The new Space Environment In‐Situ Suite (SEISS) instrument onboard NOAA’s GOES-16 is working and successfully sending data back to Earth! This plot shows how fluxes of charged particles increased over a few minutes around the satellite on January 19, 2017. These particles are often associated with brilliant displays of aurora borealis at northern latitudes and australis at southern latitudes; however, they can pose a radiation hazard to astronauts and other satellites, and threaten radio communications. Information from SEISS will help NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center provide early warning of these high flux events, so astronauts, satellite operators and others can take action to protect lives and equipment. This SEISS data shows injections of protons and electrons observed by the Magnetospheric Particle Sensors MPS-HI and Solar and Galactic Proton Sensor (SGPS) on January 19, 2017. MPS-HI and SGPS are two of the individual sensor units on SEISS. The fluxes shown are from the MPS-HI telescopes that look radially outward from the Earth, and from the lowest-energy channel observed by the eastward-looking SGPS.
SEISS is composed of five energetic particle sensor units. The SEISS sensors have been collecting data continuously since January 8, 2017, with an amplitude, energy and time resolution that is greater than earlier generations of NOAA’s geostationary satellites.
Solar flares are huge eruptions of energy on the sun and often produce clouds of plasma traveling more than a million miles an hour. When these clouds reach Earth they can cause radio communications blackouts, disruptions to electric power grids, errors in GPS navigation, and hazards to satellites and astronauts. The Extreme Ultraviolet and X-Ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS) instrument on NOAA’s GOES-16, built by the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder, Colorado, measures solar flares at several wavelengths and improves upon current capabilities by capturing larger flares, measuring the location of the flares on the sun, and measuring flares in more wavelengths. The GOES-16 EXIS will provide forecasters at the NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center with early indications of impending space weather storms so they can issue alerts, watches and warnings.
The figure shows an example of EXIS observations at two different wavelengths of a flare that peaked at 11:05 UTC [6:05 a.m. EST] on January 21, 2017. This is a relatively small flare, yet the brightness of the sun in soft ( (lower energy) X-rays increased by a factor of 16. EXIS will give NOAA and space weather forecasters the first indication that a flare is occurring on the sun, as well as the strength of the flare, how long it lasts, the location of the flare on the sun, and the potential for impacts here at Earth.
NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite, formerly known as GOES-R, has sent its first, high-resolution images, and now people around the world can see what this revolutionary satellite sees. The first images usher in a new era of Earth and space weather observation for the U.S. View images and animations from GOES-16’s new Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) instrument, showing the complete full disk of the Western Hemisphere and the continental United States in all 16 channels of the ABI instrument. Learn more about GOES-16 and its first imagery via the NOAA Satellites press release.
The GOES-R Quarterly Newsletter for the time period October-December 2016 is now available. The future of weather forecasting is here! After years of research, development and integration, GOES-R (now GOES-16) successfully launched on November 19, 2016, made it to geostationary orbit, and is sending back data! View the 4Q 2016 newsletter, which highlights the road to launch, launch and post-launch activities.
On December 22, 2016, the GOES-16 Magnetometer (MAG) became the first instrument on the satellite to begin transmitting data! Earth’s geomagnetic field acts as a shield, protecting us from hazardous incoming solar radiation. Geomagnetic storms, caused by eruptions on the surface of the sun, can interfere with communications and navigation systems, cause damage to satellites, cause health risks to astronauts, and threaten power utilities. When a solar flare occurs, GOES-16 will tell space weather forecasters where it happened on the sun and how strong it was. Using that information, forecasters can determine if the explosion of energy is coming toward Earth or not. The GOES-16 MAG samples five times faster than previous GOES magnetometers, which increases the range of space weather phenomena that can be measured. This plot shows preliminary data from the outboard Magnetometer instrument on board the GOES-16 satellite observed December 22, 2016.