here to learn more about the Hi C mission.

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