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FAIRBANKS, Alaska—After days of waiting for precise aurora conditions, a team from the University of Iowa finally saw the launch of its two scientific sounding rockets from Poker Flat Research Range. The NASA rockets launched Jan. 29, just before 1 a.m. Alaska Standard Time, and flew through an auroral curtain, collecting data throughout their flights. Scientists with the Auroral Current and Electrodynamics Structure mission, or ACES for short, aimed to gain a clearer picture of aurora structure by simultaneously collecting data from both the top and bottom edges of an auroral arc. To get the data, two rockets were launched. A two-stage Black Brant IX launched at 12:49 a.m. and reached an altitude of more than 226 miles. The rocket flew for just under 10 minutes. At 12:50 a.m., a single-stage Black Brant V launched, reaching an altitude of nearly 83 vertical miles, flying for roughly eight minutes. The payloads of each ACES rocket performed well during flight. Principal Investigator Scott Bounds of the University of Iowa and the ACES team will begin to analyze all of the data collected, which should keep them busy for the next year. Bounds said this information will help refine current models of aurora structure. The ACES mission will provide insight on the structural subtleties of the aurora, details that researchers may have missed when previous measurements were done using only a single vehicle.
The ACES rockets were loaded onto launchers and had been ready to fly since Jan. 14. Each evening scientists scanned the sky with cameras at local and downrange sites for a sufficient auroral arc to appear just north of Fort Yukon. A stable, thin arc was required for the experiment to perform optimally and finally that arc appeared early on Jan. 29. Bounds, from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Iowa, worked on six previous launches from Poker Flat Research Range as a postdoctoral fellow and as a coinvestigator.
The ACES mission is the first project he's managed as the principal investigator.
"I certainly feel relieved now that we've launched," Bounds said. "The pressure was much greater before today."
Bounds and his team aren't taking much time to re-group. The team plans to return to Poker Flat Research Range in 2010, as the University of Iowa is a collaborator for another launch scheduled at the range.
Poker Flat Research Range is the largest land-based sounding rocket range in the world. It's located 30 miles north of Fairbanks on the Steese Highway. The Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks operates the range under contract to NASA.

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Science & Technology
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The northern lights or aurora borealis fill the western sky Friday, March 9, 2012, above the Russian Orthodox Saint Nicholas Memorial Chapel in Kenai, Alaska. The display of lights came in the aftermath of a solar storm that struck Earth on Thursday. (AP Photo/Peninsula Clarion, M. Scott Moon)


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Chen, L., C. A. Kletzing, S. Hu, and S. R. Bounds, Auroral electron dispersion below inverted-V energies: Resonant deceleration and acceleration by Alfven waves, J. Geophys. Res., 110, A10S13, doi:10.1029/2005JA011168, 2005.
C. A. Kletzing, S. R. Bounds, J. Martin-Hiner, W. Gekelman, and C. Mitchell, Measurements of the shear Alfven wave dispersion for finite perpendicular wave number, Phys. Rev. Lett, 10.1103/PhysRevLet.90.0350004, 2003.
C. A. Kletzing and S. Hu, Alfven Wave Generated Electron Time Dispersion, Geophys. Res. Lett., 28, 693, 2001.
K. Stasiewicz, P. Bellan, C. Chaston, C. Kletzing, R. Lysak, J. Maggs, O. Pokhotelov, C. Seyler, P. Shukla, L. Stenflo, A. Streltsov, and J.M--E. Wahlund, Small Scale Alfvenic Structures, Space Sci. Rev., 92, 423, 2000.
Kletzing, C. A., Electron Acceleration by Shear Alfven Waves in a Cylindrical Geometry, poster presentation to IPELS '97 conference, July, 1997.
Kletzing, C. A., Sharp Boundaries and Dispersion of Inertial Alfven Waves, EOS suppl., 78, S269, 1997.
Kletzing, C. A., Electron Acceleration by Kinetic Alfven Waves, J. Geophys. Res., 99 , 11095, 1994.
Electron Beam Electric Field Measurements
G. Paschmann, N. Sckopke, H. Vaith, J. M. Quinn, O. H. Bauer, W. Baumjohann, W. Fillius, G. Haerendel, S. S. Kerr, C. A. Kletzing, K. Lynch, C. E. McIlwain, R. B. Torbert, E. C. Whipple, EDI gyro time measurements on Equator-S, Annales Geophysicae, 17, 1513, 1999.
Kletzing, C. A., G. Paschmann, and M. Boehm, Electric Field Measurements Using the Electron Beam Technique at Low Altitudes, in Measurement Techniques in Space Plasmas, AGU Monograph Series, 103. 53, 1998
Kletzing, C. A., G. Paschmann, M. H. Boehm, G. Haerendel, N. Sckopke, W. Baumjohann, R. B. Torbert, G. Marklund and P.-A. Lindqvist, Electric fields derived from electron drift measurements, Geophys. Res. Lett., 21, 1863, 1994.
