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This page will be used to coordinate Solar Orbiter and PSP operations. We can add a list of upcoming opportunities, discussions on the scientific value and operational constraints for each campaign, etc. We also provide links to the planning schedule for Solar Orbiter science operations and other useful pages on SOC Public.

How to plan coordinated campaigns with Solar Orbiter

Coordinated campaigns are to be discussed during the Mission Level Planning meetings, typically being held as part of Solar Orbiter Science Working Team (SWT) meetings. These take place every 6 months (typically around May and November) and set in stone the science goals for a 6 months period starting roughly 7-8 months in the future.

So the upcoming planning meetings are the following:

During these meetings, the following will be discussed, starting from the draft operations schedule in the Science Activity Plan (SAP):

  • scientific opportunities specific to Solar Orbiter: science goals to be addressed during this LTP, optimal location of RS windows (typically 3 windows of 10 days)
  • opportunities for coordinated science or cross-calibration campaigns with other missions like PSP, DKIST, Hinode, SDO, ...
  • high-level planning of the whole 6-months period, schedule of Solar Orbiter Observing Plans (SOOPs)
  • simulation of resources and optimisation

After mission level planning, the agreed operations will be specified in more detail during Long Term Planning, taking place every 6 months 3 months (starting LTP4), typically around January, April, July and October.

The actual commanding (for Solar Orbiter payload) will be uploaded to the SC typically ~2 weeks before the actual operations, as part of Short Term Planning.

The detailed schedule with all planning activities is available here: Roadmap for Planning Activities & Related Work.

Two types of campaigns

Depending on the type of campaign requested, the operational constraints can be very different.

Let’s consider only two types of campaigns:

  1. Those involving imaging from Solar Orbiter - MOST CONSTRAINT
    • These campaigns have to be run during Remote-Sensing windows, which are typically constraint to 3 windows of roughly 10 days per orbit (~6 months in first half of mission). 
    • Therefore they are most constraint, as both the Solar Orbiter specific science goals as the opportunities for coordinated campaigns need to be fit into the RS windows.
    • RS instruments are designed to be operated from 0.28AU (perihelion) up to ~0.7AU. Farther out, RS observations may not be optimal.
  2. In-situ only (or rather, mainly) campaigns - LEAST CONSTRAINT
    • Since SO in-situ payloads are always on and the PSP ones are always on within 0.5 AU (and beyond), this is just a matter of locating appropriate configurations (radial alignment, small longitudinal separations, Parker spiral)
    • Only constraint from Solar Orbiter's point of view may be limited TM. If IS burst modes are required, trade-off may need to be found.

SO-PSP opportunities during Cruise 

Cruise Phase runs from mid 2020 to end November 2021. It is split up in 5 periods (LTP1 to LTP5) and the details of each planning period are specified on the following pages, incl orbit plots:

An animated version of the Orbit plot for the entire mission is available here: Orbit_Feb2020.mp4

Following inputs for proposed collaborations have been received so far (source: Email A. Vourlidas, 24 Mar 2020 & 5 Aug 2020):


Note: this information came too late to be able to adjust the RS operations, but IS payload could still take advantage during Solar Orbiter STPs 114 and 115.

  1. Radial Alignment: Sep 26 20:00 – Sep 27 04  [PSP at perihelion 20-21 R; crossing nominal Alfvèn point]
    1. PHI magnetograms and disk imaging highly desirable (unfortunately, PHI will not be observing at that time)
    2. Also PSP-BC radial align: Sep 24 06:00 – Sep 25 15:00 [PSP at 37 – 28 Rs; inbound; corotating until 9/24 22:30 or so]

  2. Parker Spiral: Sep 28 all day [assuming 300 km/s wind speed]

  3. Quadrature: Sep 29 00:00 – Sep 30 13:00 [SO-STA in opposition (great time for cross calibration w/ METIS, EUV); PSP quadrature w/ both STA and SO; PSP in corotation]

Angelos will be running special campaigns w/ LASCO (Sep 25-27) and SECCHI (Sep 27-30).


