Space Environment Laboratory Annual Report FY 1986
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Space Environment Laboratory Annual Report FY 1986

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    SEL accomplishments in 1986 are described in this Annual Report. They include these highlights: • The new SEL Data Acquisition and Display System (SELDADS II) became operational in May 1986 and will replace SELDADS I at the beginning of FY 1987. • The new color graphics workstation system, which provides for the quantitative interpretation of images acquired through the SEL Solar Imaging System (SELSIS), is being integrated into SESC operation. • Considerable progress was made in obtaining interagency support for the installation of a Solar X-Ray Imager on the GOES-I through GOES-M satellites. When it flies in the 1990s, this new sensor will provide a major increase in our operational knowledge of the structure and potential activity of the Sun. • Research within the Laboratory, based on operational measurements of the energy deposited in the upper atmosphere by charged particles at high latitudes, has resulted in a new picture of the way atmospheric density responds to solar activity at heights of 120 km and greater. This is expected to have significant value for predicting atmospheric drag effects on spacecraft and improving our general understanding of upper atmospheric circulation. • A workshop on “Solar Events and Their Influence on the Interplanetary Medium” was held in September 1986. The workshop was organized by SEL and funded by NASA. It was successful in fostering interactions among workers in this field that should lead to improved understanding which can be applied to the SEL service. • Work on a knowledge-based expert system for predicting solar flares on the basis of sunspot classification continued in collaboration with the Psychology and Computer Science Departments of the University of Colorado. The system has been integrated with a historical data base and has proved useful for forecaster training and experimental operational use. In an extended form, using more data, it is expected to be useful as an operational solar forecaster’s assistant. • The management of SEL has been modified to emphasize the interdivisional projects that have specific service-related objectives and to de-emphasize the divisional boundaries. Specific responsibilities have also been assigned within the Research Division for scientific oversight of the operational sensor systems to assure the reliability of the data. • During May, the Laboratory programs were reviewed by ERL, OAR, and by a panel of outside experts in the solar-terrestrial field including representatives of major users of SESC services in DoD and NASA. This review was part of the normal series of reviews of the Laboratories, which are held at 2 or 3 year intervals. In their reports, the reviewers generally praised the Laboratory work, particularly considering the limited resources available to cover so large a field.
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