AAS Meeting #193 - Austin, Texas, January 1999
Session 100. The Quiet and Active Sun
Display, Saturday, January 9, 1999, 9:20am-4:00pm, Exhibit Hall 1

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[100.08] The TRACE Mission: Initial Scientific Results

A. M. Title, T.D. Tarbell, J. Wolfson, K. Schrijver (LMSAL), R. R. Fisher, Th. G\"ang (GSFC), L. Golub, R. A. McMullen (SAO), C. Kankelborg (MSU), TRACE Collaboration

TRACE (Transition Region and Coronal Explorer) is a Small Explorer Mission (SMEX) devoted to studying the evolution and propagation of fine-scale magnetic fields and plasma structures throughout the solar atmosphere. The instrument consists of a telescope with a 30\,cm primary mirror, normal incidence coatings for three EUV bands (171, 195 and 284\,Å), and interference filters for UV bands (1216 to 1700\,Å) as well as white light (allowing the selection of temperature ranges from ~6\,000 to ~2\,500\,000 degrees K). The 1024\,x\,1024 CCD camera has a field of view of 8.5\,arcmin with a spatial resolution of 1\,arcsec and exposure times of 0.002 to 260\,sec with a cadence as short as two seconds.

The spacecraft was launched on April 1, 1998, and first light for the telescope occurred on April 20. Observations have been collected nearly 24 hours per day since then, with no significant problems in any segment of the spacecraft, instrument, or mission operations.

TRACE transmits about 3--4\,GB of data per week which gets automatically reformatted and becomes available for the scientific community within approx.\ 24\,hours. It is accessible without restrictions (only guidelines) together with other informations (technical details, educational material, movies, images,...) at: {\tt http://vestige.lmsal.com/TRACE}.

The images reveal activity in the solar atmosphere in stunning detail and include the first detailed observations of a magnetic energy release. This magnetic reconnection was observed on May 8, 1998, in a region of the solar atmosphere where two sets of perpendicular magnetic loops expanded into each other (see NASA Press Release 98-92).

The TRACE mission has been developed and operated by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Lockheed Martin Solar & Astrophysics Laboratory, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and Montana State University.

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