Space Weather Monitors- Stanford SOLAR Center

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

Scherrer, Deborah, Ray Mitchell, Morris Cohen, "Connecting the Earth to the Sun: Students Monitor Solar Disturbances to Earth's Ionosphere"; poster presentation at North American IHY Community Science Planning Workshop, Boulder, CO; 16-18 Feb, 2005.

Earth's ionosphere reacts strongly to the intense x-ray and ultraviolet radiation released by the Sun during a solar event. By using a receiver to monitor the signal strength from distant VLF transmitters, and noting unusual changes as the waves bounce off the ionosphere, students around the world can directly monitor and track these Sudden Ionospheric Disturbances (SIDs).

Stanford's Solar Center, in conjunction with the Electrical Engineering Department’s Very Low Frequency group and local educators, have developed inexpensive SID monitors that students can install and use at their local high schools. Students "buy in" to the project by building their own antenna, a simple structure costing less than $10 and taking a couple hours to assemble. Data collection and analysis is handled by a local PC, which need not be fast or elaborate. Stanford provides a centralized data repository and chat site where students can exchange and discuss data.

Because there are VLF transmitters scattered around the world, the monitors can be placed virtually anywhere there is access to power.

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