2006 Trans-Atlantic Balloon Flight

This page contains information concerning data from the program to observe energetic electron precipitation during a balloon flight from Sweden to Canada in 2006. Hardware documentation has been moved elsewhere.

balloon on ice

Parachute is a small orange blob on the sea ice left and below center (photo credit: Paul Brasfield, CSBF)

The science collaboration includes Robyn Millan and Leslie Woodger at Dartmouth, Bob Lin and John Sample at UC Berkeley, David Smith at UC Santa Cruz, and Michael McCarthy at University of Washington. Our instruments hitch-hiked on the AESOP payload (CSBF Flight 554N), which was successfully launched near 02:10 on 2Jun06 from Kiruna, Sweden. As shown at left, the balloon descended and as of 9Jun06, the data and instruments were recovered from the sea ice. We now have all 120MB of our data in hand and can look at the measurements.

Just below are some previously constructed data plots from the downlinked dataset. Data processing has been minimal and these plots are meant to show that instruments are functioning nominally.

Plots from downlinked data

The spectrum energy axis is uncalibrated, although the highlighted 511 keV line shows the calibration is close at least for lower energy. Time is very approximate, accurate to within an hour: log scale spectra(830KB pdf) and linear scale spectra(830KB pdf)

There are 2 photometer plots: the first shows max/min (vertical lines) and mean (square) counts per 50ms over 1 second sample periods; the second shows a histogram over the flight of each of the 20 ms sample periods per second (coded by color). Notable features include large variations in observed brightness (counts/sample), a preference for count rates near 400/sample and 100/sample, no differences among the 20 samples each second, and no excess/missing counts near powers of 2: photometer data(592KB pdf)

Magnetometer data suggests the magnetometer worked nominally. This data has been scaled to units of Gauss, but it is apparent that offset and gain adjustments are needed: magnetometer data(108KB pdf)

Plots from recovered data

The following plots have been prepared from data recovered from the payload. Again, this is too fresh to have been carefully studied, so that undiscovered instrumental problems, display software errors, and other kinds of mistakes are possibly present. Data was decimated for summary plots so that plot point density does not greatly exceed the resolution of viewers and printers. Some count rate spikes are present in the x-ray data. These might be instrumental, not geophysical.

  1. summary of x-ray rates (23kB pdf)
  2. rate counters (58KB pdf)
  3. candidate x-ray event 15UT 3Jun(89kB pdf)
  4. candidate x-ray event 22UT 3Jun(51kB pdf)
  5. count rate spike (7KB pdf)
  6. light curves for spike (21KB pdf)
  7. candidate x-ray event 5Jun(50kB pdf)
  8. altitude data (25KB pdf)
  9. light curves (49KB pdf)