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The Solar Mass Ejection Imager (SMEI),
PHILLIPS LAB HANSCOM AFB MA
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The Solar Mass Ejection Imager SMEI experiment is designed to detect and measure transient plasma features in the heliosphere, including coronal mass ejections CMEs, shock waves, and structures such as streamers which corotate with the Sun. SMEI will provide measurements of the propagation of solar plasma clouds and high speed streams which can be used to forecast their arrival at Earth from one to three days in advance. The white light photometers on the HELIOS spacecraft demonstrated that visible sunlight scattered from the free electrons of solar ejecta can be sensed in interplanetary space with an electronic camera baffled to remove stray background light. SMEI promises a hundred fold improvement over the HELIOS data, making possible quantitative studies of mass ejections. SMEI measurements will help predict the rate of energy transfer into the Earths magnetospheric system. By combining SMEI data with solar, interplanetary and terrestrial data from other space and ground based instruments, it will be possible to establish quantitative relationships between solar drivers and terrestrial effects. SMEI consists of three cameras, each imaging a 60 deg x 30 deg field of view for a total image size of 180 deg x 3 deg. As the satellite orbits the earth, repeated images are used to build up a view of the 1 entire heliosphere.
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