Tuesday, 18 January 2005

Aurora Australis

From the ABC :
A solar flare is speeding towards earth, offering Australia's southern states and territory a rare opportunity tonight to witness the colours of the Aurora Australis.

A cloud of gas is expected to hit the upper atmosphere, causing a spectacular show of red and green lights.

Best viewing of the slow-moving coloured clouds will be from areas away from city lights from about midnight (AEDT).
I'll be up and watching for it in a few hours, an Aurora is something I've managed to miss so far.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering how it will affect the little satellite that could. I wouldn't be surprised if the ground station had to trigger failover of a mass memory bank - an additional little feature that I designed into the system "just in case" something like this happened, and the satellite took some damage. This wasn't in the original requirements, but was so easy to implement, while the danger was so high and consequences so drastic, that we upgraded the system accordingly.

For more on Fedsat, have a read of this 3.2 Mb pdf file. Although a bit light on substance, it has some quite neat pictures showing the bird under construction, and some data from the telemetry. The Gory details (mainly of interest only to professional Rocket Scientists) are a in a smaller pdf paper, but you can have a look at the latest data from the ground station online.

UPDATE: Just after midnight, I dodged 2 errant Wallabies, and did an emergency stop to avoid a Kamikaze Rabbit, and when I got to the lookout... beautiful clear night, except to the south, which was completely overcast. My 46-year aurora-missing-record remains intact.

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