SPACE WEATHER IMAGER REACHES 8-YEAR ANNIVERSARY

October 2011 marks the 8th anniversary of the Coriolis satellite that carries the AFRL’s Solar Mass Ejection Imager, or SMEI. SMEI has successfully detected and tracked 360 coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and shown the practicality of forecasting effects at Earth of these hazardous space weather phenomena. Since 2003, SMEI cameras have captured nearly full sky images of great sensitivity every 103 minutes; there is no other celestial record of this length, field of view, continuity, sensitivity and cadence. SMEI has collected unprecedented data in many areas of heliospheric observations including CME-comet tail interactions, zodiacal background variation through the solar cycle, discovery of high altitude auroras, and resident space object observations. SMEI data have also produced light curves for variable stars and novae with unparalleled time resolution.

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