GOLD is an ultraviolet imaging spectrograph that records images of Earth’s disk in ultraviolet light. The spectrograph makes images of temperature and composition in the Sun-lit thermosphere and of electron density in the nighttime ionosphere. By capturing the first global-scale images of conditions in Earth’s upper atmosphere on a cadence of 30 minutes, GOLD is providing critical data on subtle changes due to space weather events.The observations of the neutral atmosphere can then help scientists understand how it helps shape characteristics of the ionosphere.
GOLD’s camera takes images through one of three slits. The field of view is slowly shifted across the face of Earth to create an image of the entire disk every half hour.