This image shows the Sun's polarity
measured by Ulysses
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.
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