Space Weather Monitors- Stanford SOLAR Center

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

Space Weather Monitors -- Preparing to Distribute Scientific Devices and Classroom Materials Worldwide for the IHY 2007 Students in Science and Engineering.

Scherrer, Deborah K. (Stanford U.); Benjamin Burress (Chabot Space & Science Center)

Stanford's Solar Center, in conjunction with the Space, Telecommunications and Radioscience Laboratory and local educators, have developed inexpensive Space Weather Monitors that students around the world can use to track solar-induced changes to the Earth's ionosphere.

Through the United Nations Basic Space Science Initiative (UNBSSI) and the IHY Education and Public Outreach Program, our Monitors have been designated for deployment to 191 countries for the International Heliophysical Year, 2007. In partnership with Chabot Space and Science Center, we are designing and developing classroom and educator support materials to accompany distribution of the monitors worldwide.

Earth's ionosphere reacts strongly to the intense x-ray and ultraviolet radiation released by the Sun during solar events and by lightning during thunderstorms. Students anywhere in the world can directly monitor and track these sudden ionospheric disturbances (SIDs) by using a VLF radio receiver to monitor the signal strength from distant VLF transmitters and noting unusual changes as the waves bounce off the ionosphere.

High school students "buy in" to the project by building their own antenna, a simple structure costing little and taking a couple hours to assemble. Data collection and analysis are handled by a local PC. Stanford is providing a centralized data repository where students and researchers can exchange and discuss data.

Chabot Space & Science Center is an innovative teaching and learning center focusing on astronomy and the space sciences. Formed as a Joint Powers Agency with the City of Oakland (California), the Oakland Unified School District, the East Bay Regional Park District, and in collaboration with the Eastbay Astronomical Society, Chabot addresses the critical issue of broad access to the specialized information and facilities needed to improve K-12 science education and public science literacy. Up to 2,000 K-12 teachers annually take part in Chabot's professional development programs, in turn reaching up to 60,000 students each year.

Through the Chabot/Stanford partnership, we will be developing, testing, and evaluating classroom activities and laboratory research projects targeted to high school and community college-level classrooms, and a 3-day Teacher Training Workshop which will eventually be provided as an online/DVD training course accessible to educators around the world. Materials will be translated into the six official languages of the United Nations: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.

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