The Wide-field Imager for Parker Solar PRobe (WISPR) is the sole imager aboard the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) mission, which launched in August 2018. PSP is a unique mission designed to orbit as close as 7 million km (9.86 solar radii) from Sun center. WISPR employs a 95◦ radial by 58◦ transverse field of view to image the fine-scale structure of the solar corona, derive the 3D structure of the large-scale corona, and determine whether a dust-free zone exists near the Sun. WISPR is the smallest heliospheric imager to date yet it comprises two nested wide-field telescopes with large-format (2 K × 2 K) APS CMOS detectors to optimize the performance for their respective fields of view and to minimize the risk of dust damage, which may be considerable close to the Sun. The WISPR electronics are very flexible allowing the collection of individual images at cadences up to 1 second at perihelion or the summing of multiple images to increase the signal-to-noise when the spacecraft is further from the Sun. The dependency of the Thomson scattering emission of the corona on the imaging geometry dictates that WISPR will be very sensitive to the emission from plasma close to the spacecraft in contrast to the situation for imaging from Earth orbit. WISPR will be the first ‘local’ imager providing a crucial link between the large-scale corona and the in-situ measurements.
As announced this week by NASA, Parker Solar Probe officially "touched the Sun" as passed just 18.8 solar radii (approximately 8.1 million miles) above the solar surface. During this and every passage by the Sun that PSP has taken, NRL's WISPR camera has been observing the solar structures and outflows with its two wide-field white-light imaging instruments. The below animation shows the scene as viewed by WISPR for this ninth encounter, in which you can see vast solar structures passing over the spacecraft as it races through the Sun's outer atmosphere.
Encounter 8 (2021-04-24 - 2021-05-04, with limited additional data 2021-04-14 - 2021-05-15)
Data for Encounter 8 is available (04-24-2021 - 05-04-2021, with limited additional data 04-14-2021 - 05-15-2021). All data can be obtained from the various links provided on our WISPR Data page.
Also, the team apologizes for the recent downtime of the WISPR website. At time of writing, the WISPR database query tool remains unavailable, but all data are easily obtained via the WISPR Data page. Also we will remind users that copies of our data archives can always be obtained via the Virtual Solar Observatory.