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Ulysses Mission VHM/FGM Instrument Page - Windows to the Universe

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VHM/FGM Instrument Page

Ulysses has a unique orbit. By going past Jupiter, Ulysses was able to go into an inclined orbit that has never been achieved before (this is the sling shot approach to getting a spacecraft into orbit). From this new type of orbit, Ulysses can track parts of the Sun's magnetic field that have never been tracked.

The magnetometer was included on the Ulysses spacecraft to track the Sun's magnetic field. It uses two different sensors to tell how strong the magnetic field is at different times and at different places around the Sun. The two sensors are called the Vector Helium Magnetometer and the Fluxgate Magnetometer (try saying that 3 times in a row!).

Since being turned on in October 1990, the magnetometers have produced a steady stream of observations. Several disturbances in the magnetic field have been tracked. Scientists look forward to even more findings as Ulysses is in its second pass of the Sun. It is during this second pass that solar activity related to the magnetic field will be at its peak.

Last modified October 2, 2000 by Jennifer Bergman.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF