Friday, January 10, 2014



SPACE WEATHER BALLOON UPDATE: The payload of a space weather balloon launched Jan. 8th by the students of Earth to Sky Calculus has been recovered from its landing site in Death Valley National Park. The purpose of the flight was to study a solar radiation storm in progress at the time of the launch. Analyzing the data may take a few days. Meanwhile, here is the view from the stratosphere:

These pictures were taken by a pair of Hero3+ cameras looking out of the payload capsule. The upper frame shows the Sierra Nevada mountain range, unusually brown for this time of year as California endures a historic drought. The lower frame captures the balloon popping at an altitude of approximately 100,000 feet. Click on each frame for a closer look. The landscape shot was made using the Hero3+'s new "superview mode"--a favorite of snowboarders and now, for the first time, balloonists!In addition to cameras, the payload contained an x-ray/gamma-ray dosimeter, a GPS altimeter, and a cryogenic thermometer. Together these instruments can form a complete thermal and radiation profile of the atmosphere throughout the flight. The students plan to pay special attention to data collected at aviation altitudes to learn how much radiation air travelers absorb during periods of high solar activity. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

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