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23 August, 2003

First Ozone Balloon Launch

It was a very busy day. We made a decision to launch the balloon in the morning before the winds picked up. It was very cold outside; with wind chill maybe minus 45 Celsius

We are coordinating our efforts with the other balloon launches around the continent. We want to make sure we sample the same air in the Polar Vortex as the other stations so we can't let it pass by us. The balloon launch went very well and was transmitting data at 405 MHz via a radio link. Olivia drove us to Cos Hut, a hut overlooking town to monitor the back up radio data. From there you can see Scott base and the tremendous expanse of sea ice. It is very beautiful.

When I returned I went through driving school and passed. Here the tires are exceptionally wide and the trucks are high off the ground. They have to plug them in to engine heaters all the time, so there are plugs all around, it is like hitching posts of the Wild West.

The group finished taking data after about three hours; the back up data was needed because the signal was lost by the radio at the Crary lab. It is noisy data, meaning there are abnormal spikes from something unrelated to Ozone. It will take time for my PI to analyze the data.

We attend 1 hour of ozone school and go to dinner, then we take the time to look at the southern lights. Tonight it is a green shimmer across the sky. I was able to take a picture showing the green laser from the Lidar experiment with the southern lights.

Tomorrow more schooling and unpacking in prep for Tuesday's launch of a CN counter.

This is an Ozone sonde packaged for flight.

The first of 30 balloons inflates for takeoff.

The Cosmic Ray Hut where the back up radio link is located.

Driving School means knowing how to check a cold engine.

The southern lights with a green laser running through it. This picture might not come out at this low resolution.

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