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  Reply # 1554770 18-May-2016 13:11
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Oblivian:

 

Fred99:

 

I'm not sure  - I'd have thought some publicity would be a good thing when politicians make decisions on public funding for research. 

 

I find this a bit frustrating as a layperson, if those involved in the project did an "AMA" on reddit - I'd be interested.  
For example, what actually is the purpose?  Are they putting the instruments up there in the hope that they've got something there capable of measuring gamma radiation in case there's a supernova locally (in our galaxy it only happens every few hundred years) or is it capable of "imaging" supernovae in distant galaxies, or just looking at background gamma radiation, or all of those.  
That's some amazing balloon fabric if 22 acres of it is strong enough, radiation resistant enough, impervious enough to hold the helium for 100 days, and light enough.  What is it? Would make a hell of a spinnaker.
I was guessing above about why they launch it at mid-latitudes.  Why here and not in the Northern hemisphere?  Less chance of problems with air-traffic as it ascends or descends, better chance that if it fails in a big way that a few tonnes of payload won't land on someone's head, is there some difference in composition or wind in the upper stratosphere, less electromagnetic interference, or is it just that they want more options?

 

 

 

 

Some light reading re the payload.

 

 

 

http://cosi.ssl.berkeley.edu/

 

 

 

 

Yes - this is what I mean.  I learned something about the imager, little about the expectation for the mission.

 

 

 

If I launched into discussion over dinner with guests about the marvellous cryogenic cooling system on the germanium detector array, my wife would either have me certified or at least give me a decent earbashing.  OTOH a simple discussion about the amazing balloon launch and how it might tell us something really cool about the origins of the universe - I might get away with that.

 

(edit to add - I'd be happy if all they had to say is "we've got the gear, we know it's capabilities, we're going to send it up 'cause it might give us some really interesting information about nucleosynthsis in supernovae, big bang whatever - and for a stab in the dark mission, it's a hell of a lot less expensive than launching a satellite weighing several tonnes")

 

Meanwhile, it seems to be going well.  I was probably wrong about the use of earth.nullschool.net upper stratosphere wind modelling not being much use to plot the expected path.

 

Snipped screenshot below, I've marked the balloons approx position at the moment with a star, it's about where you'd expect it to be (perhaps a little North of) if wind direction at 110,000 feet is about the same as modelled wind at 87,000ft (10hPa).  So I guess it may come back this way after doing a big loop, as I suggested above, perhaps in about 4 days. That anticyclonic pattern in the upper stratosphere stays put over the Tasman for as long as modelling is shown (5 days).

 




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  Reply # 1555877 19-May-2016 23:45
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Photographed through a telescope by Ray Pickard from the Bathurst Observatory Research Facility, NSW

 

 

 

 

It's over the Australian Bight now, still at about 110,000 feet.




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  Reply # 1556808 21-May-2016 14:00
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On it's way back - perhaps:

 

 

 

 

Track overlaid on 10hPa wind.  It might not be coming this way, if it moves further South, then it might bypass NZ and head E, and we'll have to wait to see it (perhaps) after it's been around the planet.

 

Colour scale of that wind seems consistent with the present speed of the balloon, about 50 knots, but if that's right, then it may speed up (150km/h or so / 80 knots) as it enters the red/pink area.




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  Reply # 1557216 22-May-2016 12:15
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OK - it does indeed look like it's coming back over NZ  - in about a day.  Probably quite easily viewed and bright just before dawn or after dusk, so long as the sky is clear.

 

Quick direct link : to it's path since launch and present position plotted on google earth.




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  Reply # 1558175 23-May-2016 19:38
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Here it comes- hopefully:

 

 

Looking at the 10 hPa forecast and present low speed of the balloon, I hope it doesn't miss.  Could be a close thing from  the look of it to my untrained eye.  The centre of the anti-clockwise flow is moving east then dissipates , it might circle around off the Otago coast and then be gone, until it (hopefully) circumnavigates and passes over NZ next time around.

 

Still at 110,00 ft, heading WNW at 24 knots.


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  Reply # 1558213 23-May-2016 20:29
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surely won't be visible at 111,000ft


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  Reply # 1558229 23-May-2016 21:00
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Don't you have a decent set of binoculars? cool




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  Reply # 1558291 23-May-2016 22:18
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Actually, if my arithmetic is about right, then if it comes over at 110,000 feet at full inflation, it should be able to be seen at about the size of a soccer ball viewed from the length of a football field, morning or evening just before dawn or just after dusk, it should glow in sunlight.  It was seen easily by naked eye when over Australia at that altitude.




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  Reply # 1558388 24-May-2016 08:28
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Looks like it's not going to make it over NZ - unless you're in the Chatham Islands.  

 

Hopefully it'll be back in a month or so.

 

 


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  Reply # 1561047 28-May-2016 01:06
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Payload Track


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  Reply # 1561049 28-May-2016 01:11
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Zippity:

 

Payload Track

 

 

 

 

Damn, went over me and I didn't know! (Adelaide)




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  Reply # 1561484 29-May-2016 08:28
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It's doing about 95 knots (175 km/h) heading east (91 deg) across the S Atlantic.  It could get back here pretty quickly if that kept up - but looking at the wind at 10hPa, it could go any of three ways - head straight back here, end up doing a big loop over the Indian Ocean - then goodness knows, or end up doing a fast loop around Antarctica - then goodness knows.  The green circle marks its current position 

 

From that projection, not easy to see that if it heads a little south then it might end up looping the Antarctic and pass by NZ well to the South.

 

I'm amazed at how accurate the Earth.Nullschool data appears to be.

 

Payload position as of:
20:16:57Z 05/28/16

 

 

 

Latitude: 37°33.58 S
Longitude: 39°7.72 W
Altitude: 109091 Feet
94.47 Knots @ 91.00°

 


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  Reply # 1561541 29-May-2016 09:46
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Fred,

 

Where are you getting your data from?

 

 

 

Found it smile




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  Reply # 1561550 29-May-2016 10:07
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Zippity:

 

Fred,

 

Where are you getting your data from?

 

 Found it smile

 

 

 

 

Was about to reply and had links up - so here they are again anyway:

 

Wind:

 

https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/10hPa/orthographic=-187.81,-31.77,859

 

Real Tome balloon tracking:

 

http://www.csbf.nasa.gov/map/balloon9/flight669nt.htm

 

 

 

I believe that the wind data originates from NOAA.

 

From following the balloon progress since it launched, I'm surprised how accurate a guide it seems to have been, with wind speed, direction, and forecasting.

 

10 hPa is about 87,000 feet, 20,000 or so feet below the balloon's altitude, but seems pretty close to nailing what's happening up there.


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  Reply # 1561831 29-May-2016 18:22
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That is a _very_ cool link.

 

I wonder if I could use it as a desktop background, moving and updating itself.. (any ideas?)

 

Any other sites show weather data like this one?

 

 

 

A.

 

 


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