WELCOME NEWS SCIENCE MISSION SATELLITE INSTRUMENTS GROUND SEGMENT ORGANIZATION CONTACTS OTHER SITES
RESEARCH ANNOUNCEMENT SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATIONS MEDIA GALLERY
 
PICARD Satellite
Solar continuum observed by MDI instrument on board SoHO
KEY EVENTS 
June 15, 2010: Successful launch of PICARD.
December 2009: Flight aptitude review: satellite ready for launch.
June 2007: Satellite Critical Design Review. Beginning of satellite integration.
December 2004: The program was approved for a launch in 2008.
May 2003: The program was frozen.
February 2000: PICARD microsatellite definition phase kick off meeting.

Click here to increase or decrease font size: A  A  A  A

 
PICARD NEWS
 
October 7-9, 2014

"Solar Metrology, Needs and Methods" Symposium in Paris

From October 7th to 9th, 2014, CNES and LATMOS organize the "Solar Metrology, Needs and Methods" symposium in Paris.

The goal of this symposium is to meet together scientists involved in physics, metrology and modeling of the Sun to confront the available observations of solar parameters (total and spectral irradiance, solar diameter and shape, helioseismology, ...) from existing space missions (PICARD, SOHO, SDO) with the needs of solar models.

The objectives are to evaluate if these observations are adequate in terms of methods and accuracy to constraint the solar models, to determine if some parameters are missing and to discuss in which direction we have to improve them for future solar missions.

More information about the symposium.

April 4, 2014

Last telecommand sent to PICARD satellite

The last telecommand was sent to PICARD satellite during its passage at 10h56 over Toulouse.
A presentation of the mission and its scientific results was given at Toulouse Space Center.

    Michel Rouzé : Tout ce que vous avez toujours voulu savoir sur la mission Picard
    M. Meftah : La charge utile PICARD
    Alain Hauchecorne : Objectifs et résultats scienentifiques de PICARD
    Florence Duchevet : Les expérimentations technologiques de fin de vie
    Christine Fallet : Les expérimentations fin de vie autour du sous système de contrôle d'attitude et d'orbite
November 3, 2013

A solar eclipse happened on November 3, 2013

Observations of the solar eclipse realized at the wavelength of 393.37 nm Observations of the solar eclipse realized at the wavelength of 393.37 nm Observations of the solar eclipse realized at the wavelength of 393.37 nm Observations of the solar eclipse realized at the wavelength of 535.7 nm Observations of the solar eclipse realized at the wavelength of 607.1 nm
Observations of the solar eclipse realized at different wavelengths(393.37, 535.7 and 607.1 nm)

It was the ninth solar eclipse of this century and the second eclipse of the year 2013. The Moon played with the Sun for an exceptional hybrid eclipse, annular at the beginning, then total. This eclipse could be seen from the American continent to the African continent. The telescope of space mission PICARD could "photograph" this event. Several observations have been done at different wavelengths (393.37, 535.7 and 607.1 nm). The Sun reveals the increase of activity that it is going through by showing dark spots and bright faculae. In fact, the Sun emitted a big eruption on November 5, 2013.

November 2013

SODISM-II images, Ca II at 393 nm acquired in Calern during the summers 2012 and 2013

SODISM-II Images acquired between April and October 2012 SODISM-II Images acquired between April and September 2013
SODISM-II Images acquired between April and October 2012 (on the left) and between April and September 2013 (on the right)

The PICARD-SOL mission is operational since May 2011. The images above were obtained in the Ca II absorption line at 393 nm. They give information about the chromospheric activity of the Sun since this date (the data are available through the mission's PI, Alain Hauchecorne).