Plasma Sheet Physics from Polar
C. A. Kletzing, J. D. Scudder, E. E. Dors, and C. Curto, The auroral source region: plasma properties of the high altitude plasma sheet, J. Geophys. Res.,
J. Geophys. Res., 108, 1360, doi:10.1029/2002JA009678, 2003.
J. R.Wygant, A. Keiling, C. Cattell, R. L. Lysak, M.Temerin, F. S. Mozer, C. T. Russell, and C. A. Kletzing, Correlation of Alfven wave Poynting flux in the
plasma sheet at 4-7 RE with ionospheric electron energy flux, J. Geophys. Res., 107, 2002.
A. Keiling, J. R. Wygant, C. Cattell, M.Temerin, F. S. Mozer, C. A. Kletzing, J. Scudder, C. T. Russell, Properties of large electric fields in the plasma sheet at 4M--7 RE measured with Polar, Geophys. Res., in press, 2001.
A. Keiling, J. R. Wygant, C. Cattell, M.Temerin, F. S. Mozer, C. A. Kletzing, J. Scudder, C. T. Russell, W. Lotko, and A. Streltsov, Large Alfven wave power in the plasma sheet boundary layer during the expansion phase of substorms , Geophys. Res. Lett., 27, 3169, 2000.
J. R. Wygant, A. Keiling, C. A. Cattell, M. Johnson, R. L. Lysak, M. Temerin, F. S. Mozer, C. A. Kletzing, W. Peterson, C. T. Russell, G. Parks, M. Brittnacher, Polar Spacecraft Based Comparisons of Intense Electric Fields and Poynting Flux Near and Within the Plasma sheet - Tail Lobe Boundary to UVI Images: An Energy Source for the Aurora, J. Geophys. Res., 8, 18675, 2000.
Kletzing, C. A., and J. D. Scudder, Auroral-Plasma Sheet Electron Anisotropy, Geophys. Res. Lett,, 26, 971, 1999.
Cattell, C. A., J. Dombeck, J. R. Wygant, M. K. Hudson, F. S. Mozer, M. A. Termerin, W. K. Peterson, C. A. Kletzing, C. T. Russell, and R. F. Pfaff, Comparisons of Polar satellite observations of solitary wave velocities in the plasma sheet boundary and the high altitude cusp to those in the auroral zone, Geophys. Res. Lett., 26, 425, 1999.
Other Polar Science
Toivanen, P. K. , Baker, D. N. , Peterson, W. K. , Singer, H. J. , Turner, N. E. , Li, X. ; Kauristie, K. , Syrjasuo, M. ,Viljanen, A. , Pulkkinen, T. I. , Keiling, A. , Wygant, J. R. , Kletzing, C. A. 2001Reconciliation of the substorm onset determined on the ground and at the Polar spacecraft Geophys. Res. Lett. 28, 107, 2001
Auroral Physics
Kletzing, C. A. and L. Muschietti, Phase correlation waves, in ”Geospace Radiation and Plasma Waves”, J. LaBelle and R. A. Treumann, eds., Springer-Verlag, 2006.
C. A. Kletzing, S. R. Bounds, J. LaBelle, and M. Samara, Observation of the reactive component of Langmuir wave phase-bunched electrons, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L05106, doi:10.1029/2004GL021175, 2005.
M. Samara, J. LaBelle, C. A. Kletzing, S. R. Bounds, Rocket observations of structured upper hybid waves at fuh = 2fce, Geophys. Res. Lett.,31, doi: 10.1029/2004GL021043, 2004.
D.Schriver, M. Ashour-Abdalla,R. J. Strangeway,R. L.Richard, C. Kletzing, Y. Dotan, J. Wygant, FAST/Polar conjunction study of field-aligned auroral
acceleration and corresponding magnetotail drivers, J. Geophys. Res.,108, 8020, 10.1029/2002JA009426, 2003
Dors, Eric E., and C.A. Kletzing, Effects of Suprathermal Tails on Auroral Electrodynamics, J. Geophys. Res., 104, 6783, 1999..
Kletzing, C. A., F. S. Mozer, R. B. Torbert, Electron Temperature and Density at High Latitude, J. Geophys. Res., 103, 14837, 1998
Mozer, F. S. and C. A. Kletzing, Direct observation of large, quasi-static, parallel electric fields in the auroral acceleration region, Geophys. Res. Lett., 25, 1629, 1998.
Kletzing, C. A., G. Berg, M. C. Kelley, F. Primdahl, and R. B. Torbert, The electrical and precipitation characteristics of morning sector S un-aligned auroral arcs, J. Geophys. Res., 101, 17175, 1996
G. A. Berg, M. C. Kelley, M. Mendillo, R. Doe, J. Vickrey, C. Kletzing, F. Primdahl, and K. B. Baker, Formation and eruption of Sun-aligned arcs at the polar cap-auroral oval boundary, J. Geophys. Res., 99, 17577, 1994.
C. A. Kletzing and R. B. Torbert, Electron Time Dispersion, J. Geophys. Res., 99 , 2159, 1994 .
J. C. Williamson, R. O. Torres-Isea, and C. A. Kletzing, Analyzing Linear and Angular Momentum Conservation in Digital Movies of Puck Collisions, Am. J. Phys., 68, 841, 2000.