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Plasma Frequency, Electron Temperature, and Thunderstorm Noise


Availability: Archived at NSSDC, accessible from elsewhere

Time span: 1967-05-05 to 1968-05-10


These data are in BCD format. They were originally generated on an IBM 7094 computer at the Radio and Space Research Station, Slough, England. They are typically at a fixed time interval of 27.92 s between records. Each record contains data from the Langmuir Probe, Terrestrial Radio (Thunderstorm) Noise, and Radio Frequency Capacitance Probe instruments. Information given at the beginning of each file consists of day number (01 January 1967 is day number 1), approximate Greenwich mean time in whole hours, telemetry station name, and an error code.

The electron density data are expressed in each record in terms of plasma frequency values in MHz. The electron temperature values are expressed in degrees K.

Thunderstorm noise data consist of average noise intensity (in decibels above 1 microvolt/m), and pulse counts/s for three pairs of receivers. The receiver frequencies were 15.004 and 14.996, 10.002 and 9.998, and 5.002 and 4.998 MHz. Supplementary information includes the radius of observation in kilometers at 5, 10, and 15 MHz; and the ionospheric attenuation in decibels of the 5-, 10-, and 15-MHz reception.

Additional data in each record are local and universal time, latitude and longitude (deg), height of the satellite (km), gyrofrequency (MHz), critical frequency fxF2 (MHz), and height of the F2 maximum (km). These last two parameters were obtained from the NOAA ionospheric prediction maps.

A subset of the electron temperature data is available as NSSDC data collection SPIO-00063.

A graphical form of these data also appears as NSSDC data collection SPIO-00165.

Data are available online at

Alternate Names

  • Plasma Frequency Values
  • Electron Density and Temperature and Thunderstorm Noise


  • Earth Science: Atmospheric Dynamics
  • Space Physics: Ionospheric Studies


  • 67-042A-04A
  • 67-042A-06A

Additional Information



Questions and comments about this data collection can be directed to: Dr. Dieter K. Bilitza



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Prof. J. SayersData ProviderUniversity of Birmingham
Mr. Robert M. CandeyGeneral ContactNASA Goddard Space Flight
Mr. John A. MurphyGeneral ContactRutherford Appleton Laboratory

Selected References

  • Wager, J. H., The University of Birmingham electron density and temperature experiments on the Ariel 3 satellite, Radio Electron. Eng., 35, 55-63, doi:10.1049/ree.1968.0011, Jan. 1968.
  • Ariel 3 symposium, Proc. of Ariel 3 Symp., Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., May 22-23, 1968
  • Horner, F., and R. B. Bent, Measurement of terrestrial radio noise, Proc. Roy. Soc. A., 311, 527-542, doi:10.1098/rspa.1969.0133, 1969.
  • Harden, B. N., and V. A. W. Harrison, Satellite-borne equipment for a global survey of terrestrial radio noise, Radio Elect. Engin., Unnumbered, Mar. 1968.
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