NIGHTGLOW: an instrument to measure the Earth’s nighttime ultraviolet glow—results from the first engineering flight
We have designed and built an instrument to measure and monitor the "nightglow" of the Earth's atmosphere in the near ultraviolet (NUV). In this paper we describe the design of this instrument, called NIGHTGLOW. NIGHTGLOW is designed to be flown from a high altitude research balloon, and circumnavigate the globe. NIGHTGLOW is a NASA, University of Utah, and New Mexico State University project. A test flight took place from Palestine, Texas on July 5, 2000, lasting about 8 h. The instrument performed well and landed safely in Stiles, Texas with little damage. The resulting measurements of the NUV nightglow are compared with previous measurements from sounding rockets and balloons.