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SOHO, the spacecraft


SOHO has two main parts. The upper section carries all the solar instruments and the lower section carries electronic systems to control the satellite.


The upper section contains all the solar and other instruments. It's called the payload module. The SOHO instruments are used to:


  • take images of the Sun in visible and UV radiation

  • find out about the invisible material flowing from the Sun (the solar wind)

  • measure the total amount of radiation coming from the Sun

  • measure the Sun's vibrations


SOHO is about the same size as a large van.

The lower section of the spacecraft is known as the service module and it does a whole host of different jobs. It contains:


  • a computer which collects all the observations from the instruments and an antenna which is used to send the information back to Earth.

  • a special system which controls the temperature of SOHO to stop it getting too hot or too cold

  • a guidance system which calculates SOHO's orientation in space and keeps it pointed directly at the Sun.




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