Magnetic gradiometry using frequency-domain filtering

Jodie B. Ream*, Benjamin P. Weiss, Rona Oran, Carol A. Raymond, Carol A. Polanskey, Daniel D. Wenkert, Linda T Elkins-Tanton, Richard A Hart, Christopher T Russell, Jose M G Merayo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Accurate measurements of ambient planetary and interplanetary magnetic fields using spacecraft magnetometers typically require accounting for interfering magnetic fields generated by the flight system (FS). The most common method for removing FS-generated time-variable magnetic fields is narrow-band and low-pass filtering of magnetic field data in the frequency domain. However, if fluctuations in the ambient field contain frequencies overlapping those in the FS field, it can be difficult to construct a filter that will not affect both signals. Here we present an alternate method for removing FS time-variable signatures from magnetic field measurements. For spacecraft that make use of a magnetic gradiometer (i.e. with two or more instruments on a boom at different distances from the center of the spacecraft), the dominant frequencies in the FS field can be identified using spectra of the differenced field components. The amplitudes of the FS field at those frequencies can then be suppressed without removing spectral peaks present in the ambient field. We demonstrate the successful application of this method, referred to as gradiometry peak suppression, both to modeled data sets and to 128 Hz Venus Express magnetometer data.
Original languageEnglish
Article number015104
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number1
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Gradiometry
  • Spectral analysis
  • Magnetic fields


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