Ulysses/SWICS Instrument

Ulysses Instruments Overview

SWICS Instrument Description

The Solar Wind Ion Composition Spectrometer (SWICS) on Ulysses is designed to determine uniquely the elemental and ionic-charge composition, and the temperatures and mean speeds of all major solar-wind ions, from H through Fe, at solar wind speeds ranging from 175 km/s (protons) to 1280 km/s (Fe8+). The instrument, which covers an energy per charge range from 0.16 to 59.6 keV/e in ~13 min, combines an electrostatic analyzer with post-acceleration, followed by a time-of-flight and energy measurement. The measurements made by SWICS will have an impact on many areas of solar and heliospheric physics, in particular providing essential and unique information on: (i) conditions and processes in the region of the corona where the solar wind is accelerated; (ii) the location of the source regions of the solar wind in the corona; (iii) coronal heating processes; (iv) the extent and causes of variations in the composition of the solar atmosphere; (v) plasma processes in the solar wind; (vi) the acceleration of energetic particles in the solar wind; (vii) the thermalization and acceleration of interstellar ions in the solar wind, and their composition; and (viii) the composition, charge states and behavior of the plasma in various regions of the Jovian magnetosphere. (Abstract from: G. Gloeckler, J. Geiss et al., Astron. Astrophys. Suppl. Ser. 92, 267-289, 1992)

Further information about the Ulysses/SWICS instrument can be found on the Ulysses/SWICS page of the University of Michigan.