Design and evaluation of a balloon-borne electric field sensor
Christian, H. J. (Hugh J.)
Few, Arthur A.
Master of Science
A balloon-borne instrument has been developed which has the capability of making absolute measurements of the vector electric field inside thunderstorms and under fair weather conditions. Known as the Balloon Electric Field Sensor (BEFS), this device consists of a super-pressure spherical balloon and the associated electronics package which is mounted inside the balloon. The balloon, which has its surface divided into four conducting regions (in the shape of lunes), serves as both the measuring platform and the sensing element. Because of spherical symmetry and the absence of protrusions, calibration procedures are simplified, unknown field distortion factors are eliminated and corona problems are minimized. The BEFS measures the vertical and horizontal components of the ambient field in a total of three modes. By correlating these modes it is possible to separate the true field from various distorting effects.