Space Weather Monitors- Stanford SOLAR Center

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

Scherrer, Deborah, Morris Cohen, Ray Mitchell, Students Monitor Solar Disturbances to Earth's Ionosphere -- A Potential Educational Project for the International Heliophysical Year" Poster; IAGA Conference, 22 July 2005, Toulouse, France, May 2005; Session GAIV05: International Heliophysical Year: A program of global research

Earth's ionosphere reacts strongly to the intense x-ray and ultraviolet radiation released by the Sun during a solar event. 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 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 will be providing a centralized data repository and blog 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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