SOHO Status Report - April 2003
18 Apr 2003 15:27The spacecraft status is nominal.
On 25 February 2003 a regular station keeping and momentum management manoeuvre was performed. The amount of fuel used was 0.54 kg which leaves about 120 kg. Due to changed thermal settings, the thrusting was slightly unbalanced. This will be corrected in the next manoeuver, which is planned for mid June 2003. In the absence of any proton events in the reporting period, the solar array degradation continues to be benign.
Operations and Archiving
All instruments are nominal and SOHO science operations are progressing smoothly.
As the brightest, most spectacular comet ever observed by SOHO, Comet NEAT (C/2002 V1) provided some enticing data for further study, thanks to a grazing encounter with a coronal mass ejection. The LASCO C3 observations during 16-20 February 2003 suggest an interaction between the comet's ion tail and other magnetic fields in the outer corona at the time of the oblique impact with the CME. This would be the first time that imaging of such an interaction has been made, with the observations being especially impressive due to the high-cadence coverage that LASCO offers. It is also the closest to the Sun that a comet has been directly observed, and the first time a comet's ion tail has been imaged crossing the heliospheric current sheet.
Spurred on by media coverage of the two items above, the SOHO web pages have reached another milestone: 25 terabytes of data served to the public. February and March were both record-setting months, with 15 and 22 million requests, respectively.