Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Rainbow over the building and CMEs

While we have our esteemed visitor here with us, we were hoping to get a roof top test done. The roof top test is where we put the payload up on the roof and test the batteries ability to charge off of solar cells as well as the solar cell connections. However this week (and the last few it seems) have been cloudy and rainy. Last night however when on my way home I looked back and saw a rainbow over the building... perhaps that is a sign that things are clearing up? Probably not, but it was pretty to look at.



While looking for a good site that had information about rainbows I instead found a great video on fire rainbows by the weather channel. 

Note: Sorry the link/embed code seems to be broken so it's not going to the fire rainbow video. I'll fix it ASAP (which really means once it's fixed on the weather channel site and I notice... if you Google weather channel and fire rainbows though it's one of the first ones and well worth a watch). 


The video that came up right afterwords was on Solar Flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), something much closer to what we study with BARREL.




BARREL looks at some of the effects of CMEs and solar flares on our magnetosphere by looking indirectly for particle precipitation due to solar storms. One might compare our measurements to that of a rain gauge, just like a rain gauge estimates how much precipitation occurred during a thunderstorm, we're looking at how much precipitation occurred during a geomagnetic storm.  However, instead of collecting rain drops, we collect x-rays which are a byproduct of electrons hitting our upper atmosphere. The x-ray counts are then a proxy for how many electrons precipitated into the atmosphere.