See the complete article on the Côte d'Azur Observatory website

October 21, 2013

The PICARD data are now available to the scientific community

The PICARD data are now available to the scientific community on the web site: http://picard.busoc.be with the following elements:
username: GISGENPI
Password: 4LdL!v;8

For a more specific search of the SODISM data (Level N1), the catalog of the SODISM data is on-line on the web site http://picso.busoc.be
A "Help" button is placed on the PICSO homepage. It sends back to an "assistance" page for the use of the search tool (and to get the selected data).
This site is accessible with the same: Username: GISGENPI, and Password: 4LdL!v;8

For the PREMOS high level data please contact Werner Schmutz
For the SOVAP high level data please contact Steven Dewitte
For the BOS high level data please contact Michel Van Ruymbeke

In case of problem or for further information, you can contact: Michel Rouzé

For scientific questions about the mission, please contact the mission's PI: Alain Hauchecorne.

September 25-26, 2013

PICARD scientific workshop at CNES Headquarters

The workshop gathered the Principal Investigators, the Co-Investigators, as well as the PICARD Guest Investigators. Its objective was to present the latest scientific results, to tackle some important technical problems for the scientific exploitation of the data, to identify some possible cooperations between laboratories, etc.

Some of the presentations are available in the agenda below.

Agenda of the Workshop

Wednesday 25th September

    09:30 Welcome
    10:00 A. Hauchecorne: PICARD Scientific objectives
    10:25 M. Rouzé: The PICARD mission
    10:50 P. Boumier: The MEDOC solar data centre
    11:15 Coffee break
    11:35 M. Meftah: SODISM behaviour in flight
    12:00 J.F. Hochedez: SODISM optical modelling
    12:25 G. Cessateur: The PREMOS/PICARD Radiometer: An overview after 3 Years of Observations
    12:50 Lunch break
    14:00 E. Janssen: The method to revise the absolute level of the DIARAD radiometer type
    14:25 S. Dewitte: Revision of the absolute level of DIARAD radiometer type
    14:50 Zhu Ping: The BOS sensor and its performance in Space
    15:15 M. Kretschmar: Analysis of spectral irradiance observed by PREMOS: degradation and comparison with SODISM and various proxies
    15:40 Coffee break
    15:55 G Thuillier: The Solar spectral irradiance at solar acivity minimum during the transition cycles 23 to 24: A contribution to the PICARD-Climate program
    16:20 S Bekki: Impact of short-term solar variability on middle atmospheric ozone
    16:45 S Couvidat: The Venus transit of 2012 observed by SDO/HMI
    17:10 JP Rozelot: Solar metrology (diameter, limb shape, asphericity)
    17:35 T Dudok de Wit: High resolution solar diameter measurements for PICARD
    18:00 adjourn

Thursday 26th September

    09:00 W Schmutz: The future of PMOD/WRC TSI measurements
    09:25 G Kopp: PICARD Contributions to the 35-Year Total Solar Irradiance Record
    09:50 M. Meftah: SOVAP/PICARD, a space radiometer to measure the TSI
    10:15 A Hauchecorne: Solar diameter determination during the June 2012 Venus transit
    10:40 coffee break
    11:00 JY Prado/JP Barriot: Determination of the sun diameter from photometer measurements during the November 3, 2012 solar eclipse in North Australia
    11:25 R Bush: Solar studies with HMI on SDO
    11:50 R Ikhlef: PICARD sol: results after 28 months of observations
    12:15 E Rozanov: the solar contribution to future climate and ozone layer changes
    12:40 Lunch break
    14:00 D. Salabert: Helioseismology with PICARD
    14:25 A Irbah: Solar oblateness for SODISM observations
    14:50 S Turck-Chièze: Prediction of different indicators of the PICARD mission
    15:15 coffee break
    15:40 Round table on the scientific exploitation of PICARD data until the end of the mission and beyond and the future of solar observations from space and during astronomical phenomena
    17:00 adjourn
May 29, 2013

PICARD/SODISM and SDO/HMI agreement

Philip H. Scherrer (Stanford University) PI of HMI mission on board SDO and Alain Hauchecorne (LATMOS) PI of PICARD mission, signed a Letter of Intent for scientific and technical cooperation between these two space missions.

