NOAA / POES Space Environment Monitor
NOAA's Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites (POES) carry a suite of instruments that measure the flux of energetic ions and electrons at the altitude of the satellite. This environment varies as a result of solar and geomagnetic activity. Beginning with the NOAA-15 satellite, an upgraded version of the Space Environment Monitor (SEM-2) has been flown.
Because the SEM-2 instruments differ significantly from the earlier SEM-1, there has been a complete revision to the data processing and archiving process. A number of improvements have also been included. Among these are incorporating up-to-date satellite orbit information and magnetic field models in the calculation of various magnetic coordinates, and improved data quality control.
The Total Energy Detector (TED) is designed to measure the energy flux carried by auroral particles, both positively charged ions (assumed here to be protons) and electrons, into the polar atmosphere. The magnitude and spatial extent of this energy flux are good measures of both the level of auroral activity and the atmospheric response to that energy input.
The Medium Energy Proton and Electron Detector (MEPED) includes a set of solid-state energetic particle detectors that monitor the intensities of protons and electrons over a range extending from 30 keV to more than 200 MeV. Particles having those energies include the radiation belt populations, solar particle events, and the lower energy galactic cosmic rays. Enhanced fluxes of these particles entering the atmosphere can produce significant and widespread degradation in short-wave radio propagation; in extreme cases even radio blackouts. The energetic particles also contribute to astronaut radiation exposure, especially on high inclination orbit missions during energetic solar particle events.