2012-02-06 19:01 - ACE Tracking Difficulties
SWPC’s partners that track the ACE satellite have begun to see problems with tracking ACE. The orbit of the ACE spacecraft is about to take it directly in line with the Sun, as seen from Earth. This will happen on February 8th, but ACE is already so close to the Sun that ground stations are having trouble. The Sun acts as a radio noise source, making the signal from ACE difficult to discern above the solar noise (also known as solar Radio Frequency Interference). This has resulted in intermittent availability of the ACE solar wind data. This situation will get worse over the next two days and will then improve over the next several days as the ACE spacecraft moves away from the Sun-Earth line. Models that depend on the ACE solar wind data will also be affected (e.g. the Wing Kp Geomagnetic model). These problems are temporary, but are expected to continue for the next 4 or more days.