May 28, 2013

Technological experimentations with PICARD satellite

PICARD International Steering Committee ratified the recommendation of the REDEM Steering Committee not to extend PICARD mission in. Following the PICARD Exploitation Review of November 27 and 28, 2012, CNES proposed to realize in flight experimentations with the PICARD satellite during the phase F. In order to prepare these experimentations, a call for ideas has been issued at the beginning of 2013 to the CNES technical services, as well as ASTRIUM and THALES ALENIA SPACE. 16 propositions have been received and 9 have been selected. 7 propositions are underway until the end of October 2013; they concern:

    the study of the SODISM instrument CCD detector performances,
    the validation of the CORTEX Quantum equipment performances and the functionalities of the S Band interface,
    the analysis of PICARD star tracker performances, as well as the validation of its performances improvement due to the modifications in its software,
    the inspection of PICARD by Mango/PRISMA satellite: a rendez-vous demonstration with a non-cooperative satellite (PICARD) will be performed then the inspection of this satellite by the Swedish satellite Mango/PRISMA.

Other propositions should take place at the beginning of 2014, and should enable to:

    validate the autonomous guiding defined by ISIS for the future missions,
    enable to validate a new command law for the wheels for the future missions.

In addition, CNES endorsed the laboratories demand to acquire, when possible, payload data during these technological operations.

February 2013

The solar oblateness measurement: history of the measurements, objectives and scientific results

The solar oblateness measurement: history of the measurements, objectives and scientific results
(MP4 format 108 Mb)

January 2013

The millionth image of SODISM instrument

Since the launch of PICARD mission (June 15, 2010), SODISM instrument acquired its millionth image in January 2013. This observation has been done at a particular wavelength: the calcium line (Ca II K) in the night-blue part of the solar spectrum. The interest in this observation at such a wavelength (393.37 nm) is that it reveals the regions of the chromosphere and detects the active regions of the Sun (facules and spots). These images are mainly dedicated to the study of the solar activity and enable to measure the differential rotation. The instruments of the space mission PICARD are pursuing their acquisitions. The data exploitation and the scientific activities are continuing...

Image acquired by SODISM instrument on January 12, 2013
Image acquired by SODISM instrument on January 12, 2013

November 2012

Solar eclipse on November 13, seen by PICARD

Animation of SODISM images acquired during the solar eclipse by the moon at 535 nm wavelength on November 13, 2012.

Animation of SODISM images acquired during the solar eclipse by the moon at 535 nm wavelength on November 13, 2012.

November, 2012

Movies of the Presentations of the scientific PICARD workshop held on April 10th, 2012 at CNES Paris are now available in the Media Gallery!

Juillet 2012

The history of Venus transits

Video presenting the history of Venus transits observed by men from Galileo to PICARD

Movie presenting the history of Venus transits observed by men from Galileo to PICARD
© CNRS - CNES
QuickTime format low or medium resolution
~ 133 or 191 Mb

June 21, 2012

Presentations of the scientific PICARD workshop held on April 10th, 2012 at CNES Paris

The workshop presentations are available through its agenda.

June 6, 2012

The Picard satellite observed the Venus Transit

Here are the first images of SODISM telescope (at 607 nm) on board PICARD satellite of the Venus Transit (credits CNES/CNRS-LATMOS)

Venus transit in front of the SunVenus transit in front of the SunVenus transit in front of the Sun
Venus transit in front of the Sun

Animation of the Venus transit in front of the Sun
Animation of the Venus transit in front of the Sun
(avi format ~80 Mb)

The satellite is rotating around the Earth while keeping focus on the Sun. This would cause a sine wave like pattern to be observed for the path of the object between the satellite and the Sun (Venus of course in this case).

June 5, 2012

The Picard satellite will observe the Venus Transit on June 5-6

With the data obtained during the Venus Transit on June 5-6, the Picard satellite will improve our knowledge of the shape of the sun, and provide an accurate measure of the Sun diameter.

Location and time of the Venus transit in front of the Sun
Location and time of the Venus transit in front of the Sun

Another interest is to test current methods to search the exoplanets by the transit method (variation the light intensity received at the detectors level). Other scientific objectives are targeted as the study of the Venus atmosphere.

