Photos from December 9th 2010

First, an interesting image of the aurora overhead here yesterday. Although not very bright, you can see the swirls in the green aurora spanning the sky. These swirls are generally evidence of what is called a Kelvin-Helmholtz instability -- an effect that comes from the ionosphere (on one side of the arc) drifting in the opposite direction to that on the other side of the arc. It is quite common, though I don't think I have ever seen such large vortices. Of course, you can always take a look here. Boaters would call this the wind-over-water instability - and it is the same thing, mathematically, so grab your auroral surfboards!


Finally, the group photo of the day, the team in Launch Control Center (the people with their thumb on the big red button). Left to right: Joe Jimmerson/NASA Range Operations Contract, Petter Dragoy/ARR Range Safety Officer, Rick Weaver/NSROC Mission Manager, John Hickman/NASA SRPO, Kjell Boen/ARR, Head of Sounding Rocket and Balloon Division, Gunnar Jan Olsen/ARR Range Safety Officer.

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