The purpose of this handbook is to give LASCO investigators from outside the immediate experiment groups a background on the LASCO instrument and operations. It gathers together in one place information that a scientist would need to know in order to intelligently plan a data analysis project. It is not a comprehensive reference book, and the reader can expect further questions to arise while working on any individual project. An immense amount of information about LASCO exists in formal documents, informal memos and notebooks, and in undocumented human memories. This handbook is not meant to be an archival repository, but tries to draw a balance between level of detail, and accessability to nonspecialist scientific readers. A modest attempt has been made to make each chapter self-contained, by a certain amount of limited repetition, so that they can be read individually for background on a particular topic.

The plan of this handbook is the following: Chapters 1-2 discuss the collaborative efforts which produced LASCO, and the scientific goals of the experiment; Chapters 3-9 describe the hardware comprising LASCO; and Chapters 10-13 cover instrument operations, over which the investigator can have some control. The final chapter alerts the reader to another source for information on LASCO and the SOHO mission in general: the MOSAIC browser on the INTERNET. The LASCO home page on the World Wide Web directs the user to constantly expanded and updated material, and puts all potential LASCO investigators on a more equal basis as regards timely information. Instructions for using this resource are given in Chapter 14.

This version was completed in November 1994. At this time the launch of SOHO is officially scheduled for September 1995, and LASCO has been delivered to the ESA spacecraft contractor for integration, after full testing at Goddard Space Flight Center and the Naval Research Laboratory.

This document was prepared by John Cook, with extensive, greatly appreciated help from Russ Howard. Written contributions and corrections were also provided by Marty Koomen, Clarence Korendyke, Don Michels, Allen Oliver, and Dennis Socker.

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