Credit for Image at left:
NOAA's DSCOVR spacecraft is positioned at the first sun-Earth Lagrange point (L1), approximately 1.6 million km (1 million miles) from Earth.
DSCOVR has completed instrument validation after reaching the first Sun-Earth Lagrange point 1.6 million km (1 million miles) away and is ready to go operational this week, taking over the role of monitoring solar storms as they approach Earth. Although the new spacecraft has the necessary data to provide geomagnetic storm warnings, it will not have all of the instruments that ACE has - it will mainly serve as a distant early warning sentinel, like a tsunami buoy in space, to alert of incoming eruptions from the Sun. Its data will be used in a new forecast model – the Geospace Model – due to come on line this year. Currently SWPC issues a single forecast for the entire planet, but with the Geospace Model forecasters will now be able to issue regional, short-term space weather forecasts, including predictions on the timing and strength of a solar storm that will impact Earth.
For the scientifically minded: DSCOVR’s primary space weather sensors are the Faraday Cup plasma sensor, which measures the velocity, density and temperature of the solar wind, and a Magnetometer, which measures the strength and direction of the solar wind magnetic field. Together, the instruments provide SWPC forecasters with the necessary information to issue geomagnetic storm warnings. For up to date news got to their Real Time Solar Wind reports at: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/real-time-solar-wind