From a technical standpoint, the VENUS Transit will help the PSF determination of the SODISM instrument.

May 20, 2012

Eclipse flower seen by PICARD

On this image taken by the SODISM instrument on board Cnes' satellite Picard on May 20th, a strange "Moon flower" seems, like the Little Prince's rose, to have grown on our natural satellite limb.

Of course, without atmosphere and liquid water, no flower can grow on the Moon. This beautiful plant was just a group of sun spots that the perspective placed at the limb of the Moon during the partial solar eclipse by the Moon.

Group of sun spots looking like a flower growing on the Moon's limb - Credits: CNES/CNRS-LATMOS
Group of sun spots looking like a flower growing on the Moon's limb
Credits: CNES/CNRS-LATMOS

Continuously ausculting our star since June 2010, Picard satellite was ideally placed to photograph this partial eclipse.

Note that Picard will also be well placed to observe Venus transit in front of our star on June 6th, the last transit before 2117!

April 10, 2012

PICARD Scientific Workshop at CNES headquarters in Paris

This workshop objective is to present the first results of the mission, as well as the instruments in-flight performances. Another objective will be to prepare a Call for "Guest Investigators" and PICARD data use.

The workshop will be held at:

Centre national d'études spatiales
2 place Maurice Quentin
75039 PARIS Cedex 01
FRANCE

For more information and inscription to the workshop, contact Michel Rouzé

March 2012

The enormous Sun spot that produces eruptions

The origin of the solar eruption on the March 7, 2012 is a big sun spot that appeared on March 2 on the border of the Sun. This spot is named AR 1429 by astronomers.

The SODISM telescope of the PICARD satellite captured a set of images at 393 nm wavelength, more particularly between March 6 and 9. Theses images show the evolution of AR 1429 position, which extends on a length equivalent to 8 times the Earth diameter!!!

Images taken between March 6 and 9 by Sodism telescope at 393 nm wavelength - © CNES/CNRS-LATMOS 
Images taken between March 6 and 9 by Sodism telescope at 393 nm wavelength © CNES/CNRS-LATMOS

The different and powerful solar eruptions that took place during this period could have provoked magnetic disturbances in the Earth's environment (especially for satellites). They also are at the origin of magnificent polar aurora, which result from the entry of solar particles in the atmosphere.

June 1, 2011

PICARD observes a new partial Sun eclipse

Partial Sun eclipse on 01/08/2011 at 21h59 at 535 nm Partial Sun eclipse on 01/08/2011 at 22h02 at 535 nm Partial Sun eclipse on 01/08/2011 at 22h05 at 535 nm Partial Sun eclipse on 01/08/2011 at 22h07 at 535 nm Partial Sun eclipse on 01/08/2011 at 22h10 at 535 nm Partial Sun eclipse on 01/08/2011 at 22h14 at 535 nm
Partial Sun eclipse on 01/08/2011 at 21h59, 22h02, 22h05, 22h07, 22h10 and 22h14 at 535 nm

The six images above have been taken on June 1st, 21h59, 22h02, 22h05, 22h07, 22h10 and 22h14 (Universal Time UTC) at the wavelength of 535 nm.
They enable to observe the transition of the Moon between the Earth and the Sun.

Otherwise, scientists pursue their analysis and interpretation work of the enormous volume of data collected.

January 4, 2011

PICARD observes the partial Sun eclipse

Partial Sun eclipse on 04/01/2011 at 8h25 at 782 nm Partial Sun eclipse on 04/01/2011 at 8h26 at 782 nm Partial Sun eclipse on 04/01/2011 at 8h27 at 782 nm Partial Sun eclipse on 04/01/2011 at 8h28 at 782 nm
Partial Sun eclipse on 04/01/2011 at 8h25, 8h26, 8h27 and 8h28 at 782 nm

The four images above have been taken on January 4th, 2011 at 8h25-8h26-8h27 and 8h28 (Universal Time UTC) at the wavelength of 782 nm while the satellite flew over Greenland.
They enable to observe the transition of the Moon between the Earth and the Sun.
The Sun image is gradually shifted from the center of the image, due to the satellite driving principle which points towards the gravity center of the lighted part of the Sun.
From a scientific point of view, the interest of this observation is limited because the eclipse is partial. Nonetheless, by using SOVAP and PREMOS instruments measurements, the consequences of the darkening of the center-border of the Sun on the total and spetral radiation can be studied.

