GOLD, a hosted payload on a commercial satellite, is an ultraviolet imaging spectrograph that will give unprecedented insight into the temperature and composition of neutral gases in the the thermosphere, the largest part of Earth’s upper atmosphere. The thermosphere is thought to be influenced by outside factors – such as weather from below and solar storms from above – but the exact response of the thermosphere to this external forcing is not well understood. The GOLD team will coordinate their observations with ground- and space-based instruments to discern the impact of external forcing on the neutral thermosphere. This part of the atmosphere is comingled with the ionized part of the atmosphere, known as the ionosphere, where changes in shape and size can disrupt our communications, like radio and GPS. GOLD will examine how the neutral thermosphere shapes the evolution and structure of the ionosphere, in combination with the investigation into external forcing.
Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk