Investigation of the composition of solar and interstellar matter using solar wind and pickup ion measurements with SWICS and SWIMS on the ACE spacecraft
The Solar Wind Ion Composition Spectrometer (SWICS) and the Solar Wind Ions Mass Spectrometer (SWIMS) on ACE are instruments optimized for measurements of the chemical and isotopic composition of solar and interstellar matter. SWICS determines uniquely the chemical and ionic-charge composition of the solar wind, the thermal and mean speeds of all major solar wind ions from H through Fe at all solar wind speeds above 300 km s-1 (protons) and 170 km s-1 (Fe+16), and resolves H and He isotopes of both solar and interstellar sources. SWICS will measure the distribution functions of both the interstellar cloud and dust cloud pickup ions up to energies of 100 keV e-1. SWIMS will measure the chemical, isotopic and charge state composition of the solar wind for every element between He and Ni. Each of the two instruments uses electrostatic analysis followed by a time-of-flight and, as required, an energy measurement. The observations made with SWICS and SWIMS will make valuable contributions to the ISTP objectives by providing information regarding the composition and energy distribution of matter entering the magnetosphere. In addition, SWICS and SWIMS results will have an impact on many areas of solar and heliospheric physics, in particular providing important and unique information on: (i) conditions and processes in the region of the corona where the solar wind is accelerated; (ii) the location of the source regions of the solar wind in the corona; (iii) coronal heating processes; (iv) the extent and causes of variations in the composition of the solar atmosphere; (v) plasma processes in the solar wind; (vi) the acceleration of particles in the solar wind; (vii) the physics of the pickup process of interstellar He in the solar wind; and (viii) the spatial distribution and characteristics of sources of neutral matter in the inner heliosphere.