Monday, August 26, 2013

IAGA 2013

Merida Mexico is beautiful! Since I either had the choice of getting into Merida at about midnight on Saturday or midnight on Sunday, the day before the conference, I chose to have a more relaxed conference and go on Saturday. 

It was perhaps the best decision. I was able to meet up with a bunch of collaborators and tour around town. 

Space physics was of course discussed, as its hard to not discuss something that we all love, and I found out that there might be another smaller balloon campaign going on in Canada at the same time as our campaign this coming winter! This means that we can try to coordinate and have them launch at the same time as we do. The really cool thing is that since they are also hand launching much smaller payloads and can drive to pretty much drive to any L-value and MLT value (magnetic location, associated with latitude and longitude). They need about a days notice, but that means that we could let them know where are balloons would be conjugate to and they could launch one at that location. 

If you may remember the earth has a magnetic filed which kind of looks like the magnetic field you can see using a bar magnet and iron fillings.

If you notice, a field line comes out of one side and goes on on the other side. With this other balloon mission we could potentially have our balloon at one end, their balloon at the other end, and potentially the Van Allen probes at a couple of locations along that field line. This would give us at least 4 points allowing us to see the differences one might find at either end point and see what in space may be causing this precipitation. 

We've also had now the first morning of sessions, and I am surprised at how much great science is being shown at such a relatively small conference. Since its a smaller conference people are getting a chance to talk for longer and also talk more in the coffee breaks. 

It is also great to see how many people from outside of the US are able to attend this meeting. It is sometimes hard for our international collaborators to join at all the meetings occurring in the States, and depending on where they are traveling from, conferences in Mexico, Asia, or Europe are some times much easier to get to and attend. This week will be a great opportunity to be able to catch up with them and perhaps start some strong international collaborations. 

Have a great day!