STATUS: Winds, winds, winds.... not solar wind, but ground winds that have continued to keep us on the ground. We were "go" early today, but Njord (the Norwegian God of the winds) decided to intervene and the winds increased, forcing us to bring the rocket back to horizontal yet again. The solar wind has also not cooperated -- my favorite active region is not my favorite anymore. There was some hope that this active region (i.e., sunspot #1130) would improve the solar wind conditions, but no such luck.

Still, even with no significant change in the solar wind, we did have an extended auroral arc develop to the north of Svalbard that slowly drifted southward. Eventually, it did get far enough south so that, in principle, we might have been able to reach it with the rocket. On the other hand, we did not really have confirmation that it included any ion outflow and we were down for winds anyway, so it is a moot point. At least we had some interesting science discussions! We also saw fairly bright, patchy green aurora far to the north of Svalbard and long-period pulsations in aurora to the south.

The one thing we have complete control over is the pizza and popcorn, neither of which seem to stay around very long.

OUTLOOK: Tomorrow will be a day off. We need to take at least one day off every 12 days and tomorrow is probably the best choice, given that the ground winds will only be slightly improved and there is no reason to think the solar wind will be any better at all. This is a very difficult decision to make, to be sure. Starting back on Tuesday, we will also slip our daily routine later by one hour to help get us closer to the cusp. There will be no update tomorrow.

The weather forecast predicts more favorable winds at the rocket range for at least Tuesday and Wednesday. We also expect the solar wind to be more active later in the week, so that is where our hopes lie. The temperature in Longyearbyen dropping, which means clear skies and cold fingers. The forecast is that it will drop to -28 C (-18 F).

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