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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 26, issue 11
Ann. Geophys., 26, 3295–3316, 2008
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-26-3295-2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 26, 3295–3316, 2008
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-26-3295-2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  21 Oct 2008

21 Oct 2008

Least-squares multi-spacecraft gradient calculation with automatic error estimation

J. De Keyser J. De Keyser
  • Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB), Ringlaan 3, 1180 Brussels, Belgium

Abstract. Multi-spacecraft missions allow the gradient of important physical quantities in the terrestrial environment to be determined. The gradient can be computed from four simultaneous measurements in a straightforward way, but this computation does not produce proper error estimates, making it hard to assess the meaningfulness of the result. Recently developed least-squares gradient computation techniques offer the possibility to obtain more precise results with all-inclusive error estimates, provided that information about the non-linearity of the space and time variations of the observed quantity is given. The present paper describes several heuristics for estimating these variations, thereby enabling a fully automatic computation of the gradient and the associated error estimates. The performance of these heuristics is illustrated with synthetic data corresponding to 4- and 10-spacecraft configurations.

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