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Chinese Hα Solar Explorer (CHASE)

2020-10-04     [ Print ]

Chinese Hα Solar Explorer (CHASE) mission

The Chinese Hα; Solar Explorer (CHASE) was successfully launched on October 14, 2021 as the first solar space mission of China National Space Administration (CNSA). The CHASE mission was jointly proposed and developed by Nanjing University, the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology and the Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics. The CHASE mission was dubbed as "Xihe" in Chinese – Goddess of the Sun. 

Launching of the CHASE satellite

The CHASE mission is designed to test a newly developed satellite platform and to acquire the spectroscopic observations in the Hα; waveband. The Hα; Imaging Spectrograph (HIS) is the scientific payload of the CHASE satellite. It consists of two observational modes: raster scanning mode and continuum imaging mode. The raster scanning mode obtains full-Sun or region-of-interest spectral images from 6559.7 – 6565.9 Å; and 6567.8 – 6570.6 Å; with 1 arcsec spatial resolution, 1 minute temporal resolution, and 0.072 Å; spectral resolution. The continuum imaging mode obtains photospheric images in continuum around 6689 Å; with the full width at half maximum of 13.4 Å;.

The schematic view of the CHASE satellite and the photograph at the stage of assembling (Li et al. 2022)

The primary goal of the CHASE mission is to investigate the dynamics of solar activity in the lower atmosphere, namely the photosphere and chromosphere, and to understand the physical mechanisms of solar eruptions. The scientific objectives of the CHASE mission include: (1) Formation, dynamics, and chirality of solar filaments; (2) Dynamics of solar activity in photosphere and chromosphere; (3) Comparative studies of solar and stellar magnetic activities.

The schematic view of the HIS instrument and its optical design illustrating two observational modes of RSM and CIM (Li et al. 2022)

The FITS formatted Level 1 science data are available to the community through the website at SSDC-NJU (https://ssdc.nju.edu.cn). The CHASE science team provides routines in the IDL and Python languages to read the FITS files. For higher Level products, users are encouraged to develop new routines.