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Energetic Solar Protons and Electrons - Data from GOES Satellites
The Space Environment Monitor (SEM) instrument package on-board all GOES satellites has provided magnetometer, energetic particle, and soft X-ray data continuously since July 1974. Usually two GOES satellites operate at the same time in the Earth’s equatorial plane. They travel in geosynchronous orbit (6.6 Earth radii) and are generally located at 75 and 135 degrees west longitude. This trajectory allows the detectors an unobstructed view of the sun for all but the few hours per year, around equinox and near midnight, when the Earth eclipses the sun. Higher resolution values for allthree sensors are averaged for each 5.0 minutes, which permits one month of data from one satellite to be stored on a single high density, IBM compatible, diskette (5.25" or 3.5"). Solid state detectors with pulse height discrimination measure protons from 0.8 to 500 MeV, alpha particles from 4.0 to 392 MeV,and electrons with kinetic energies greater than or equal to 2.0 MeV. Because charged particles in these energy ranges, accelerated in solar flares, can reach the vicinity of Earth in large numbers,they pose a hazard to satellites, manned space flight and to high-altitude aircraft. They also significantly affect the high-latitude ionosphere and may cause magnetic storms. See Entry_ID = G00036 for digital data.