The electron flux measured by the GOES satellites indicates the intensity of the outer electron radiation belt at geostationary orbit. Measurements are made in two integral flux channels, one channel measuring all electrons with energies greater than 0.8 million electron Volts (MeV) and one channel measuring all electrons with energies greater than 2 MeV.
Electron Event ALERTS are issued when the >2 MeV electron flux exceeds 1000 particles/(cm2 s sr). High fluxes of energetic electrons are associated with a type of spacecraft charging referred to as deep-dielectric charging. Deep-dielectric charging occurs when energetic electrons penetrate into spacecraft components and result in a buildup of charge within the material. When the accumulated charge becomes sufficiently high, a discharge or arching can occur. This discharge can cause anomalous behavior in spacecraft systems and can result is temporary or permanent loss of functionality.
SWPC provides 5-minuted averaged integral electron flux (electrons/(cm2 s sr)) with energies greater than 0.8 MeV and greater than 2 MeV. The radiation belt electron fluxes vary dramatically over time scales ranging from minutes to years. Abrupt increases and decreases in flux can occur due to reconfigurations in the magnetospheric magnetic field, as well as due to various particle acceleration and loss mechanisms.
When measured at geostationary orbit, the electron fluxes also exhibit a substantial spatial variability, independent of the temporal changes due to magnetic field reconfiguration and particle acceleration/loss. The electron fluxes at geostationary orbit typically have their highest values near local noon and their lowest values near local midnight. This spatial feature is due to the structure of the magnetospheric magnetic field, strong at noon and weak at midnight, caused by the pressure of the solar wind on the day side of the magnetosphere.
Note: The >2 MeV electron channel can be contaminated by energetic protons. The >2 MeV electron data are not valid during significant proton events.
GOES electron measurements have been made since the first GOES satellite was launched in 1975, and prior to that they were made on the NASA Synchronous Meteorological Satellites (SMS 1 and 2). SMS were the forerunners to the GOES operational system.
The official archive for GOES Energetic Particle data, including electron flux data, can be found at:
A latest version of this plot is available directly from SWPC.
The current report is also available as a text file.