Monday, January 16, 2017

UAVsonde for 16 January 2017

An ability designed into the BalloonSat Weather Station let's it become a UAVsonde or Aerosonde. I plan to fly it weekly and record weather conditions above my house.

At 2,280 feet
  Air Temperature: 15 *F
  Relative Humidity: too cold to measure
  Air Pressure: 1016.3 mb

At 2,608 feet
  Air Temperature: 12 *F
  Relative Humidity: to cold to measure
  Air Pressure: 1015.2 mb

These values may change as I improve the calibration of the sensors.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Sundogs and More

While driving home, I had the opportunity to see sun dogs guarding the sun. You may need to click on the images to see them in full.

Sun dogs are called Parhelia, which means, "beside the sun". Parhelia are the bright spots 22 degrees on either side of the sun. They are formed when sunlight  retracts through ice crystals suspended in the air.

Parhelia on the left and right sides of the sun.
Notice that the sun dogs are bright spots within the 22 degree halo centered on the sun. In addition, there appears to a faint Sun Pillar rising above the sun and a horizontal arc running between both sun dogs and the sun. The horizontal arc is called the Circumhorizontal Arc.

Above the sun was the Circumzenithal Arc shown below.

The Circumzenithal Arc visible above the sun.

The Circumzenithal Arc is tangent to a 46 degree radius arc centered on the sun. Below is a close-up of the Circumzenithal Arc.

The Circumzenithal Arc just touches and is tangent to the 46 degree halo surrounding the sun.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Quadcopter Flight Over the Snowy Yard

A sunny day with zero wind is a good time to fly the Quadcopter. It got this picture from an altitude between 300 and 400 feet. Yesterday our snow began to melt and you can see how it's making the snow hummocky.

Full Moon, January 11, 2017

The full moon had just risen as I went for an evening walk last night. Although it was just above freezing, the wind was non-existent and the humidity a little high. That made for a very comfortable walk under evening moonlight.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

More Testing with the New BalloonSat Weather Station

Testing is complete; the BalloonSat Weather Station can record temperature, pressure, relative humidity, speed, direction, altitude, and time. This lets the BalloonSat Weather Station record environmental data on the ground and in flight. Here are some more examples of the data it can collect.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Happy 75th Birthday Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking celebrates his birthday on January 9th. In celebration, we launched a near space in far away Idaho (far away from England, that is).

Stephen Hawking's Birthday Celebration in Near Space

At the altitude our balloon bursts, the air pressure is 98% vacuum. Also, the distance to the horizon is 372 miles. The launch took place on the border of Idaho and Oregon, so the video is showing parts of Nevada, California, Washington, and Utah along with most of Idaho and Oregon.

During the video, you'll see that the party balloons expand because of the reduced air pressure at altitude. As chemistry and physics students will recall, this is a result of Boyle's Law (1660).

Robert Boyle's work influenced Isaac Newton and it turns out, Stephen Hawking and Isaac Newton held the same chair at Trinity College (the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics).

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Imaging BalloonSat

I just recreated my Imaging BalloonSat. Now it has two Mobius ActionCams (one modified for near infrared and the other one left unmodified for visible light) and one Seek Reveal thermal imager.

The Mobius ActionCams are modified so transistor switches can operate their shutters. The Seek Reveal is operated with a servo pushing on it's shutter button.

Right now the imagers are mounted inside a Coroplast frame. Next I'll build the Styrofoam airframe. The Coroplast frame bolts inside the Styrofoam airframe.

Here is a set of sample images.

Long-wave Infrared

Near Infrared

Visible Light