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THEMIS Mission and Substorm Simulation

This visualization combines simulations of the THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms) mission orbits with a GGCM (Geospace General Circulation Model) simulation. It illustrates how the five THEMIS satellites will work together to detect substorm events in the magnetosphere. One goal of the THEMIS mission is to test how these substorm events are related to the formation of the aurora.

This mission consists of five identical spacecraft (usually designated P1, P2, P3, P4 and P5) with orbits aligned so they reach their apogee along the same line from the Earth. This alignment remains fixed in space so as the Earth moves around the Sun, the constellation of spacecraft will extend on the nightside of the Earth in winter to sample the Earth's magnetosphere, and on the dayside of the Earth in summer to sample the incoming solar wind. This way they can better map the geospace environment.

Probes P1 and P2 are called the 'outer probes' and P3, 4, and 5 are the 'inner probes'. P3 and P4 share the same orbit. The outer probes will detect the onset of the substorm, while the inner probes will monitor the Earthward plasma flows from the event.

For more information on the GGCM model, visit the Community Coordinated Modeling Center and OpenGGCM.
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Opening with a view of the aurora borealis, we zoom out to reveal the proposed orbital configuration of the five THEMIS satellites and fade in a GGCM magnetosphere model.    Opening with a view of the aurora borealis, we zoom out to reveal the proposed orbital configuration of the five THEMIS satellites and fade in a GGCM magnetosphere model.
Duration: 23.0 seconds
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  320x240 (30 fps) MPEG-1   3 MB
  640x480 (30 fps) MPEG-1   16 MB
  720x480 (30 fps) MPEG-2   18 MB
  1280x720 (30 fps) MPEG-2   50 MB
  720x480 (29.97 fps) Frames
  1280x720 (29.97 fps) Frames
  1280x720 (29.97 fps) MPEG-2   49 MB
  640x480 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   23 MB
  1280x720 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   22 MB
  320x240 (30 fps) X-FLV       769 KB
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We open with a view of a (simulated) aurora.    We open with a view of a (simulated) aurora.

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Pulling out further from the Earth, we see the orbits of the five THEMIS spacecraft (P3 and P4 share an orbit).    Pulling out further from the Earth, we see the orbits of the five THEMIS spacecraft (P3 and P4 share an orbit).

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  2560 x 1920     TIFF       1 MB


The THEMIS constellation moves in a set of four orbits of different eccentricies to sample the geospace region around the Earth.  In winter, the spacecraft reach their apogee on the nightside of the Earth (the Sun is to the left in this view).  The spacecraft are identified as P1, P2, P3, P4, and P5, in order of increasing distance from the Earth.    The THEMIS constellation moves in a set of four orbits of different eccentricies to sample the geospace region around the Earth. In winter, the spacecraft reach their apogee on the nightside of the Earth (the Sun is to the left in this view). The spacecraft are identified as P1, P2, P3, P4, and P5, in order of increasing distance from the Earth.

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  2560 x 1920     TIFF   538 KB


The color of the spacecraft change to purple to illustrate they are within five hours of conjunction (all five spacecraft aligned close to the Earth-Sun line).    The color of the spacecraft change to purple to illustrate they are within five hours of conjunction (all five spacecraft aligned close to the Earth-Sun line).

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  2560 x 1920     TIFF   419 KB


Now the GGCM data fades into view.  The black lines represent the Earth's magnetic field stretched behind the Earth due to the incoming solar wind.  The color represents plasma pressure (red is high, blue is low).  The blue region immediately around the Earth is actually a 'hole' in the model where the simulation does not apply.    Now the GGCM data fades into view. The black lines represent the Earth's magnetic field stretched behind the Earth due to the incoming solar wind. The color represents plasma pressure (red is high, blue is low). The blue region immediately around the Earth is actually a 'hole' in the model where the simulation does not apply.

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  2560 x 1920     TIFF       3 MB


In this view of the plasma pressure (colors) and the magnetic field lines (black), we see a substorm event.    In this view of the plasma pressure (colors) and the magnetic field lines (black), we see a substorm event.

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The substorm event continues to form (on the timescale of minutes) near the P2 spacecraft.    The substorm event continues to form (on the timescale of minutes) near the P2 spacecraft.

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After the reconnection event, the magnetic field lines pull plasma earthward, where they may contribute to the structure of the aurora.  THEMIS will resolve where in this volume of space the substorm trigger is located and how the substorm evolves in the few minutes after onset.    After the reconnection event, the magnetic field lines pull plasma earthward, where they may contribute to the structure of the aurora. THEMIS will resolve where in this volume of space the substorm trigger is located and how the substorm evolves in the few minutes after onset.

Available formats:
  2560 x 1920     TIFF       3 MB

Short URL to This Page:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?3356
Animation Number:3356
Completed:2006-05-18
Animator:Tom Bridgman (GST) (Lead)
Scientists:Vassilis Angelopoulos (University of California, Berkeley)
 David G. Sibeck (NASA/GSFC)
 Joachim Raeder (University of New Hampshire)
Platforms/Sensors/Data Sets:SSCweb (2007-02-01T00:00:00 - 2007-02-03T07:00:00)
 Geospace General Circulation Model (GGCM) (2007-02-01T00:00:00 - 2007-02-03T07:00:00)
 THEMIS (2007-02-01T00:00:00 - 2007-02-03T07:00:00)
Series:THEMIS Pre-launch
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Additional Credits: Tom Fogal (University of New Hampshire) for assistance with the GGCM data extraction software. Sabine Frey (UC Berkeley) for spacecraft orbit information.
 
Keywords:
SVS >> Aurora
SVS >> Geomagnetic Field
SVS >> HDTV
SVS >> Magnetic Fields
SVS >> Magnetic Reconnection
SVS >> Magnetosphere
SVS >> Plasma
DLESE >> Space science
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions >> Ionosphere/Magnetosphere Particles >> Aurorae
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions >> Ionosphere/Magnetosphere Particles >> Energetic Particles
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions >> Ionosphere/Magnetosphere Particles >> Particle Density
GCMD >> Location >> Magnetotail
SVS >> Space Weather
SVS >> THEMIS
 
 


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Many of our multimedia items use the GCMD keywords. These keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 8.0.0.0.0

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