Viking Ultraviolet Imager (UVI)

Launch: February 22, 1986
Status: Inactive

Viking Ultraviolet Imager (UVI)

Viking Ultraviolet Imager (UVI)

Sweden's Viking (pronounced VEE-king) satellite was launched into orbit on February 22, 1986 with a payload designed to make detailed measurements of energy processes in the auroral region.

A Canadian instrument, called the Ultraviolet Imager (UVI) comprised part of that payload. It provided Canadian scientists with their first photographs of the entire aurora region. The images, used in conjunction with Canada's ground-based CANOPUS network, were studied and used to determine the behaviour of the auroral oval, polar arcs, and magnetic substorms.

The UVI instrument, designed and built by CAL Corp. of Ottawa, consisted of a pair of small telescopes used to image ultra-violet auroral.

The UVI instrument, designed and built by CAL Corp. of Ottawa consisted of a pair of small telescopes used to image ultra-violet auroral emissions generated by molecular nitrogen and atomic oxygen. The novel camera system was able to take pictures at a rate of three a minute - thirty times faster than an earlier American imager. And since it measured ultra-violet rays rather than the visible-light spectrum, UVI was able to take photographs both day and night.

The UVI imager provided continuous data to a receiving station in Esrange near Kiruna, Sweden until the completion of the Viking mission on January 28, 1987.

Canada's international UVI scientific team was led by Dr. C.D. Anger of the University of Calgary. The team represented, among others, over 20 scientists from Canadian universities and various government agencies.