Space Weather Monitors -- A Global Education and Small Instruments Program for
the IHY 2007
Scherrer, D K; Mitchell, R; Cohen, M; Clark, W; Styner, R; Roche, A;
Scherrer, P; Inan, U; Lee, S; Winegarden, S; Tan, J; Khanal, S
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 around the world can directly monitor and track these
sudden ionospheric disturbances (SIDs) by using a receiver to monitor the
signal strength from distant VLF transmitters, and noting unusual changes
as the waves bounce off the ionosphere. Stanford's Solar Center, in conjunction
with the Space, Telecommunications and Radioscience Laboratory and local educators,
have developed inexpensive ionospheric disturbance monitors that students
can install and use at their local schools. 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 can exchange and discuss data. Two versions of the monitors
exist -- a low-cost version (nicknamed "SID") designed to detect solar
flares, and a more sensitive version ("AWESOME") that provides both
solar and nighttime research-quality data. Both monitors are currently
being placed in high schools and community colleges around the US.
Students will have the opportunity to work with a researcher "mentor"
to collect and interpret data. Our space weather monitors have been chosen
as educational and small intruments projects for deployment to 191 countries
around the world for the International Heliophysical Year, 2007.
Our presentation will focus on the educational aspects of the Space Weather