Continuity of Solar Observations

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Monday, 5 January 2015
Naaman Michael Simpson, NOAA/NESDIS, Silver Spring, MD; and P. Mulligan, D. Biesecker, S. A. Mango, J. Pereira, and R. Rutledge

NOAA has been providing geomagnetic storm watches and warnings as an important part of its public service. The impacts from geomagnetic storms have been and are increasingly more wide-ranging with potentially significant consequences in several critical areas such as power grid operations, GPS and GNSS operations, aircraft operation, manned spaceflight, and satellite operations. The geomagnetic storm watches and warnings have as their underpinnings solar wind and coronal mass ejections (CME) observations which have been obtained to date from the instruments on aging, research satellite platforms. Solar wind observations from NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), operating at the Earth-Sun L1 quasi-Lagrangian orbit position, have been used by NOAA to provide 15-60 minute geomagnetic storm warnings. CME Imagery from the NASA/ESA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and the NASA Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) satellites have been used by NOAA to issue 1-3 day geomagnetic storm watches. NOAA, NASA, and the US Air Force are working on launching the first operational, solar wind mission in 2015, the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) as an ACE follow-on and near-term bridging mission. DSCOVR will provide the continuity of solar wind observations needed to generate the geomagnetic storm watches. DSCOVR is a near-term bridging mission while NOAA is considering potential follow-on missions. NOAA activities on providing similar bridging and follow-on missions for the CME observations will be described. NOAA is also looking to increase the early detection time for the solar conditions that lead to significant geomagnetic storms. Solar sails for propellant-less propulsion, such as Sunjammer, are being considered by NOAA working with NASA and private industry, to get closer to the Sun than even the L1 quasi-Lagrange orbit of heritage systems at approximately one percent of the distance to the Sun from the Earth. This presentation will also describe some of the improvements, synergy and continuity of the solar and space environment/space weather observations from the instrument complement on the NOAA GOES-R Series of operational, geostationary satellites. GOES-R, the first of the series, scheduled for launch in the 4th quarter of 2016, will have an Extreme Ultraviolet /X-ray Irradiance Sensor package (EXIS), a Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) and a Space Environmental In-Situ Suite (SEISS) to complement the continuity of solar observations from DSCOVR and the aging research satellite systems in orbit.