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Faraday Rotation Using the MESSENGER RF Carrier at Solar Minimum

Thursday, May 20, 2010
Jensen (MMT Observatory and ACS Engineering & Safety, Ltd.)

 From 2007 to 2009, the Sun exhibited its lowest activity in almost a century. On November 9, 2009 the MESSENGER spacecraft en route to Mercury was in superior conjunction allowing the measurement of the solar magnetic field using the Faraday rotation of its radio frequency carrier. The magnetic field of the Sun heats the plasma of the million degree solar corona that generates the solar wind; only the phenomenon of Faraday rotation can be used to remotely measure the magnetic field outside of active regions. The initial plane of polarization measurements from the MESSENGER conjunction will be presented and the analyses that will be conducted on the final data set.

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