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Proceedings Paper

Imaging coronal mass ejections and other heliospheric phenomena: six years of observations and implications for future capabilities
Author(s): Janet C. Johnston; David F. Webb; Donald C. Norquist; Thomas A. Kuchar
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Paper Abstract

January 2009 marked the 6th anniversary of the launch of the Air Force Research Laboratory Solar Mass Ejection Imager (SMEI) instrument on the Coriolis spacecraft. Originally planned as a three year mission, SMEI has amassed an unprecedented dataset of ~25,000 full-sky images since 2003 with a 102-minute cadence, 1° spatial resolution, and better than 8th magnitude sensitivity. SMEI, with its Sun/Earth line views, has been joined by the twin STEREO spacecraft, launched in October 2006, whose heliospheric Imagers (HIs) image along the ecliptic with opposing, off-axis views, 70° in diameter. These two data sets are complementary and several events observed by both SMEI and STEREO are being analyzed. But SMEI is nearing its end of life and the STEREO spacecraft continue to drift apart by 45°/year with decreasing telemetry coverage. What would be the characteristics of the next generation instrument in heliospheric imaging? What would the differences be for an operational instrument vs. a research instrument? What are the advantages of staring vs. composite imaging, views from the Sun/Earth line vs. other views, L1 position vs. low Earth orbit, etc? What are the engineering lessons learned from SMEI and STEREO and the environment through which such an instrument operates? In this presentation we discuss these issues and some possible future mission concepts.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 September 2009
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 7438, Solar Physics and Space Weather Instrumentation III, 74380N (23 September 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.828664
Show Author Affiliations
Janet C. Johnston, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
David F. Webb, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Boston College (United States)
Donald C. Norquist, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Thomas A. Kuchar, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Boston College (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7438:
Solar Physics and Space Weather Instrumentation III
Silvano Fineschi; Judy A. Fennelly, Editor(s)

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