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Thursday, June 23, 2005

And so you're back...

from cake! The upgrade appears to have worked. No problems whatsoever and all my files appear to be safe and sound. Hurrah!

Okay, so I ate cake. Clearly the diet is not going so well today.

On a completely unrelated note have you all heard of this? It is a real shame if the probe is actually lost, especially since this was a private endeavour who may not be able to absorb a loss as much as a space agency such as NASA or ESA. Anything to do with putting something into space is hazardous and losses will happen. A 100% success rate is something to dream of but could never be a reality with so many variables to try and control. However, this does't mean that we shouldn't try; where would we be if no one bothered trying anything? None of us would leave the house because there is a good chance that we will end up dead just through crossing the street.

Also we are in the middle of a minor geomagnetic storm which means that there is a chance of aurora for those at high latitudes. Some people have been lucky enough to catch daylit aurora such as here. Looking at the data* from the ACE spacecraft at the 1st Lagrangian point (also called the libration point) shows some interesting features:
The interplanetary magnetic field has been southward (negative) which indictaes good coupling conditions between the solar wind and the magnetosphere, but the solar wind speed, although rising is still not so high. What is notable is the proton density; shortly after 2pm it shot up to very high and sustained values, compressing the Earth's magnetic field for over 5 hours. This could be a very interesting event and I am surprised the aurora has not been visible from lower latitudes.

*this link is to an ever changing display and so will not show the details that I describe for longer than a week.

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