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The Upper Atmosphere and Plasma Imager/the Telescope of Visible Light (UPI/TVIS) onboard the Kaguya spacecraft


The Upper Atmosphere and Plasma Imager (UPI) was placed in a lunar orbit in order to study both the Moon and Earth. The UPI consists of two telescopes: a Telescope of Extreme Ultraviolet (TEX) and a Telescope of Visible Light (TVIS), which are both mounted on a two-axis gimbals system. The TVIS is equipped with fast catadioptric optics and a high-sensitivity CCD to image swift aurora and dark airglow in the terrestrial upper atmosphere. TVIS has a field-of-view equivalent to the Earth’s disk as seen from the Moon. The spatial resolution is about 30 km × 70 km on the Earth’s surface at auroral latitudes. The observation wavelengths can be changed by selecting different bandpass filters. Using the images of the northern and southern auroral ovals taken by TVIS, the intensities and shapes of the conjugate auroras will be quantitatively compared. Using the airglow imaging, medium- and large-scale ionospheric disturbances will be studied. In this paper, the instrumental design and performance of TVIS are presented.


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Correspondence to M. Taguchi.

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Taguchi, M., Sakanoi, T., Okano, S. et al. The Upper Atmosphere and Plasma Imager/the Telescope of Visible Light (UPI/TVIS) onboard the Kaguya spacecraft. Earth Planet Sp 61, xvii–xxiii (2009).

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Key words

  • Aurora
  • airglow
  • imaging
  • remote sensing
  • ionosphere