AIP Conference Proceedings 382, 536−539, 1996
Solar Wind Eight
D. Winterhalter, J.T. Gosling, S.R. Habbal, W.S. Kurth and M. Neugebauer (eds.)
© American Institute of Physics

The Solar Mass Ejection Imager

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

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

R.C. Altrock
Phillips Laboratory/GPSS, National Solar Observatory/Sacramento Peak, Sunspot, NM, USA

R.E. Gold
Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, USA

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


We are designing a Solar Mass Ejection Imager (SMEI) capable of observing Thomson-scattered signals from transient density features in the heliosphere from a spacecraft situated near 1 AU. The imager is designed to trace these features, which include coronal mass ejections, corotating structures and shock waves, to elongations greater than 90° from the Sun. The instrument may be regarded as a progeny of the heliospheric imaging capability shown possible by the zodiacal light photometers of the HELIOS spacecraft. The instrument we are designing would make more effective use of in situ solar wind data from spacecraft in the vicinity of the imager by extending their observations to the surrounding environment. An imager in Earth orbit could allow up to three days warning of the arrival of a mass ejection from the Sun.