SOFIE operated onboard NASA's Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite from April 2007 until March 2023. SOFIE measurements are used to study polar mesospheric clouds (PMCs), meteoric particles, atmospheric composition, and
gravity waves. The SOFIE latitude coverage during the mission is shown below.
SOFIE uses the technique of satellite solar occultation to measure solar energy passing through the limb of the earth's atmosphere as
the sun rises or sets relative to the spacecraft. The measurements are accomplished using 16 spectral regions (i.e. bandpasses) covering
wavelengths from 0.29 to 5.26 microns. The vertical field-of-view (FOV) is ∼1.6 km, and the detectors are over-sampled at a ∼0.2 km cadence.
The measurements are used to retrieve temperature, the abundance of five gases (H2O, O3, CH4, CO2, and NO),
extinction at 11 wavelengths, and meteoric smoke extinction at 3 wavelengths. Gravity waves characteristics are retrieved using perturbations in the
retrieved temperature versus height. The core SOFIE team is composed of GATS personnel, with members
from other institutions including Hampton University, Virginia Tech., the Naval Research Laboratory, and the University of Colorado Boulder.
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