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Solar storm warning satellite takes position in deep space

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The U.S.’s first operational space weather satellite designed to provide an early warning of potentially harmful solar storms has reached its final orbit in deep space, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Deep Space Climate Observatory.

Solar storm warning satellite takes position in deep space

The U.S.’s first operational space weather satellite designed to provide an early warning of potentially harmful solar storms has reached its final orbit in deep space, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Deep Space Climate Observatory.

In orbit more than a million miles from Earth, the satellite will improve NOAA's ability to issue warnings of potentially dangerous solar activity, which can result in geomagnetic storms in Earth's atmosphere that can put satellites at risk and affect GPS systems, telecommunications and terrestrial power grids.

Starting in 2016, data from DSCOVR, combined with a new forecast computer model, will enable space weather scientists to predict such storms on a regional basis, the agency says.

"DSCOVR will trigger early warnings whenever it detects a surge of energy that could cause a geomagnetic storm that could bring possible damaging impacts for Earth," said Stephen Volz with NOAA's Satellite and Information Service.

DSCOVR will orbit at a particular point between the sun and the Earth known as a Lagrange point, which will give it an excellent vantage point for observing both.

Along with instruments to make its space weather observations, DSCOVR has two NASA Earth-observing devices onboard to make atmospheric and climate observations of Earth's atmosphere.

Data from the satellite will allow scientists at NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo., to make forecasts as soon as DSCOVR has been tested in its new orbital location and is ready and operational, officials said.

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