Solar Tomography

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Session 59 -- Solar Surface and Corona
Oral presentation, Thursday, January 13, 10:15-11:45, Salon VI Room (Crystal Gateway)

[59.07] Solar Tomography

J. M. Davila (NASA/GSFC)

Images obtained by observing the solar corona from a single spacecraft typically measure the line-of-sight integral of the volumetric emissivity through the source. The resulting two-dimensional observations have an unavoidable ambiguity along the line of sight that can be removed only by making assumptions about the three dimensional nature of the emission. These ambiguities can be removed by observing the Sun from different vantage points, at the same time, i.e. solar tomography.

The basic concept of tomographic is fairly simple. For an optically thin emission source, like the solar corona, each pixel in an image represents the line of sight integration of the volumetric emissivity of the plasma at the wavelength of observation. By obtaining several of these observations, from various angles, the underlying three dimensional structure of the emission can be deduced. This principle has been used extensively in the Medical community for the imaging of internal structure of the body with such techniques as Computer Aided Tomography (CAT) scanners and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

The purpose of this paper is to take an intial look at the following two questions: (1) Is tomography feasible with a few spacecraft?; and (2) What scientific objectives can be addressed?

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