Wednesday, 1 January 2014

100 years of measuring the geomagnetic field

Today, 1st January 2014, Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory (SGO) celebrates 100 years of  official geomagnetic measurements.

Yesterday at the observatory, we went down to the archives to take a look at those very first measurements. Well, here they are:

The original measurement records from SGO.
29-Dec-1913 - 01-Jan-1914 (Photo: D. McKay-Bukowski)

Current director, Esa Turunen, inspecting the original measurement
records from the archive. (Photo: D. McKay-Bukowski)


The oldest routine task of SGO is the regular measurement of the Earth's magnetic field. These measurements began on 1st January 1914 and continue until today. The only gap in the time series is between 16th September 1944 and 1st January 1947 due to the destruction of the observatory during the Lapland War.

The magnetic measurement huts (Image: SGO)

The analogue La Cour instrument was in operation until 31st December 1995. Nowadays digital data is produced in the variation room of the observatory by a Polish torsion photoelectric magnetometer (TPM), a Russian TPM magnetometer and a Danish fluxgate magnetometer (FGE). Weekly measurements of the absolute magnetic field provide the base line control.


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