The WHISPER sounder on the Cluster spacecraft is primarily designed to provide an absolute measurement of the total plasma density within the range 0.2-80 cm(-3). This is achieved by means of a resonance sounding technique which has already proved successful in the regions to be explored. The wave analysis function of the instrument is provided by FFT calculation. Compared with the swept frequency wave analysis of previous sounders, this technique has several new capabilities. In particular, when used for natural wave measurements (which cover here the 2-80 kHz range), it offers a flexible trade-off between time and frequency resolutions. In the basic nominal operational mode, the density is measured every 28 s, the frequency and time resolution for the wave measurements are about 600 Hz and 2.2 s, respectively. Better resolutions can be obtained, especially when the spacecraft telemetry is in burst mode. Special attention has been paid to the coordination of WHISPER operations with the wave instruments, as well as with the low-energy particle counters. When operated from the multi-spacecraft Cluster, the WHISPER instrument is expected to contribute in particular to the study of plasma waves in the electron foreshock and solar wind, to investigations about small-scale structures via density and high-frequency emission signatures, and to the analysis of the non-thermal continuum in the magnetosphere.
|Journal||Space Science Reviews|
|Publication status||Published - 1997|