The ACE Magnetic Fields Experiment

C. W. Smith, J. L'Heureux, N. F. Ness, M. H. Acuna, L. F. Burlaga and J. Scheifele

Space Science Reviews, 86, 611 (1998)


The magnetic field experiment on ACE provides continuous measurements of the local magnetic field in the interplanetary medium. These measurements are essential in the interpretation of simultaneous ACE observations of energetic and thermal particles distributions. The experiment consists of a pair of twin, boom-mounted, triaxial fluxgate sensors which are located 165 inches (= 4.19 m) from the center of the spacecraft on opposing solar panels. The electronics and digital processing unit (DPU) is mounted on the top deck of the spacecraft. The two triaxial sensors provide a balanced, fully redundant vector instrument and permit some enhanced assessment of the spacecraft's magnetic field. The instrument provides data for Browse and high-level products with between 3 and 6 vector/s resolution for continuous coverage of the interplanetary magnetic field. Two high-resolution snapshot buffers each hold 297 seconds of 24 vector/s data while on-board Fast Fourier Transforms extend the continuous data to 12 Hz resolution. Real-time observations with 1 second resolution are provided continuously to the Space Environmental Center (SEC) of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) for near-instantaneous, world-wide dissemination in service to space weather studies. As has been our team's tradition, high instrument reliability is obtained by the use of fully redundant systems and extremely conservative designs. We plan studies of the interplanetary medium in support of the fundamental goals of the ACE mission and cooperative studies with other ACE investigators using the combined ACE dataset as well as other ISTP spacecraft involved in the general program of Sun--Earth Connections.

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