BackForwardInstrument:  LASCO 

Instrument details
Acronym LASCO
Full name Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph
Purpose Study of structure evolution, mass, momentum and energy transport in the corona
Short description Assemblage of 3 coronagraphs, to measure electron column densities from just above the limb, out into deep heliospheric space; perform spectral analysis of the inner corona with a high resolution scanning. imaging interferometer; to measure the spectral profiles of three emission lines and one Fraunhofer line for each pixel (providing temperatures, velocities, turbulent motions and volume densities); to observe the direction of coronal magnetic fields via polarization analysis. Covered spectral range: 390-700 nm, inclusive of the H-alpha line at 656.3 nm
Background Part of a package of instruments to observe the solar atmosphere
Scanning Technique Sun pointing from the L1 Lagrange libration point. Corona view included
Resolution 4000 km at the Sun surface
Coverage / Cycle Full Sun disk each 6 min
Mass Power Data Rate


Providing Agency NASA
Instrument Maturity Flown on an R&D satellite
Utilization Period: 1996 to 2025
Last update: 2021-11-09
Detailed characteristics
Satellites this instrument is flying on

Note: a red tag indicates satellites no longer operational, a green tag indicates operational satellites, a blue tag indicates future satellites

Instrument classification
  • Solar and space environment monitors
  • Solar activity monitor
WIGOS Subcomponents
  • Subcomponent 1
  • Solar coronagraph and radio- spectrograph, at L1
  • Solar coronographic imager at L1
  • Subcomponent 2
  • Solar magnetograph, solar EUV/X-ray imagery and EUV/X-ray irradiance, both on the Earth-Sun line and off the Earth-Sun line
  • Solar VIS spectrometer [from L1, GEO, LEO]
  • Solar coronagraph and heliospheric imagery both on the Earth-Sun line and off the Earth-Sun line (e.g. L5 point)
  • Solar coronographic imager [from L1, GEO, LEO]
Mission objectives
Primary mission objectives
  • Solar coronagraphic image
Evaluation of Measurements

The following list indicates which measurements can typically be retrieved from this category of instrument. To see a full Gap Analysis by Variable, click on the respective variable.

Note: table can be sorted by clicking on the column headers
Note: * Primary mission objective.
VariableRelevance for measuring this variableOperational limitationsExplanation
Solar VIS flux spectrum3 - highNo specific limitation.Coarse spectral resolution, moderate dynamic range, corona view included
Solar H-alpha image5 - marginalLimited to the solar corona.H-alpha line at 656.3 nm (deep Red), solar disc occulted
Solar coronagraphic image*2 - very highNo specific limitation.VIS (400-700 nm), observed with occultation