Space Weather Monitor program is an education project to build
and distribute inexpensive ionospheric monitors to students around
the world. The monitors detect solar flares and other ionospheric
disturbances. Two versions of the monitor exist - one simple and
low-cost, named SID, and one research quality, called AWESOME.
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).
from the low ionosphere
Photo courtesy Jorgen Hedin
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.
Because there are VLF transmitters scattered around the world,
the monitors can be placed virtually anywhere there is access
to power. Stanford is also providing a centralized
data repository and blog
site where students can exchange and discuss data.
monitors were inspired by the AAVSO
SID Program and the AWESOME monitors derived from the HAIL
more information on related projects and websites, visit our references
July 2007: An
map of SID & AWESOME sites is now available.
30 May 2007: The SID monitors were featured in the
Stanford Report. See "Solar
monitors distributed to encourage interest in science."
19 February 2007: The IHY
Opening Ceremonies were held at the United Nations
would like to arrange for Mentors
to serve as contacts and support for teachers and students in
various developing regions of the world who are using our monitors.
Heliophysical Year (IHY), 2007, Organizing Committee
has designated our Space Weather Monitors as supported
projects of the IHY. We hope to place monitors in each
of the 191 nations of the (UN-designated) world!
Credits: Earth image courtesy of NASA.
Earth from the lower ionopshere courtesy Jorgen Hedin and Michael
Erneland, taken from an atmospheric balloon high about Rovaniemi,
IHY UN Opening Ceremonies photo by Dr. Pitan Singhasaneh