ICON at Cal Day, UC Berkeley's Open House

Life-size payload model popular with public

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On April 22, 2017, members of the ICON team showed off a life-size 3D-printed ICON payload mock-up—built by Space Dynamics Lab—at Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) for Cal Day, UC Berkeley’s all-day Open House. PI Thomas Immel was on hand to answer questions. Nearly 1500 visitors, primarily families, made the extra trip up the hill from campus (where most activities were happening) to LHS and through the main hall, where the life-size model and other ICON outreach activities were featured.

Two NASA satellites slated for 2017 launch will focus on edge of space

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- Robert Sanders, Berkeley News.  Scientists at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory are preparing for the 2017 launch of an Earth-orbiting satellite to discover how storms in the atmosphere affect storms in the ionosphere.

The ionosphere is the edge of space where the sun ionizes the air in Earth’s atmosphere to create constantly shifting streams and sheets of charged particles.

The NASA-funded satellite, called the Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, will complement observations from a sister satellite also scheduled for launch in 2017: the Global Observations of the Limb and Disk, or GOLD. GOLD is being led by the University of Central Florida, though UC Berkeley space scientist Scott England works on both missions.

A Cake to Celebrate a Milestone

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The team working on ICON’s payload had a party over the weekend to commemorate their working together for the past year and their “empty nester” status now that the instrument has gone to Utah (Space Dynamics Lab) for testing and integration. UC Berkeley Electrical Engineer and party host Dorothy Gordon ordered the festive ICON cake from a local bakery. She said, “I had a great time working with the ICON-ICP (instrument control package) team and just wanted to get them all together again before we all drift off.” The send-off after their intensive work together takes place one year before ICON launches, so the cake could also be an “anti-birthday cake” celebrating ICON’s minus-one birthday!

El Niño has effects all the way to the edge of the atmosphere.

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-- December 16, 2015

The warm El Niño conditions affecting weather around the Pacific Ocean are also affecting conditions in space, according to University of California, Berkeley scientists.

El Niño is commonly observed as a global change in rainfall due to changes in temperature in the Pacific Ocean. However, UC Berkeley scientists report today at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco that the processes that lead to increased precipitation are also driving unexpected changes in the ionosphere, the uppermost level of the atmosphere.

The findings (AGU abstract #SA31F-2383) will be presented by Dr. Thomas Immel, and are based on calculations by Dr. Astrid Maute of the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, Colorado.

“We expected that we would see some changes in the ionosphere when we started this study” says Dr. Immel, a Senior Fellow at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory, “but we were shocked at how strong the effect has turned out to be”.
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ICON skin is based on Greytness by Adammer
Background image, courtesy of NASA, is a derivitave of photograph taken by D. Pettit from the ISS, used under Creative Commons license