The prototype: SCORE

SCORE, prototype of Metis, was successfully launched in a suborbital flight in 2009 from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico (US). SCORE was part of HERSCHEL — HElium Resonant Scattering in the Corona and HELiosphere — a program approved by NASA and led by Dan Moses, at that time at the Naval Research Laboratory (US).

SCORE coronagraph integrated in the HERSCHEL payload in the laboratory at NRL, US

SCORE/­HERSCHEL on the rocket at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, 2009

SCORE is the first multi-band coronagraph, capable of obtaining simultaneous coronal images in polarized visible light, in the UV H I Lyman-α at 121.6 nm and in the extreme UV He II Lyman-α at 30.4 nm. The 2009 flight, in addition to test the concept of multi-band coronagraph, has allowed us to obtain the first images in helium emission of the outer corona. Thus it has been possible to measure for the first time the global abundance of coronal helium – helium is the second most abundant element in the solar atmosphere and in the heliosphere. Additional information and results can be found in Moses, Antonucci, Newmark, et al. 2020, "Global helium abundance measurements in the solar corona", Nature Astronomy.

First coronal images in helium emission (raw data obtained just after launch). The solar disk and inner corona images (orange) are obtained with the HERSCHEL instruments HEIT and HECOR, respectively. The outer corona images (grey), due to neutral hydrogen emission (left panel) and to the helium emission (right panel) are obtained with SCORE

The SCORE coronagraph has been designed and implemented by the Astrophysical Observatory of Torino (INAF) and by the University of Firenze. The scientists involved in the SCORE realization are Silvano Fineschi (INAF-OATO), Marco Romoli (Univ. of Firenze), with the collaboration of Gerardo Capobianco (INAF-OATO), Mauro Focardi (Univ. of Firenze), Federico Landini (Univ. of Firenze), Giuseppe Massone (INAF-OATO), Maurizio Pancrazzi (Univ. of Firenze), and Guglielmo Rossi (Univ. of Firenze). SCORE data have been analyzed by Lucia Abbo e Daniele Telloni (INAF-OATO). Principal Investigator of the first SCORE flight has been Ester Antonucci (INAF-OATO).