Chromospheric Lyman-Alpha Spectro Polarimeter (CLASP)

  • Mission
  • Vehicle
  • Launch
  • Photos

CLASP is a new instrument. CLASP has significant heritage from past experiments: Optical layout is partly based on Solar Ultraviolet Magnetograph Instrument (SUMI), 36.213 Porter/Davis & 36.284 Cirtain. Electronics & electrical interface based on SUMI & High Resolution Coronal Imager (Hi-C), 36.272/Cirtain.

The Science goals of CLASP are:
Detection of atomic polarization of the Lyman-alpha line from the solar chromosphere.
Detection of the Hanle effect polarization.

The aim of CLASP is to achieve the first measurement of magnetic field in the upper chromosphere and transition region of the Sun through the detection and measurement of Hanle effect polarization of the Lyman alpha line. The Hanle effect (i.e. the magnetic field induced modification of the linear polarization due to scattering processes in spectral lines) is believed to be a powerful tool for measuring the magnetic field in the upper chromosphere, as it is more sensitive to weaker magnetic fields than the Zeeman effect, and also sensitive to magnetic fields tangled at spatial scales too small to be resolved. The Lyman-alpha (121.567 nm) line has been chosen because it is a chromospheric/transition-region line, and because the Hanle effect polarization of the Lyman-alpha line is predicted to be sensitive to 10-250 Gauss, encompassing the range of interest.* The Principal Investigator is Dr. Winebarger/University of Alabama.


For an overview of solar sounding rocket instruments developed jointly by NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and the University of Alabama in Huntsville, see: http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20140011665.pdf.

Drawing of a Terrier-Black Brant sounding rocket

The Black Brant 9 is a two stage sounding rocket with a Terrier first stage and Black Brant second stage. The Black Brant 9 can reach altitudes of about 600 km. Payloads weighing from 400 to 1200 pounds can be flown.

Additional sounding rocket vehicles

Google Earth Map showing White Sands Missile Range.

The CLASP mission was launched from White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico on September 3, 2015.

Photos not currently available.