Skip to main content

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.


  • Anger, C. D., T. Fancott, J. McNally, and H. S. Kerr, ISIS-2 scanning auroral photometer, Appl. Opt., 12, 1753–1766, 1973.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Anger, C. D., S. K. Babey, A. Lyle Broadfoot, R. G. Brown, L. L. Cogger, R. Gattinger, J. W. Haslett, R. A. King, D. J. McEwen, J. S. Murphree, E. H. Richardson, B. R. Sandel, K. Smith, and A. Vallance Jones, An ultraviolet auroral imager for the Viking spacecraft, Geophys. Res. Lett., 14, 387–390, 1987.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Belon, A. E., J. E. Maggs, T. N. Davis, K. B. Mather, N. W. Glass, and G. F. Hughes, Conjugacy of visual auroras during magnetically quiet periods, J. Geophys. Res., 74, 1–28, 1969.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Burch, J. L., IMAGE mission overview, Space Sci. Rev., 91, 1–14, 2000.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Carruthers, G. R. and T. Page, Apollo 16 far ultraviolet imagery of the polar auroras, tropical airglow belts, and general airglow, J. Geophys. Res., 81, 483, 1976.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • DeWitt, R. N., The occurrence of aurora in geomagnetically conjugate areas, J. Geophys. Res., 68, 1347–1352, 1962.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Frank, L. A., J. D. Craven, K. L. Ackerson, M. R. English, R. H. Eather, and R. L. Carovillano, Global auroral imaging instrumentation for the Dynamics Explorer mission, Space Sci. Instr., 5, 369–393, 1981.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kagitani, M., M. Taguchi, A. Yamazaki, I. Yoshikawa, G. Murakami, K. Yoshioka, S. Kameda, F. Ezawa, T. Toyota, and S. Okano, First optical observation of the Moon’s sodium exosphere from the lunar orbiter SELENE (Kaguya), Earth Planets Space, 61, 1025–1029, 2009.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kaneda, E., Auroral TV observation by KYOKKO, Proc. Jpn. IMS Symp., 146, 1979.

  • Kato, M., S. Sasaki, K. Tanaka, Y. Iijima, and Y. Takizawa, The Japanese lunar mission SELENE: Science goals and present status, Adv. Space Res., doi:10.1016/j.asr.2007.03.049, 2008 (in press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Kubota, M., K. Shiokawa, M. K. Ejiri, Y. Otsuka, T. Ogawa, T. Sakanoi, H. Fukunishi, M. Yamamoto, S. Fukao, and A. Saito, Traveling ionospheric disturbances observed in the OI 630-nm nightglow images over Japan by using a multipoint imager network during the FRONT campaign, Geophys. Res. Lett., 27, 4037–4040, 2000.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mendillo, M., J. Baumgardner, D. Nottingham, J. Aarons, B. Reinisch, J. Scali, and M. Kelley, Investigations of thermospheric-ionospheric dynamics with 6300-Å images from the Arecibo Observatory, J. Geophys. Res., 102, 7331–7343, 1997.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Oguti, T., E. Kaneda, M. Ejiri, S. Sasaki, A. Kadokura, T. Yamamoto, K. Hayashi, R. Fujii, and K. Makita, Studies of aurora dynamics by Aurora-TV on the Akebono (EXOS-D) satellite, J. Geomag. Geoelectr., 42, 555–564, 1990.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Østgaard, N., S. B. Mende, H. U. Frey, T. J. Immel, L. A. Frank, J. B. Sigwarth, and T. J. Stubbs, Interplanetary magnetic field control of the location of substorm onset and auroral features in the conjugate hemispheres, J. Geophys. Res., 109, A07204, doi:10.1029/2003JA010370, 2004.

  • Otsuka, Y., K. Shiokawa, T. Ogawa, and P. Wilkinson, Geomagnetic conjugate observations of medium-scale traveling ionospheric disturbances at midlatitude using all-sky airglow imagers, Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L15803, doi:10.1029/2004GL020262, 2004.

  • Sagawa, E., T. Maruyama, T. J. Immel, H. U. Frey, and S. B. Mende, Global view of the nighttime low-latitude ionosphere by the IMAGE/ FUV 135.6 nm observations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 30, 1534, doi:10.1029/2003GL017140, 2003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sasaki, S., Y. Iijima, K. Tanaka, M. Kato, M. Hashimoto, H. Mizutani, and Y. Takizawa, The SELENE mission: Goals and status, Adv. Space Res., 31, 2335–2340, 2003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sato, N. and T. Saemundsson, Conjugacy of electron auroras, Mem. Natl. Inst. Polar Res., Special Issue, 48, 58–71, 1987.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shiokawa, K., Y. Katoh, M. Satoh, M. K. Ejiri, T. Ogawa, T. Nakamura, T. Tsuda, and R. H. Wiens, Development of optical mesosphere thermosphere imagers (OMTI), Earth Planets Space, 51, 887–896, 1999.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stenbaek-Nielsen, H. C., T. N. Davis, and N. W. Glass, Relative motion of auroral conjugate points during substroms, J. Geophys. Res., 77, 1844–1858, 1972.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Taylor, M. J. and M. A. Hapgood, On the origin of ripple-type structure in the OH nightglow emission, Planet. Space Sci., 38, 1421–1430, 1990.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Torr, M. R., D. G. Torr, M. Zukic, R. B. Johnson, J. Ajello, P. Banks, K. Clark, K. Cole, C. Keffer, G. Parks, B. Tsurutani, and J. Spann, A far ultraviolet imager for the international solar-terrestrial physics mission, Space Sci. Rev., 71, 329–383, 1995.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yoshikawa, I., A. Yamazaki, G. Murakami, K. Yoshioka, S. Kameda, F. Ezawa, T. Toyota, W. Miyake, M. Taguchi, M. Kikuchi, and M. Nakamura, Telescope of extreme ultraviolet (TEX) onboard SELENE: science from the Moon, Earth Planets Space, 60, 407–416, 2008.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to M. Taguchi.

Rights and permissions

Open Access  This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.

The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

To view a copy of this licence, visit

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

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).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words