Virtual Tour: FAST Operations



  • FAST captures high-time resolution electron measurements with simultaneous airborne observations. The FAST satellite is one of many tools scientists are using to investigate the aurora and plasma processes occurring in the region where aurora producing particles are accelerated. Airborne observatories flying below, sounding rockets passing through, and satellites like FAST and POLAR orbiting above the auroral zones help give a more complete picture of the complex processes which create the aurora.
  • The visual image of the aurora in the photograph at left was taken with an all-sky camera from a high-altitude airplane. This photograph is aligned with data taken from the FAST satellite. Superimposed on the visual aurora is a projected path of the FAST satellite which simultaneously collected electron measurements in space above the visible aurora. The electron data from FAST in the bottom plot shows the number and energies of electrons that are streaming down Earth's magnetic field. It is these particles which create the aurora. Notice that the peaks in the electron measurement data correspond to the visible arcs.
  • It is this kind of electron measurement data which is archived and posted on the web at UC Berkeley's FAST mission web site where scientists can search for auroral data by orbit, date, and/or time.

Last Stop on the Virtual Tour

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