• PMSE;
  • NLC;
  • ice;
  • mesopause;
  • rocket;
  • aerosol

[1] A magnetically shielded, charge collecting rocket probe was used on two flights in the MIddle Atmosphere Dynamics and Structure (MIDAS) Studies of Layered STructures and ICE (SOLSTICE) 2001 rocket campaign over Andøya, Norway. The probe was a graphite collection surface with a permanent magnet underneath to deflect electrons. The first MIDAS was launched 17 June 2001 into a strong, multiply layered PMSE. The probe measured negative particles inside an electron biteout within the PMSE, having a peak charge number density of −1500 charges per cubic centimeter. The second MIDAS was launched 24 June 2001 into another strong, multiply layered PMSE. The probe saw a band of positive particles centered in the lowest radar echo maximum, and a negative particle layer accompanied by a positive ion excess. The charge number densities for the positive and negative PMSE particles were several thousand charges per cubic centimeter. Unexpectedly, 2 km beneath the PMSE, the probe also found a very pronounced negative layer, which was probably an NLC. Computer simulations of incoming, negatively charged ice grains were performed using a rarefied flow field representative of the MIDAS payload at zero angle of attack. Ice grains ≤1 nm in radius were diverted by the leading shock front, indicating the smallest detectable ice particle by this probe.