Observatoire de Paris
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Handling of the satellite, positioning of the satellite twice a year. To observe, it must be in the shade of the Sun.
Crédit : Paris Observatory / UFE

The parts of the sky which can be observed must be distant from the Sun, from the Earth and even from the moon. The sight direction must not be occulted by the Earth :

  • Therefore we must observe in a direction very close to the perpendicular plane, and to the orbital plane.

In order for the satellite to be in the shade of the Sun, and because the Earth moves around the Sun in the course of one year, the satellite is turned every six months and we observe in two opposite directions.

  • Thus we observe in the direction of the galactic plane in summer, and in the direction of the anti-center in winter.

To maintain maximum efficiency, the solar plates must be adjusted to the direction of the Sun appropriately every 10 days.