Space Weather Monitors- Stanford SOLAR Center

SID Monitors
AWESOME Monitors
DataObtaining a Monitor
For Educators
Installation and Use
The Team

The AWESOME Monitor - Space Weather Monitors
The AWESOME Monitor
A tmospheric
  W eather
     E lectromagnetic
       S ystem for
           O bservation
             M odeling and
                 E ducation

Overview Presentations and Papers:

List of Technical Documents

Technical Details:

  • Deployment Notes (pdf)
  • AWESOME Preparations (pdf)
  • AWESOME Set Up (pdf)
  • AWESOME Software (pdf)
  • AWESOME Data (pdf)
  • VLF Transmitter List (pdf)
  • Matlab Scripts (pdf)
    Matlab Scripts Zip File
  • Antennas
    The AWESOME antenna is very simple. Details are given in the AWESOME Technical Manual. All you need is a + on the ground, with each of the four spokes of the + measuring 1.30m. Then you need a mast going verticle, with length measuring 1.30m. It can be made with wood, aluminum, piping, whatever is easiest. The two wire loops are right isosceles triangles, 2.60m base, 1.30m height, and the loops are held in place by the apparatus. The apparatus is somehow attached to the ground. More pictures, etc. available in the Tech Manual.

    AWESOME antenna in Elazig, Turkey

Sample Audio Data:

Since ELF and VLF studies fall in the 300 Hz - 30 kHz, they line up well with the frequencies of audio recognition. Hence, we can listen to the data stream as if it were audio. Here's a selected segment of data taken from Palmer Station, Antarctica:
Sample AWESOME Audio Signal
In this file, listen for three distinct types of sounds. The first and most prevalent is a series of clicks and pops. These signals, called "radio atmospherics" are short bursts of radiation originating from lightning strikes, which could be anywhere in the world. Most of the VLF/ELF energy released by lightning is trapped between the Earth and ionosphere, and thus can travel around the world. The second type signal you'll hear is a falling pitch, lasting a couple seconds, known for this reason as a "whistler". Whistlers are also comprised of energy released from lightning, except instead of propagating directly, these signals actually escape the atmosphere entirely, propagate along magnetic field lines and within the radiation belts (causing different frequencies to travel at different speeds), and land at the other end, where they reenter the atmosphere. The third and final noise is a VERY high pitched tone. You'll notice a pattern to it -- 1,2,3....1,2,3... These are navigation beacons operated in Russia, and are an example of a VLF transmitter, which can be used to remotely sense disturbances in the ionosphere.


The vertical lines on these spectrograms are "Radio Atmospherics" from distant (or close by, depending on intensity) lightning flashes, while the horizontal lines are the VLF transmitter signals, the phase and amplitude of which give us the ionospheric remote sensing capability. The thicker solid bars are calibration tones, regularly injected for setup but eventually removed.

Sample AWESOME data
from Santa Cruz, CA  USA
Sample Santa Cruz, CA USA Data



Related Projects and Articles:

  • Big gamma-ray flare from star disturbs Earth's ionosphere
    A Stanford article about Umran Inan and his studies of the ionosphere. Includes good information on how the ionosphere works.
  • HAIL Project (Holographic Array for Ionospheric Lightning) Project
    Designed to study the energy transfer between thunderstorms and the ionosphere.
  • NASA's INSPIRE Project
    A project to bring the excitement of observing natural and manmade radio waves in the audio region to high school students.
    A preamplifier to be used on a buoy deployed in the Southern Pacific ocean. These buoys will continually measure the magnetospheric response to the injection of ELF/VLF waves. The goal is to detect the so-called "one-hop" direct and the "two-hop" whistler mode echoes from the injection of ELF/VLF signals.
©2015 by Stanford SOLAR Center