Sunday, February 19, 2017

not yet...

Another relatively active night with clear skies at Venetie and clouds at Poker, so we were prime again waiting for an event we could use.  The solar wind has been strong for the past few days, but during our window time, it has not coupled well into the Earth's environment, instead sliding on by without giving a lot of energy to the auroral zones.  We have had aurora in the north, but it has not been powered by the strong current systems we are trying to study.  This also makes the aurora rather "flash-in-the-pan", with lots of sporadic bursts of activity that don't hang around.  Thus we dropped the count three times tonight, trying to catch one of them, but none of them developed into a useful event.
    The solar wind should drop off a bit in the next few days, but that's ok as we don't need or want too much activity (in which case the aurora would move too far south for us);  we just need better coupling of a moderate solar wind into the Earth's environment.  Predictions are for better weather at Poker tomorrow night, so it may be that we stand back to give the other mission an opportunity to try for a launch.  We'll see how it goes.
   Rob has posted a short tutorial about how we interpret the data we are watching, to decide about launching the rocket;  it's on the "Useful Links" page of this blog.  I'll try to update it in the next day or so to include a description of the auroral current signatures we are looking for for Isinglass.
   We took a picture of our science team tonight, just before Anthea had to leave;  I'll post it here.

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