Otherwise, scientists pursue their analysis and interpretation work of the enormous volume of data collected.

November 24, 2010

Scientific Mission Center delivery to its operator

The delivery key point (hand over) of PICARD CMS took place on November 23 and 24, 2010, in Brussels with representatives from CNES, which was the prime contractor for this development, from B-USOC which is its operator, from Belpso, which funds the development and the operations and from IASB which hosts it.
The CMS-P was developed by the Belgian company Spacebel.
After the key point, the CMS-P was accepted without reservation by its operator. The operations responsibility, conducted in coordination with the Mission Operations Preparation Group (scientific group) and its maintenance switches from CNES to B-USOC.
These last delivery and responsibility change conclude the passage of PICARD system to routine operation mode.

CNES and B-USOC responsibles working
CNES and B-USOC responsibles working
Bruno Millet PICARD system responsible with Dominique Fonteyn, Belspo Director
Bruno Millet PICARD system responsible with Dominique Fonteyn, Belspo Director
November 18, 2010

Definitive opening of SOVAP right shutter

SOVAP instrument was victim, since July 26, of a dysfunction of the entry shutter of the right cavity. Faced with this issue, the instrument responsibles decided to let this shutter permanently open; however the different commands sent to this objective failed until November 18 when the opening manoeuvre succeeded. The shutter will now stay open until the end of the mission, enabling the instrument to ensure its scientific mission.

November 12, 2010

Entry in eclipses period

The 6h00-18h00 orbit choice is dedicated to minimize the eclipses periods during the year, interrupting the continuous observation of the Sun. This period is thus limited to a few weeks around the winter solstice.
It begun on November 12 and the eclipses duration will gradually increase to reach the value of 20 mn on December 20.
The eclipse entry and exit go with a period during which the Sun is seen through the atmosphere, which refracts its rays: the Sun image is thus distorted and seen in a different direction than the real one.
During this absorption period, the satellite stay guided as long as possible by its solar ecartometry sensor, in the Sun direction. The scientific instruments continue the acquisition of measurements in order for SODISM, to study the distortion of the limb through the atmosphere, and for the radiometers, to analyse the impact of the atmosphere on the spectral repartition of the solar radiation.
At the beginning of the eclipse, the pointing is realised by star sensors.
At the end of the eclipse, the satellite stay pointed in the theoretical direction of the Sun until the solar ecartometry sensor receives enough solar flux to enable a correct pointing. This period is used by SODISM to try to evaluate the impact of the temperature variation of its front part (it was notably cooled during the eclipse) on the instrument metrology.

Ecart entre la direction visée par le satellite et la direction du soleil

The graphic above represents the variation (expressed in arc second) between the direction aimed by the satellite and the direction of the Sun. Two eclipses periods can be observed with an important variation during the beginning and the end of the eclipse (effect of the switch between the star sensor and the solar ecartometry sensor) and a decreased pointing performance when the satellite is driven by the star sensors instead of the solar ecartometry sensor.

October 15, 2010

PICARD declared ready for duty

The in-flight commissioning operations successfully ended on October 8.
The system was declared ready to begin the exploitation phase after the in-flight commissioning review.
The Calibration Validation phase, dedicated to the last tuning to reach the system ultimate performances thus begins.

October 7, 2010

New images of the Sun taken by SODISM instrument

SODISM instrument continu its regular acquisition of images of the Sun (one each minute). The 5 images below have been taken at 5 wavelength of SODISM instrument SODISM. They have been obtained after application of a processing to correct the main optical and radiometric defaults of the raw images.

