ESS 265: Instrumentation, Data Processing and Data Analysis in Space Physics:

Course ID 578-390-200

Catalogue Description

Principles, testing and operations of magnetometers and other instruments. Data processing, display and archiving. Time series analysis techniques, including filtering. Fourier series, eigen analysis and power spectra.

Units 4.

Room 4677 Geology; Monday, Wednesday, 9:30-11:00 AM, and occasionally Friday. See detailed schedule.

Course grade will be assigned by consultation between the two lecturers: C. T. Russell and V. Angelopoulos.

Grading A/B/C preferred; S/U possible

The grades for the course will be based on the performance on assignments during the quarter. There is no final exam scheduled. The weighting for the final grade will be as follows:

  • Written assignment
  •   50%
  • Data analysis assignments
  •   50%

    Written Assignment

    Select a class of instrumentation used on space missions of a type not described in the class notes. Read about the different ways that this class of instruments has been implemented on different missions. Prepare a written report describing the operating principles, the strengths and limitations of this approach, eg.,accuracy and precision obtained. Describe the nature of the differences in various implementations. Include diagrams and instrument specifications such as dimensions, mass, power, data rates etc. Assignment will be due on May 7. This draft will be commented on and returned to the students. The final copy will be due on May 30.

    See book list for some helpful references.

    A number of software packages developed for both educational and research purposes may be useful for this class.

    We will maintain a set of lecture notes for this class online. Some of these from previous years will not be used but are maintained for background reading. Often links from earlier times get broken. Please let the instructors know when you find a broken link.

    Chapter 1. Access to Space
    Chapter 2. Mission Design
    Chapter 3. Past, Present, and Future Missions
    Chapter 4. Magnetometers (A History of Vector Magnetometry in Space by Bob Snare)
    Chapter 5. Ionospheric Instrumentation
    Chapter 6. Deep Space Instrumentation
    Chapter 7. Time Series Analysis Techniques in Space Physics
    Chapter 8. Fourier Wavelet Analysis
    Chapter 9. Correlation and Regression

    Chapter 10. Simulations
    Chapter 11. Distributed Information System

    Winter 2008 Lectures

    Lecture 1 Overview: Access to Space
    Lecture 2: Mission Design
    Introduction to bx Program, To accompany Exercise 1
    Introduction to bx Program, To accompany Exercise 2
    Introduction to Coherence, Polarization and Ellipticity: Background for Problem Sets 2 and 3
    Lecture 3: Past, Present and Future Missions
    Introduction to mx Program To accompany Exercise 3
    Lecture 4: Magnetometers
    Lecture 5: Electric Field Instruments
    Lecture 6: Decommutation and Processing of Fields Data
    Lecture 7: Low Energy Particle Detectors
    Lecture 8: High Energy Particle Detectors
    Lecture 9: Decommutation and processing of particle data
    Lecture 10: AC Magnetometers and Plasma Wave Detectors
    Introduction to XTRANS and Coordinate Transformation in conjunction with Problem Set 4
    Lecture 11: Radio Wave and Plasma Wave Measurements
    Lecture 12: Time series analysis techniques
    Lecture 13: Time series analysis techniques, continued
    Lecture 14: Imaging the Aurora
    Lecture 15: Inverting Magnetic Field Data
    Problem Set on Dynamic Spectra and Wave Analysis
    Lecture 16: Alternate Approaches to Time Series Analysis
    Lecture 17: Mission design and analysis and the birth of a new mission: ARTEMIS
    Time Series Analysis of Particles and Fields data: SST corrections
    Lecture 18: Interaction of Stellar Flows with Planets and Moons: Three-dimensional Hybrid Simulations

    Additional Materials

    Previous Lectures

    Ray Walker lessons available @

    McPherron first five (2001) lectures:

    McPherron programs and data files can be found at

    Text books:
    None required

    Updated April 15, 2008