, Volume 141, Issue 1-4, pp 235-264
Date: 16 May 2008

The THEMIS Fluxgate Magnetometer

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Abstract

The THEMIS Fluxgate Magnetometer (FGM) measures the background magnetic field and its low frequency fluctuations (up to 64 Hz) in the near-Earth space. The FGM is capable of detecting variations of the magnetic field with amplitudes of 0.01 nT, and it is particularly designed to study abrupt reconfigurations of the Earth’s magnetosphere during the substorm onset phase. The FGM uses an updated technology developed in Germany that digitizes the sensor signals directly and replaces the analog hardware by software. Use of the digital fluxgate technology results in lower mass of the instrument and improved robustness. The present paper gives a description of the FGM experimental design and the data products, the extended calibration tests made before spacecraft launch, and first results of its magnetic field measurements during the first half year in space. It is also shown that the FGM on board the five THEMIS spacecraft well meets and even exceeds the required conditions of the stability and the resolution for the magnetometer.