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The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0 DVD from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific is in our online store, filled with Earth and space science resources.
This aircraft is a modified Gulfstream V jet and can carry 5600 pounds of weather instruments that collect data from the Earth's atmosphere. The aircraft is maintained and operated for the National Science Foundation by the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
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Image courtesy of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Research Aircraft

Scientists sometimes travel in airplanes that carry weather instruments in order to gather data about the atmosphere. These research aircraft bring air from the outside into the plane so scientists can sample it and make measurements. Some research airplanes also carry radar and other special instruments.

Airplanes can collect information about many different parts of the atmosphere, including tiny particles called aerosols, clouds, winds, and radiation. They can also carry camera to take photographs of clouds from up in the air. Scientists use the information gathered by aircraft to learn more about topics like how clouds form, the effects of air pollution, and what causes turbulence.

Ships can also carry instruments that gather data about the atmosphere, the ocean, weather, and climate.

Last modified June 11, 2010 by Becca Hatheway.

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The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF