Offering a new view of the solar wind

February 7, 2015 8:44 PM

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Offering a new view of the solar wind

There's a fascinating spot some 932,000 miles away from Earth where the gravity between the sun and Earth is perfectly balanced. This spot captures the attention of orbital engineers because a satellite can orbit this spot, called Lagrange 1 just as they can orbit a planet. But the spot tantalizes scientists as well: Lagrange 1 lies outside Earth's magnetic environment, a perfect place to measure the constant stream of particles from the sun, known as the solar wind, as they pass by.

In early February, the United States Air Force will launch a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite called Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR, into orbit around this spot. NOAA will use DSCOVR to monitor the solar wind and forecast space weather at Earth—effects from...

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