Related Links

For more information contact:

Nancy Neal
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-2369)

Cynthia O'Carroll
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
(Phone: 301/614-5563)

Patricia Viets
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, Suitland, Md.
(Phone: 301/457-5005)

The images taken by the SXI will be available in real time to the public via the Internet through NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center website.

SXI imagery




Viewable Images

Caption for Image1: THE VIEW FROM SXI

GOES has watched the Sun since 1974, but this is the first imaging instrument onboard. SXI will provide 24/7 coverage of the Sun with an image sent down to Earth every minute. Credit: NASA / NOAA

High resolution of Image 1 (14 MB)

Caption for Image 2: GOES-12 SPACECRAFT

Launched July 23, 2001, GOES 12 was put into standby orbit until last week. Credit: NASA / NOAA


Tracking space weather is big business - solar storms can impact billions of dollars worth of assets. Here, flares observed by the SOHO spacecraft during solar minimum and maximum. Credit: NASA / ESA

High resolution of Image 3

Caption for Images 4-6: GOES IN KSC CLEANROOM

Credit: NASA

Story Archives

The Top Story Archive listing can be found by clicking on this link.

All stories found on a Top Story page or the front page of this site have been archived from most to least current on this page.

For a list of recent press releases, click here.

January 30, 2003 - (date of web publication)



SXI view of the Sun

Image 1

Click here for animation - 1.8 MB

The nation's newest environmental satellite, GOES-12, is being readied for operations, NASA and the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today.

GOES-12 is equipped with an advanced instrument for real-time solar forecasting. The Solar X-ray Imager (SXI) aboard the satellite will enable forecasters and scientists to detect solar storms that could impact billions of dollars worth of assets.

"I want to offer my congratulations to the SXI partners on their significant achievements," said Dr. Richard Fisher, Director of the Sun Earth Connection Division at NASA Headquarters. "I view the initiation of the new SXI serivce as a victory for the national scientific research program. Yesterday's research mysteries have become the subjet of today's report on space weather conditions," he said


GOES-M spacecraft

Image 2

Click here for GOES animation sequence

The instrument will take a full-disk image of the sun's atmosphere once every minute. NOAA and the U.S. Air Force will use the images to monitor and forecast the sources of space weather disturbances from the sun. The images will enable forecasters to predict disturbances to Earth's space environment that can destroy satellite electronics, disrupt long-distance radio communications or surge power grids.

The ability to monitor and forecast solar disturbances is valuable to operators of military and civilian radio and satellite communications systems, navigation systems, astronauts, high-altitude aviators and scientists.


solar minimum and maximum side by side comparison

Image 3


The SXI is a small telescope that makes use of advanced technology and grazing incidence optics to allow it to see the sun's outer atmosphere or corona in X-rays. SXI lets solar forecasters see phenomena they couldn't otherwise view, such as coronal holes, whose high-speed winds cause geomagnetic storms; and to infer solar activity occurring behind the sun's edge, or limb. X-ray images are more accurate than white light imagers for identifying the location of flares.

"NASA is excited about providing another fine tool for the NOAA team to use in weather operations, including space weather forecasts," said Martin A. Davis, NASA GOES program manager at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Md. GOES-12 represents a continuation of a 27-year joint program between NASA and NOAA.



GOES in the clean room GOES in the clean room

Image 4

Image 5


GOES in the clean room

Image 6






The United States operates two environmental satellites in geostationary orbit 22,300 miles over the equator. GOES-12 was launched on July 23, 2001, and placed into on-orbit storage. Controllers at NOAA's Satellite Operations Control Center in Suitland, Md., are commanding the satellite out of storage and preparing it for operations.

NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service operates the GOES series of satellites. After the satellites complete on-orbit checkout, NOAA assumes responsibility for command and control, data receipt, product generation and distribution. GSFC manages the design, development and launch of the spacecraft for NOAA. The SXI was built by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Back to Top

Find this article at: