85th AMS Annual Meeting

Tuesday, 11 January 2005: 1:45 PM
The STEREO Mission: a new approach to space weather
Michael L. Kaiser, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD
Poster PDF (39.1 kB)
With the launch of the twin STEREO spacecraft in February 2006, a new capability will exist for both real-time space weather predictions and for advances in space weather research. Whereas previous spacecraft monitors of the sun such as ACE and SOHO have been essentially on the sun-Earth line, the STEREO spacecraft will be in 1 AU orbits around the sun on either side of Earth and will be viewing the solar activity from distinctly different vantage points. As seen from the sun, the two spacecraft will separate at a rate of 45 degrees per year, with Earth bisecting the angle. The instrument complement on the two spacecraft will consist of a package of optical instruments capable of imaging the sun in the visible and ultraviolet from essentially the surface to 1 AU and beyond, a radio burst receiver capable of tracking solar eruptive events from an altitude of 2-3 RS to 1 AU, and a comprehensive set of fields and particles instruments capable of measuring in situ solar events such as interplanetary magnetic clouds. In addition to normal daily recorded data transmissions, each spacecraft is equipped with a real-time beacon that will provide 1 to 5 minute snapshots or averages of the data from the various instruments. This beacon data will be received by NOAA and NASA tracking stations and then relayed to the STEREO Science Center located at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland where the data will be processed and made available within a goal of 5 minutes of receipt on the ground. With STEREO’s instrumentation and unique view geometry, we believe considerable improvement can be made in space weather prediction capability as well as improved understanding of the three dimensional structure of solar transient events.

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