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Instrument Overview

The Cosmic Dust Experiment (CDE) is an instrument designed to monitor the variability of the cosmic dust influx into Earth’s mesosphere in order to address its role in the formation of PMCs. CDE determines the magnitude and characterizes the temporal and spatial variability of the cosmic dust influx, allowing for direct correlation studies with PMC frequency and brightness.

CDE has a sensor area of approximately 0.1 m2, and can detect particles greater than approximately 1 micron in radius, by recording impact generated signals on thin plastic-film detectors. The detectors are made of permanently polarized Polyvinylidene Fluoride films (PVDF), a mechanically and thermally stable, radiation resistant material. Twelve detectors face the zenith direction, allowing them to record cosmic dust impacts, while two detectors are completely covered and located on the underside of the instrument deck in order to measure the background noise.

  • CU/LASP designs and fabricates the particle detector instrument, CDE, and aligns and calibrates the channels thereof.
  • CDE measures the influx of dust particles into the upper atmosphere (the PMC region).
  • CDE is an in-situ dust detector
  • CDE is mounted on the zenith side of the spacecraft, with a very wide field of view looking away from the Earth.


More @ AIM

Library Documentation
Data Product User Guides
Spacecraft, Instrument, and Calibration White Papers

Software Tools
AIM Read Routines

CDE Graphics and Plots in the Library
CDE Graphics
AIM Science Diagrams

AIM Featured Data
Plot Archive

More @ NASA

NASA Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere

More on the Web

Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado (2015) Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere—CIPS Instrument. (2015) Realtime NLC Gallery.

NASA Earth Observatory (2013, June 25) Early Start for Noctilucent Clouds.

NASA Earth Observatory (2011, January 27) Night-Shining Clouds Are Getting Brighter.


LASP-AIM website


NASA's Sun-Earth Education Forum Logo

The AIM mission is a part of
NASA's Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum.

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Web Curator: Emily M. W. Hill
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