Cluster Status Report - November 2006
10 November 2006 11:21Mission Status
All four spacecraft successfully went through the long eclipse season which has just finished. A new mode of operation called "decoder only", where the on-board computer and all other sub-systems are switched off, was defined on spacecraft 1 since the batteries are now very weak. This spacecraft came out successfully of the eclipse and was re-configured by the ESOC flight control team.
To warm up the spacecraft and re-charge the batteries, the instruments were switched off from the first eclipse up to the last one (from 15 to 23 September) on spacecraft 1. The other three spacecraft recorded data as usual in between eclipses.
Operations and Archiving
JSOC and ESOC operations are continuing nominally. The data return from June 2006 to end of August 2006 was on average 99.8%.
The Cluster Active Archive is operating nominally. User access is growing every month and a total of 256 users were registered at the end of August (more than 80% increase since the last report). The CAA data download was 61 GBytes during August 2006 (increased by more than 125% as compared to July 2006). Future work will be devoted to increasing the efficiency of the ingestion process and developing additional quicklook plots and on-demand plots.
A new paper by C.J. Xiao et al. was accepted in Nature Physics. This is a new Nature Journal that was started in 2005 and is published monthly as opposed to the classical Nature published weekly. The article has been written by a team of Chinese scientists from Peking University and European scientists and is on magnetic reconnection in the tail, where Cluster could detect for the first time a magnetic null. Magnetic nulls are expected in the centre of the reconnection when the two opposite field cancel each other before reconnecting.