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Journal Articles The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Year : 2020

The Solar Probe ANalyzers-Electrons on the Parker Solar Probe

Phyllis L Whittlesey
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  • PersonId : 1068579
Davin Larson
Jasper Halekas
Jianxin Chen
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Kelly E Korreck
Roberto Livi
Ali Rahmati


Electrostatic analyzers of different designs have been used since the earliest days of the space age, beginning with the very earliest solar-wind measurements made by Mariner 2 en route to Venus in 1962. The Parker Solar Probe (PSP) mission, NASA's first dedicated mission to study the innermost reaches of the heliosphere, makes its thermal plasma measurements using a suite of instruments called the Solar Wind Electrons, Alphas, and Protons (SWEAP) investigation. SWEAP's electron PSP Analyzer (Solar Probe ANalyzer-Electron (SPAN-E)) instruments are a pair of top-hat electrostatic analyzers on PSP that are capable of measuring the electron distribution function in the solar wind from 2 eV to 30 keV. For the first time, in situ measurements of thermal electrons provided by SPAN-E will help reveal the heating and acceleration mechanisms driving the evolution of the solar wind at the points of acceleration and heating, closer than ever before to the Sun. This paper details the design of the SPAN-E sensors and their operation, data formats, and measurement caveats from PSP's first two close encounters with the Sun.
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Dates and versions

hal-02553324 , version 1 (24-04-2020)



Phyllis L Whittlesey, Davin Larson, Justin Kasper, Jasper Halekas, Mamuda Abatcha, et al.. The Solar Probe ANalyzers-Electrons on the Parker Solar Probe. The Astrophysical Journal Supplement, 2020, 246 (2), pp.74. ⟨10.3847/1538-4365/ab7370⟩. ⟨hal-02553324⟩
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