Adapted from an NOAA press release, February 11, 2015:
On February 11, the United States Air Force launched a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite called Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR, into orbit. NOAA will use DSCOVR to monitor the solar wind and forecast space weather at Earth — effects from the material and energy from the Sun that can impact our satellites and technological infrastructure on Earth.
Data from DSCOVR, coupled with a new forecast model, will enable NOAA forecasters to predict geomagnetic storm magnitude on a regional basis. Geomagnetic storms occur when plasma and magnetic fields streaming from the Sun impact Earth’s magnetic field. Large magnetic eruptions from the sun have the potential to bring major disruptions to power grids, aviation, telecommunications, and GPS systems.
In addition to space weather-monitoring instruments, DSCOVR is carrying two NASA Earth-observing instruments that will gather a range of measurements from ozone and aerosol amounts, to changes in Earth’s radiation.