Telescope Door on IRIS Opens

In its first major milestone since launch, the IRIS team opened the telescope door on July 17, 2013. The telescope door is the circular white object on the far left of this graphic.

Today at 11:14 pm PDT (2:14 pm EDT) the IRIS Lockheed Martin instrument team successfully opened the door on NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, which launched June 27, 2013, aboard a Pegasus XL rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

A 60-day check out period began at launch. The first 30 days, which ends July 27, consists of tests and spacecraft system checks. The team will use the remaining 30 days for initial observing runs to fine tune instrument observations. If all is nominal, the team plans to begin normal science mode by August 26.

All data will be available to scientists and the public as soon as the mission begins science operations. The team is looking forward to receiving high-resolution images and spectra soon after first light.

IRIS is a NASA Explorer Mission to observe how solar material moves, gathers energy and heats up as it travels through a little-understood region in the sun's lower atmosphere. This interface region between the sun's photosphere and corona powers its dynamic million-degree atmosphere and drives the solar wind. The interface region also is where most of the sun's ultraviolet emission is generated. These emissions impact the near-Earth space environment and Earth's climate.

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