Mad Scientess Jane Expat (nanila) wrote,
Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Is made of win. IS.

One of the things I like about my job is that I don’t just work on Cassini. I also work on the magnetometer data from the four spacecraft that make up the Cluster mission, which observes the Earth’s magnetosphere. I have spent most of the last couple of weeks adapting calibration code to cope with a range of the magnetometer that hasn’t been used much previously, except when the spacecraft were still on the ground and the instrument was being tested.

Today, I had a breakthrough. Today, I managed to calibrate the Range 7 data.

When the magnetometers switch to Range 7, it means that the spacecraft are very close to the Earth and the magnetic field is strong. The spacecraft don’t spend much time that close to the Earth, so there isn’t a lot of data to work with. I can tell that the calibration hasn’t succeeded (for any range, not just Range 7) when I see a horrid red splodge in the data like the one the red arrow is pointing toward.

Before calibration

The Cluster spacecraft spin at a rate of about once every four seconds, which generates a regular tone in the magnetometer signal. One of the things the data calibration is supposed to do is remove this regular tone. A red splodge like the one above shows that the tone is most definitely still there, and is dominating the signal. Until I get rid of it, the data are not terribly useful.

Below, you can see that the correct calibration parameters have been found and the spin tone is now reduced to an acceptable level. This is terribly exciting to me and about a dozen other people. But I don’t care. Range 7 data, I HAS CALIBRATED IT! \m/

After calibration
Tags: cluster, science
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