Image at 535 nm taken on 04/09/2010 at 13h31
Image at 535 nm taken on 04/09/2010 at 13h31
Image at 607 nm taken on 02/09/2010 at 04h04
Image at 607 nm taken on 02/09/2010 at 04h04
Image at 782 nm taken on 03/09/2010 at 09h04
Image at 782 nm taken on 03/09/2010 at 09h04
Image at 215 nm taken on 22/09/2010 at 03h53
Image at 215 nm taken on 22/09/2010 at 03h53
Image at 393 nm taken on 22/09/2010 at 04h23
Image at 393 nm taken on 22/09/2010 at 04h23

The images at 535 nm, 607 nm and 782 nm are mainly used to measure the Sun's diameter and the study of its shape.
The images at 215 nm and 393 nm are mainly used to study the solar activity.

All these images enable to visualise several sun spots. These images confirm the increase of the solar activity.

This video is a series of images taken at the wavelength of 393 nm between August 5 and 31, 2010. It shows a nearly complete rotation of the Sun.
These images have been obtained after processing to correct the main defaults of the instrument.

October 6, 2010

First stellar pointing

During the in-flight commissioning operations, PICARD successfully realised its first stellar pointing sequence.
During this particular operation, the satellite doesn't point towards the Sun, but towards a couple of stars which angular distance is near the value of the solar diameter, located in the opposit direction from the Sun. The image taken by SODISM serves to compare the distance between the stars as measured by the instrument to the distance foretold by Hipparcos catalogue, to calibrate, in the absolute, the measurement function of SODISM.

July 27, 2010

First image of the Sun taken by SODISM instrument on July 22, 2010 at 16h12. It is a raw image, level L0, thus obtained before processing, at 607 nm wavelength in a very narrow band of 0.5 nm width.

Several solar spots can be seen in the lower left part. These spots appear at high solar lattitude then move slowly towards the solar equator, their number increasing with the solar activity.

First image of the Sun taken by SODISM instrument on July 22, 2010 - Wavelenth 607 nm
First image of the Sun taken by SODISM instrument on July 22, 2010 - Wavelenth 607 nm

The 607 nm wavelength enables to measure the shape (diameter, flatening) of the solar disk at the photosphere level.
SODISM also has filters at 215, 393, 535 and 782 nm, enabling to study the active regions (sun spots, facula) as well as the Sun internal structure interne (heliosismology).
The CCD has 4 Millions pixels.

PICARD payload is also composed of 2 radiometers measuring the total and spectral solar irradiance. PICARD is a solar metrology mission, not an imaging mission. The wealth of the mission is in the continuous observation of the Sun during several years to get very precise measurements of characteristics such as the diameter and the emitted power, their variations (with a precision of about 10-6) and their relations during all the increasing phase of the 11 years solar cycle.

July 2, 2010

End of the first operations to bring the payload to operational configuration: the 3 instruments are now functioning, all their parameters are nominals.
SODISM is in decontamination mode, at the mean temperature of 25°C; dark current images are regularly acquired.
All the system componants (satellite and payload, control center, network, mission center) are fonctioning nominally.

Evolution of SODISM temperatures during its passage in decontamination
Evolution of SODISM temperatures during its passage in decontamination.

June 21, 2010 The LEOP ("Launch and Early Orbit Phase") operations took place nominaly.
June 15, 2010

Successful launch of PICARD satellite together with the Swedish satellites PRISMA, in a DNEPR launcher.

lancement PICARD
video lancement Picard (MP4 format ~6.5 Mb)

December 2009 Flight aptitude review: satellite ready for launch.
January 2009 Installation of the Payload on the satellite.
June 2008 Beginning of the System Technical Qualification operations.
June 2007 Satellite Critical Design Review. Beginning of satellite integration.
March 2006 Preliminary Definition Review. Launch scheduled at the beginning of 2009.
January to December 2005 Work on system and satellite preliminary design.
December 2004 The program was approved for a launch in 2008.
May 2003 The program was frozen.
February 2000 PICARD microsatellite definition phase kick off meeting.


Latest update 08/04/2014