Friday, August 30, 2013

Happy birthday Van Allen probes

Happy birthday to the Van Allen probes. They launched 1 year ago today. There was a great public lecture on the mission to date and we were very lucky to have been mentioned multiple times during the presentation. Check out our twitter feed on the right hand side to see what was discussed. 

Hopefully this is the first of many, well at least 4, birthdays for the mission. The satellite does have an end date as it will eventually run out of fuel, but that's a ways down the line. This first year has been incredibly successful and we are very excited to have been able to be apart of it. During the presentation it was pointed out that BARREL and the satellites were able to look at microburst and chorus waves. It is thought that the chorus waves are able to push the electrons farther down the field line and eventually they are lost through collisions with the neutral atmosphere. If the electrons didn't hit the atmosphere they would happily bounce along the field lines until their mirror points were moved either down the field line or they encounter the magnetopause and are lost back out into the solar wind. 

I am sure I have posted this before, but it's just so cool, chorus waves can be listened to as we do with other radio frequencies. Here is a link to some chorus waves, so named because they sound like the dawn chorus of birds, and these waves are often observed in the dawn sector.

Happy birthday Van Allen Probes