Calculating Total Electron Content under the presence of the Aurora Borealis in Fairbanks, Alaska, and Kiruna, Sweden.

Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Arian Ehteshami1, Hamza Ahmad2 and Bering Edgar2, (1)University of Houston Clear Lake, Houston, TX, United States, (2)University of Houston, Houston, TX, United States
With the presence of the ionosphere and plasmasphere interacting with geomagnetic storms, scattering effects can be seen by the signals sent to and by GPS/GLONASS satellites. To quantify this dispersive effect, scientists look into what the culprit is that causes this signal bias on an atomic level. Results have shown that the concentration of oscillating electrons is directly proportional to the amount of bias the signal from a point on earth to a GPS satellite witnesses. This is called the Total Electron Content (TEC) of a specified path, measured in electrons per meters squared (. In this project, the process of collecting and analyzing TEC units was kept the same as the previous methods while keeping the cost below $3,000. Using a dual-frequency GNSS receiver from Javad, Triumph-2, the project team recorded a series of 24 hour interval data logs as the receiver stored incoming signals from any reachable satellite. Because of the dispersive media in the ionosphere, the signal witnesses a bend in its path causing a delay, called the Slant TEC (sTEC). Using libraries from GPStk and TEQC, we analyzed RINEX files to view the differential phase and differential pseudorange frequency to compute slant TEC units (sTECU). Using the obtained data, we analyzed the difference between the sTEC units collected in Houston, Texas to the ones collected in Fairbanks, Alaska. Afterwards, the project will continue on another balloon in Kiruna, Sweden at the Esrange Space Center. The receiver will be in flight this time on a 48 hour flight.