ASP Conference Proceedings 95, 158−165, 1996
Proc. 16th Intl. Workshop National Solar Observatory/Sacramento Peak,
Solar drivers of interplanetary and terrestrial disturbances
16-20 October, 1995, Sunspot, NM, USA
K.S. Balasubramaniam, S.L. Keil and R.N. Smartt (eds.)
© Astronomical Society of the Pacific

The Solar Mass Ejection Imager (SMEI): Development and Use in Space Weather Forecasting

S.L. Keil, R.C. Altrock
Phillips Laboratory/GPSS, Sunspot, NM, USA

S.W. Kahler
Phillips Laboratory/GPSG, Hanscom AFB, MA, USA

B.V. Jackson, A. Buffington, P.L. Hick
Center for Astrophysics and Space Science, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA

G. Simnett, C. Eyles
Space Research Group, Univ. of Birmingham, UK

D.F. Webb
ISR, Boston College, Newton Center, MA, USA

P. Anderson
Boston University, Boston, MA, USA


The Solar Mass Ejection Imager (SMEI) experiment will measure plasma features traversing the heliosphere, including coronal mass ejections (CMEs), shock waves, and structures such as streamers which corotate with the Sun. SMEI will measure propagation characteristics of these features providing one to three day forecasts of their arrival at Earth. The white light photometers on the HELIOS spacecraft demonstrated that electronic cameras, baffled to remove scattered light, can sense visible sunlight scattered from the free electrons of solar ejecta propagating through interplanetary space. SMEI promises a hundred-fold improvement over HELIOS, making possible quantitative studies of mass ejections. SMEI is highly complementary to other satellite missions, the Global Geospace Program (GGS), and the National Space Weather Program. When coordinated with the imaging and in situ experiments on SOHO, TRACE, WIND, ULYSSES, and SXI. SMEI will greatly enhance the GGS program by predicting the rate of energy transfer from transient interplanetary disturbances into the Earth's magnetospheric system being monitored by GGS satellites. The SMEI data will assist researchers in establishing quantitative relationships between solar drivers and terrestrial effects.