Earth Has a New, Orbiting Disco Ball!
Earth has some new orbiters, and while one of them is vexing many scientists, another will help us learn more about our atmosphere.
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Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk
This is a visualization of the Equatorial Fountain process in the ionosphere, whereby ions are driven away from the equator forming ion density enhancements above and below the equator. This visualization is depicted near 50 degrees west longitude, where the magnetic equator crosses the geographic equator. Magnetic field lines near Earth are represented by the gold lines. Particles appear in a blue-white flash, representing the point where atoms are ionized, becoming positively charged and releasing an electron. Now these charged particles can 'feel' the near-Earth electric and magnetic fields. Their motion becomes a combination of circular gyromotion due to the magnetic field and E-cross-B drift. At higher altitudes, the electric field is weaker, reducing the vertical motion, and the ion motion becomes dominated by the magnetic field and gravity, allowing the ion to 'slide' down the magnetic field line back to Earth. At lower altitudes, the ions combine with free electrons in a process called recombination, represented by a red flash and fading of the particle trail. A slice of data from the IRI (International Reference Ionosphere) model represents the density of singly-ionized oxygen atoms is faded-in to compare to the particle motion. Red represents high ion density, green represents low ion density. The camera finally pulls out from Earth, providing an overview of the enhanced ion density (red) above and below the magnetic equator on the dayside of Earth. This enhancement was discovered by Edward Appleton in 1946. The Fountain effect is just one of the many of complex processes which occur in the layer of thinning atmosphere that forms Earth's interface to the space environment.
Arianespace Flight VA241 Ariane 5 NASA's GOLD update: Successfully In Orbit After Anomaly
Update from Arianespace Jan 26, 2018: Both satellites were confirmed separated, acquired and they are on orbit. SES-14 and Al Yah 3 are communicating with their respective control centers. Both missions are continuing.
On Jan. 26, Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël confirms the loss of Flight VA241, an Ariane 5 rocket carrying the satellites SES-14, an all-electric satellite built by Airbus Defense and Space hosting the NASA GOLD (Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk) instrument. Al Yah 3 (اليا3) United Arab Emirates operator Yahsat (Al Yah Satellite Communications Company).
Learn more at https://goo.gl/KzVCP5
GOLD Mission Launches to Study Near-Space Environment
On Jan. 25, NASA’s Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk, or GOLD mission, launched from French Guiana. GOLD is an instrument launching on a commercial satellite to inspect, from geostationary orbit, the dynamic intermingling of space and Earth’s uppermost atmosphere. GOLD will seek to understand what drives change in this region where terrestrial weather in the lower atmosphere interacts with the tumult of solar activity from above and Earth’s magnetic field. Resulting data will improve forecasting models of space weather events that can impact life on Earth, as well as satellites and astronauts in space.
This video is available for download from NASA's Image and Video Library: https://images.nasa.gov/details-NHQ_2018_0125_NASA%20Launches%20GOLD%20Mission.html
Ariane 5 Flight VA241 LAUNCH With SES-14 / Al Yah 3/ Nasa Gold Satellite
For its first launch of 2018, Arianespace used an Ariane 5 from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana to launch the SES-14 and Al Yah 3 satellites for operators SES and Yahsat (Al Yah Satellite Communications Company). SES-14 also hosts a payload for NASA’s Explorer program: GOLD (Global-Scale Observation of the Limb and Disk).
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Going for GOLD: Exploring the Interface to Space
GOLD is a new NASA science mission that launches in January 2018 to explore Earth’s interface to space!
GOLD stands for Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk. It will inspect the dynamic region of near-Earth space where space and Earth’s uppermost atmosphere meet. Historically difficult to observe, this is a little understood region that responds both to the lower atmosphere below and the tumult of space weather from above.
GOLD is a hosted instrument roughly the size of a mini-fridge that will fly aboard a commercial communications satellite, SES-14 — and it’s the first NASA science mission to do so.
Joining us are NASA scientists Sarah Jones and Alex Young and SES director of hosted payloads, Todd Gossett. They will share details of GOLD’s mission and why they’re excited about this particular launch. Learn more: https://www.nasa.gov/gold
Instrument Scanning Coverage
A basic view of the orbit for GOLD (Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk). This mission will conduct measurements of ionospheric composition and ionization better understand the connection between space weather and its terrestrial impacts.
