Proc. SPIE 4498, 84−90, 2001
UV/EUV and Visible Space Instrumentation for Astronomy and Solar Physics, O.H.W. Siegmund, S. Fineschi, M.A. Gummin (eds.)
© SPIE − The International Society for Optical Engineering.

Solar Mass Ejection Imager (SMEI) space experiment

R.R. Radick
Air Force Research Laboratory, National Solar Observatory, Sunspot, NM


The Solar Mass Ejection Imager (SMEI) is a proof-of-concept space experiment designed to observe solar coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and forecast their arrival at Earth. SMEI will image CMEs by sensing sunlight scattered from the free electrons in these ejecta (i.e., Thomson scattering). SMEI will be launched by a Titan II rocket into a circular, 830-km, sun-synchronous orbit in mid-2002 as part of the Space Test Program's CORIOLIS mission. SMEI will image nearly the entire sky once per spacecraft orbit over a mission lifetime of three years. Successful operation of SMEI will represent a major step in improving space weather forecasts by providing one- to three-day predictions of geomagnetic storms at the Earth. The SMEI experiment is being desinged and constructed by a team of scientists and engineers from the Air Force Research Laboratory, the University of Birmingham (UB) in the United Kingdom, the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), and Boston University. The Air Force, NASA, and UB are providing financial support.