Artist’s view of the SMOS satellite in orbit
Artist’s view of the SMOS satellite in orbit. The three arms below the satellite carry antennae that make passive radio observations of Earth’s surface, and that can also observe the Sun during part of each orbit. As SMOS has a Sun-synchronous orbit, it has the potential to monitor solar radio bursts without interruption by long periods of night. Credit: ESA - P. Carril
Source: Space Weather

Flores‐Soriano et al. [2021] provide a wonderful example of the old adage that noise in an instrument used by one group of scientists is a signal that other scientists can exploit. This is an important issue for space weather because many space weather phenomena can interfere with instrument sensors designed for other purposes. For example, solar radio bursts can interfere with radio receivers, as discussed in this manuscript, whilst another modern example is suprathermal protons in near-Earth space adding noise to sensors on X-ray astronomy missions.

In this manuscript the authors show how radio frequency (1.4 GHz) observations from ESA’s Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission can also be used to monitor solar radio bursts on a 24/7 basis (as SMOS is in a Sun-synchronous orbit). The authors explore how to extract data specific to solar radio bursts and apply these for use in space weather studies, for example to characterize CME launches, potentially complementing optical observations of those launches. It is a great example of how we can expand our global set of space weather observations by working with scientists in other disciplines.

Citation: Flores‐Soriano, M., Cid, C., & Crapolicchio, R. [2021]. Validation of the SMOS mission for space weather operations: The potential of near real‐time solar observation at 1.4 GHz. Space Weather, 19, e2020SW002649.

―Michael A. Hapgood, Editor, Space Weather

Text © 2021. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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