Tuesday, 25 January 2011: 3:45 PM
4C-3 (Washington State Convention Center)
Operational space weather forecasting will be achieved when spatially and temporally continuous observations of the entire Sun-to-Earth domain become available. To evolve from specification and nowcasting to operational forecasting, the observational domain must be extended beyond the ionosphere and low-Earth orbit to include the entire geospace system and the heliospheric regions where the main drivers of space weather events originate. While this seems like an intractable technical challenge given the volume of space involved, recent advances in heliospheric imaging have demonstrated groundbreaking capabilities in tracking structures in the solar wind from the solar corona to the vicinity of the Earth. The NASA Solar-Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) Heliospheric Imager (HI) observations of co-rotating interaction regions (CIR) and coronal mass ejections (CME) have provided great insight to how these structures propagate out through interplanetary space and to their potential impacts on the near-Earth space environment. To complete a seamless system for Sun-to-Earth imaging we investigate an adaptation of the white-light, Thomson scattering imaging technique used for solar and heliospheric observations to directly image the Earth's magnetosphere for the first time. This investigation demonstrates how heliospheric and magnetospheric imaging could be used as the backbone of an operational space weather forecasting system.
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