Intercomparison of the LASCO-C2, SECCHI-COR1, SECCHI-COR2, and Mk4 Coronagraphs
In order to assess the reliability and consistency of white-light coronagraph measurements, we report on quantitative comparisons between polarized brightness [pB] and total brightness [B] images taken by the following white-light coronagraphs: LASCO-C2 on SOHO, SECCHI-COR1 and -COR2 on STEREO, and the ground-based MLSO-Mk4. The data for this comparison were taken on 16 April 2007, when both STEREO spacecraft were within 3.1∘ of Earth’s heliographic longitude, affording essentially the same view of the Sun for all of the instruments. Due to the difficulties of estimating stray-light backgrounds in COR1 and COR2, only Mk4 and C2 produce reliable coronal-hole values (but not at overlapping heights), and these cannot be validated without rocket flights or ground-based eclipse measurements. Generally, the agreement between all of the instruments’ pB values is within the uncertainties in bright streamer structures, implying that measurements of bright CMEs also should be trustworthy. Dominant sources of uncertainty and stray light are discussed, as is the design of future coronagraphs from the perspective of the experiences with these instruments.