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GOES Space Environment Monitor, Magnetometer
Three orthogonal flux-gate magnetometer elements, (spinning twin fluxgate magnetometer prior to GOES-8) provide magnetic field measurements in three mutually perpendicular components: HP, HE and HN. HP is perpendicular to the satellite?s orbital plane. HE lies parallel to the satellite-Earth center line and points earthward. HN is perpendicular to both HP and HE, and points westward for GOES-4 and earlier satellites, and eastward for later spacecraft. The Synchronous Meteorological Satellites (SMS-1 and SMS-2) and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES-1, GOES-2, etc.) all carry on board the Space Environment Monitor (SEM) instrument subsystem. The SEM has provided magnetometer, energetic particle, and soft X-ray data continuously since July 1974. Geosynchronous satellites have an unobstructed view of the sun for all but the few dozen hours per year when the Earth eclipses the sun. You can identify these intervals as gaps in the X-ray data near satellite local midnight in March-April, and September-October. The volume of these data makes it impossible to issue a guarantee as to the quality of each and every data point. Users should be suspicious of ?spikes? in the data and attempt to correlate them with other sources before assuming that they represent the space environment. The time of these observations has not been corrected for the down-link and preprocessing delay which is within 1 - 5 seconds.