Stigmatic spectroscopy of the solar atmosphere in the vacuum-ultraviolet

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


The solar atmosphere presents a complicated observing target since tremendous variability exists in solar features over a wide range of spatial, spectral, and temporal scales. Stigmatic spectrographs are indispensable tools that provide simultaneous access to spatial context and spectroscopy, enabling the diagnosis of solar events that cannot be accomplished by imaging or spectroscopy alone. In this dissertation I develop and apply a novel technique for on orbit spectrograph calibration, recover co-temporal Doppler shifts of widely spaced solar features, and describe a new design for a slitless solar spectrograph. The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, (IRIS) is currently the highest spatial and spectral resolution, space based, solar spectrograph. Ongoing calibration is important to maintaining the quality of IRIS data. Using a Mercury transit against the backdrop of the dynamic solar atmosphere, I characterize the spatial point spread functions of the spectrograph with a unique, iterative, blind, deconvolution algorithm. An associated deconvolution routine improves the ability of IRIS to resolve spatially compact solar features. This technique is made freely available to the community for use with past and future IRIS observations. The Multi-Order Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrograph (MOSES) is a slitless spectrograph that collects co-temporal, but overlapping spatial and spectral images of solar spectral lines. Untangling these images presents an ill-posed inversion problem. I develop a fast, automated method that returns Doppler shifts of compact solar objects over the entire MOSES field of view with a minimum of effort and interpretation bias. The Extreme ultraviolet Snapshot Imaging Spectrograph (ESIS) is a slitless spectrograph that extends the MOSES concept. I describe this new instrument, which is far more complex and distinct as compared to MOSES, and the contributions I made in the form of optical design and optimization. ESIS will improve the quality of spatial and spectral information obtained from compact and extended solar features, and represents the next step in solar slitless spectroscopy. Taken together, these contributions advance the field by supporting existing instrumentation and by developing new instrumentation and techniques for future observations of the solar atmosphere.




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