KTH / EE / Space and Plasma Physics / Research Tools

Space Observations from Ground

Ground based instrumentation is a new development in our research programme. It is based on mainly the ASK - Auroral Structure and
Kinetics - instrument, which is an optical platform consisting of three EMCCD detectors and two photometers. The Andor iXon EMCCDs use lenses and Gallilean converters to give a field of view of about 3 times 3 degrees. In this way, ASK can be used to observe the smallest structures seen in auroral displays. Interference filters are attached to both EMCCDs and photometers, to provide spectral information of the aurora. ASK is developed and run together with the Environmental Physics Group at University of Southampton.
For the moment ASK is placed at the EISCAT Svalbard Radar. The EISCAT radars are also used in our ground-based research. The ASK detectors were designed to study the afterglow of a forbidden oxygen ion emission, which takes place in the F region. By comparing the light from this emission (green in the image to the left) to prompt auroral emission (red and blue) it is possible to learn more about the plasma drifts in the ionosphere, and from this, the electric field.
Another ground-based instrument is ALVIS - Alfvén Laboratory Versatile Imaging System. This system consists of one Andor iXon EMCCD detector, and the optics provides a field of view of 9 times 9 degrees. It is placed in a transportable box, which also holds the computer and the electronics. Below is a picture of ALVIS and its 'brother' BLVIS (owned by University in Tromso), during a rocket campaign in Alaska, in February 2009.

Balloon-borne space observations

An instrument to fly onboard the PoGOLite 'pathfinder' mission in August 2010 is being developed at our department. The instrument is called ALBERT - Alfvén Laboratory Balloon ExpeRimenT, and consists of two photometers for spectral analysis of the background aurora during the flight, as well as the magnetometer SMILE. More information is found at the ALBERT website.

Published by: School of Electrical Engineering

Last updated: 2013-06-18