Automated observatories for geospace research in polar regions

The specification, development and deployment of an automated observatory designed to operate unattended for a year in the extreme climatic conditions of the polar regions is presented. Solar- and wind-powered electric generators are used to charge lead/acid batteries to provide a nominal 100 W of electrical power for operating scientific sensors. The equipment is housed in a highly insulated caboose (3m by 2m by 2m). The temperature in the latter is regulated using a unique thermal control system which utilizes the latent heat of 500 l of water stored in 25-l plastic containers. Data are logged to optical disks for collection once per year. The observatory is designed to be air-deployed using a DHC-6 aircraft. The paper discusses the rationale for designing such automated systems, the operational experience gained from several years of operation, and the application of a network of observatories to solar-terrestrial physics research.


Publication status:
Authors: Dudeney, J.R., Kressman, R.I., Rodger, A.S.

1 January, 1998
Antarctic Science / 10
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