SLU students Joseph Wilkins, Patrick Walsh, Jackie Ringhausen and Tim Barbeau (standing, from left to right), and Valparaiso Univ. trainers Alex Kotsakis and Mark Spychala (crouching, left to right) stabilize the balloon as it fills with helium.
Credit (Art Chimes)
Each weather balloon carries a Styrofoam box like this one. It contains an ozonesonde, an instrument that measures ozone. The box also holds a radiosonde that measures temperature, humidity and air pressure.
Credit Art Chimes
Valparaiso University atmospheric chemist and meteorologist Gary Morris is helping to train the SLU students. Here, he tests out a parachute that will help slow the ozonesonde's fall after the balloon bursts somewhere around 100,000 feet above the ground.
Credit Art Chimes
This Google Earth map shows the trajectory of the weather balloon SLU launched on Thursday, August 8. The balloon burst north of Florissant, at an altitude of 116,447 feet. It landed in Alton, Illinois, about two and half hours after launch.
Credit Gary Morris, Valparaiso University
Data from the ozonesonde are transmitted through a large antenna to a radio receiver (right), then plotted out in real time on a laptop.
Credit Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio
These profiles show ozone (in parts per billion by volume) with altitude. On August 8, rain washed ozone out of the air, decreasing levels near the ground. The EPA considers concentrations above 75 ppb to be hazardous to human health (red dotted line).
Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 7:23 am
Before we run through the news of the day, let's pause for something spectactular: a new video from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. It shows a "massive filament" eruption on the sun that occurred last Friday. As Britain's The Register says, it is "mind-bogglingly gorgeous."
It will take the rover seven minutes to get from the Mars atmosphere to the planet's surface. But because it takes about twice that long for signals to travel from Mars to Earth, scientists won't know anything about the landing until after it's already over.
On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger and her seven-member crew were lost when a ruptured O-ring in the right Solid Rocket Booster caused the shuttle to break apart 73 seconds after launch. (NASA)