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NOAA’s GOES-16 EXIS Instrument Observes Solar Flares

NOAA’s GOES-16 EXIS Instrument Observes Solar Flares
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On January 21, 2017, the GOES-16 Extreme Ultraviolet and X-Ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS) observed solar flares.

Solar flares are huge eruptions of energy on the sun and often produce clouds of plasma traveling more than a million miles an hour. When these clouds reach Earth they can cause radio communications blackouts, disruptions to electric power grids, errors in GPS navigation, and hazards to satellites and astronauts. The EXIS instrument on NOAA’s GOES-16, built by the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder, Colorado, measures solar flares at several wavelengths and improves upon current capabilities by capturing larger flares, measuring the location of the flares on the sun, and measuring flares in more wavelengths. The GOES-16 EXIS will provide forecasters at the NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center with early indications of impending space weather storms so they can issue alerts, watches and warnings.

Current geostationary satellites measure solar X-ray and extreme ultraviolet fluxes. The higher resolution EXIS instrument will provide new capabilities, including the ability to capture larger solar flares.

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