News & CommentSolar Physics

Ulysses Laps Sun, Inspires New Missions

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Science  01 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5364, pp. 668
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5364.668

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Last month the European-built Ulysses spacecraft finished its first complete orbit of the sun, a 7-year reconnaissance of particles and magnetic fields high over the sun's north and south poles. Now researchers are hoping to extend Ulysses's operations into a second orbit, and they are proposing a flotilla of other missions, including one probe that would venture to within two solar diameters of the sun's surface. All are aimed at observing peaks in the 11-year cycle of solar activity, the next of which is due early next century.