The Polar Ionospheric X-ray Imaging Experiment (PIXIE) Is an
electronic camera which images the earth's aurora in x-rays. The
x-rays measured by PIXIE are generated when energetic electrons
strike the upper atmosphere. By imaging these x-rays and measuring
their energies across a broad energy range, PIXIE determines the
fluxes and characteristic energies of the parent electrons. This
information is used to determine other important characteristics
of the ionosphere, and of the interactions between the earth's
upper atmosphere, ionosphere, radiation belts, and magnetosphere.
PIXIE is one of 11 instruments
aboard the Polar
spacecraft, which is one of two satellites in the Global Geospace
Science (GGS) Program managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
GGS represents a major US contribution to the world-wide International
Solar Terrestrial Physics Program (ISTP) Program.