January 19, 2021: SO-PSP quadrature close to PSP Perihelion

Quadrature soon after PSP perihelion #7 (17 January). PSP is at +Y SOLO SRF  relative to Solar Orbiter (towards Solar East). At this time Solar Orbtier is at around 0.6AU heliocentric distance. Note that the Solar Orbiter CSW might be updated during this period.
For PSP, this is a key perihelion because it occurs over the Earth visible disk and hence we expect major campaigns w/ ground and space-based assets, as they did last January.

During LTP3 planning at SOWG#16, it was decided that EUI/FSI and Metis will take advantage of this opportunity and take synoptic observations from 14 to 21 January. IS payload will command regular bursts throughout the window.

See LTP3 plan.

February 3, 2021: same radial distance, close together

Solar Orbiter & PSP at same radial distance (0.5 AU) Separated by ~15 degrees in longitude. Note this is likely to be during a conjunction for Solar Orbiter: IS will be observing but RS can probably not.

This period falls close to Solar Orbiter perihelion (and conjunction). During LTP3 planning at SOWG#16, it was decided that EUI/FSI and PHI/FDT will take synoptic observations from 1 to 19 February. IS payload will command regular bursts throughout the window. See LTP3 plan.

April 29, 2021: PSP Perihelion, Radial alignment, and quadrature soon after

PSP Perihelion #8, Radial alignment. Quadrature (Solar Orbiter -Y / Solar West side) soon after. Solar Orbiter in quadrature with Earth at 0.8AU. Likely to be a Parker spiral alignment during this interval as well. STEREO-A half way between the Solo & Earth. 

This is a good opportunity for extra IS and RS support (STP-145).

PSP input from Angelos: If anyone has ideas that may require special configuration for the s/c (e.g. roll), anytime Mar 9 – June 18,  please let Nour know (and me, if you need WISPR support). We need to schedule those months in advance.
E8 occurs over the west-limb; ST-A has a good view of the disk but SO is capturing much more of it and the far side. I imagine that PHI magnetograms would be highly desirable, especially if we have increased activity (which is likely).

During LTP3 planning at SOWG#16, it was decided that all RS instruments will support the PSP perihelion by acquiring synoptic observations during 1 week leading up to the actual PSP perihelion (which will be kept EMC noise free for the IS payload). RS synoptics will run from 21 to 28 April 2021. IS payload will command regular bursts throughout the window. See LTP3 plan.


September 18, 2021: SO-PSP-STA radial alignment

Radial alignment between PSP, Solar Orbiter and STEREO-A. See figure below - positions of SO, PSP and ST-A are denoted by the squares on black, purple and green trajectories respectively.

SO at roughly 0.6AU and PSP at 0.74AU.

During LTP4 planning at SWT#27, high rate observations have been added for the in situ instruments to support the radial alignment. See LTP04 July 2021-Sep 2021


November 11-21, 2021 

In Nov 11-21 2021 (range to be refined), PSP is approaching perihelion and is radially aligned w/ SO and Earth. I would aim for an imaging campaign (and cross-calibration w/ assets on sun-earth line). Request for RS support over the western limb (as seen by Earth/SO).

Note that there are operational constraints:

  • Nov 11-21 2021 falls in the middle of a GAM restriction period around Earth GAM 1 (2021-11-27) and operational restrictions will apply.
  • Value of Solar Orbiter giving RS support is not so clear when it is so close to Earth. Cross-calibration could be an option, but may be of limited value as SolO will be close to 1AU.

SO-PSP opportunities during Nominal Mission Phase (NMP) 

NMP runs from end November 2021 to end 2026. It is split up in LTP periods covering roughly 3 months, starting with LTP06 Q1-2022.
The associated orbit plots, including PSP and STEREO-A orbits, are available in Orbit Plots. At the bottom of the page, there is also a mission movie available which can be helpful to find interesting geometrical configurations.

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