POGO satellite orbit corrections: an opportunity to improve the quality of the geomagnetic field measurements?

Reto Stockmann, Freddy Christiansen, Nils Olsen, Andrew Jackson

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We present an attempt to improve the quality of the geomagnetic field measurements from the Polar Orbiting Geophysical Observatory (POGO) satellite missions in the late 1960s. Inaccurate satellite positions are believed to be a major source of errors for using the magnetic observations for field modelling. To improve the data, we use aniterative approach consisting of two main parts: one is a main field modelling process to obtain the radial fieldgradient to perturb the orbits and the other is the state-of-the-art GPS orbit modelling software BERNESE to calculatenew physical orbits. We report results based on a single-day approach showing a clear increase of the data quality. That single-day approach leads, however, to undesirable orbital jumps at midnight. Furthermore, we report results obtained for a much larger data set comprising almost all of the data from the three missions. With this approach, weeliminate the orbit discontinuities at midnight but only tiny quality improvements could be achieved forgeomagnetically quiet data. We believe that improvements to the data are probably still possible, but it would require the original tracking observations to be found.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102
JournalEarth, Planets and Space
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited.


  • Inverse theory
  • Satellite magnetics
  • Satellite orbits

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