In this visualization, we present GOLD in geostationary orbit around Earth. The colors over Earth represent model data from the IRI (International Reference Ionosphere) model of the density of the singly-ionized oxygen atom at an altitude of 350 kilometers. Red represents high density. The ion density is enhanced above and below the geomagnetic equator (not perfectly aligned with the geographic equator) on the dayside due to the ionizing effects of solar ultraviolet radiation combined with the effects of high-altitude winds and the geomagnetic field.
In the latter half of the visualization, the viewing fields of the GOLD instrument are displayed. GOLD has an imaging spectrometer (green) that periodically scans the disk of Earth with additional higher-resolution scans of the dayside limb.
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio.
Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk
The Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk, or GOLD, instrument launches aboard a commercial communications satellite in January 2018 to inspect the dynamic intermingling of space and Earth’s uppermost atmosphere. Together, GOLD and another NASA mission, Ionospheric Connection Explorer spacecraft, or ICON, will provide the most comprehensive of Earth’s upper atmosphere we’ve ever had. Above the ozone layer, the ionosphere is a part of Earth’s atmosphere where particles have been cooked into a sea of electrically-charged electrons and ions by the Sun’s radiation. The ionosphere is co-mingled with the very highest — and quite thin — layers of Earth’s neutral upper atmosphere, making this region an area that is constantly in flux undergoing the push-and-pull between Earth’s conditions and those in space. Increasingly, these layers of near-Earth space are part of the human domain, as it’s home not only to astronauts, but to radio signals used to guide airplanes and ships, and satellites that provide our communications and GPS systems. Understanding the fundamental processes that govern our upper atmosphere and ionosphere is crucial to improve situational awareness that helps protect astronauts, spacecraft and humans on the ground. GOLD, in geostationary orbit over the Western Hemisphere, will build up a full-disk view of the ionosphere and upper atmosphere every half hour, providing detailed large-scale measurements of related processes — a cadence which makes it the first mission to be able to monitor the true weather of the upper atmosphere. GOLD is also able to focus in on a tighter region and scan more quickly, to complement additional research plans as needed.
ICON and GOLD: Instrument Scanning Coverage
A basic view of the orbits for ICON (Ionospheric Connections Explorer) and GOLD (Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk). These missions will conduct measurements of ionospheric composition, ionization, and winds to better understand the connection between space weather and its terrestrial impacts.
In this visualization, we present GOLD (in geostationary orbit around Earth) and ICON (in low Earth orbit). The colors over Earth represent model data from the IRI (International Reference Ionosphere) model of the density of the singly-ionized oxygen atom at an altitude of 350 kilometers. Red represents high density. The ion density is enhanced above and below the geomagnetic equator (not perfectly aligned with the geographic equator) on the dayside due to the ionizing effects of solar ultraviolet radiation combined with the effects of high-altitude winds and the geomagnetic field.
In the latter half of the visualization, the viewing fields of the various instruments are displayed. ICON has an EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet) and FUV (Far Ultraviolet) cameras (violet colored frustrums directed from spacecraft) pointing perpendicular to the orbit direction for detecting ionospheric emissions. Two Doppler interferometer cameras (blue) are directed at 45 degrees from this camera to detect ionospheric wind velocities.
GOLD has an imaging spectrometer (green) that periodically scans the disk of Earth with additional higher-resolution scans of the dayside limb.
Credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio
Tom Bridgman (GST): Lead Visualizer
Jeff Klenzing: Lead Scientist
Sarah L. Jones (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Scott England (Space Sciences Laboratory, UC Berkeley): Scientist
Sarah Frazier (ADNET SYSTEMS): Writer
Genna Duberstein (USRA): Lead Producer
Laurence Schuler (ADNET Systems, Inc.): Technical Support
Ian Jones (ADNET Systems, Inc.): Technical Support
This video is public domain and may be downloaded at:
Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) (Richard Eastes)
Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD), Principal Investigator Richard Eastes, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla. GOLD will increase our understanding of the temperature and composition in the ionosphere; and provide understanding of the global scale response of the Earth's thermosphere and ionosphere.
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