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Instrument Overview

The Solar Occultation For Ice Experiment (SOFIE) began science observations on 14 May 2007. SOFIE performs solar occultation measurements in 16 spectral bands that are used to retrieve vertical profiles of temperature, O3, H2O, CO2, CH4, NO, and PMC extinction at 11 wavelengths including band 2 which will be available in a limited data set in future releases. Each day SOFIE provides 15 sunset measurements at latitudes ranging from 65° - 85°S (depending on time of year) and 15 sunrise measurements at latitudes from 65° - 85°N. SOFIE images the sun with a 2D detector array to obtain pointing knowledge of the FOV position relative to the sun center to within ±0.1 arc second through image edge analysis. As a result, SOFIE obtains an unprecedented fidelity of observation altitude and angle. This allows the inference of refraction angle profiles, from solar extent measurements, that are used to retrieve temperature from ~55km down into the upper troposphere, independent of transmission models. SOFIE is the first occultation sensor to successfully use this technique to such high altitudes.

  • The Space Dynamics Laboratory at Utah State University (SDL) designed, fabricated, tested, and integrated the SOFIE instrument.
  • GATS Inc. defined the SOFIE measurement system and worked with SDL throughout design, fabrication, and testing phases. GATS conducts SOFIE flight operations and retrievals of physical results from flight data.
  • SOFIE will use solar occultation to measure the following atmospheric constituents:
    • Temperature
    • PMCs
    • Carbon Dioxide
    • Methane
    • Nitric Oxide
    • Ozone
    • Aerosols
  • SABER Heritage
    • Aperture cover uses same actuators
    • Similar telescope design (M1 & M2)
    • Similar radiator design
    • Similar tuning fork chopper
    • Similar electronics
  • WRE Heritage
    • Similar electronics

More @ AIM

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

Software Tools
AIM Read Routines

SOFIE Graphics and Plots in the Library
SOFIE 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.

GATS, Inc. SOFIE website


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