Beam tracking strategies for fast acquisition of solar wind velocity distribution functions with high energy and angular resolutions

De Keyser, Johan; Lavraud, Benoit; Přech, Lubomir; Neefs, Eddy; Berkenbosch, Sophie; Beeckman, Bram; Fedorov, Andrei; Marcucci, Maria Federica; De Marco, Rossana; Brienza, Daniele

Space plasma spectrometers have often relied on spacecraft spin to collect three-dimensional particle velocity distributions, which simplifies the instrument design and reduces its resource budgets but limits the velocity distribution acquisition rate. This limitation can in part be overcome by the use of electrostatic deflectors at the entrance of the analyser. By mounting such a spectrometer on a Sun-pointing spacecraft, solar wind ion distributions can be acquired at a much higher rate because the solar wind ion population, which is a cold beam that fills only part of the sky around its mean arrival direction, always remains in view. The present paper demonstrates how the operation of such an instrument can be optimized through the use of beam tracking strategies. The underlying idea is that it is much more efficient to cover only that part of the energy spectrum and those arrival directions where the solar wind beam is expected to be. The advantages of beam tracking are a faster velocity distribution acquisition for a given angular and energy resolution, or higher angular and energy resolution for a given acquisition rate. It is demonstrated by simulation that such beam tracking strategies can be very effective while limiting the risk of losing the beam. They can be implemented fairly easily with present-day on-board processing resources.

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De Keyser, Johan / Lavraud, Benoit / Přech, Lubomir / et al: Beam tracking strategies for fast acquisition of solar wind velocity distribution functions with high energy and angular resolutions. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Johan De Keyser et al.

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