Obtaining Monitors and Getting Involved

The Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA) is partnering with the Stanford Solar Center to distribute SuperSID monitors. To request an application for a monitor, complete the form at at: SARA SuperSID

Are you a high school or community college educator who would like to start a SID project for your classroom?

We are soliciting high school and community college teachers who would be interested in having a SID monitor for their class. Supplies are quite limited, and monitors are most frequently placed in schools serving under-represented students. We prefer to have educators work with a local mentor, someone knowledgable about science or electronics, to assist with the monitor and data analysis. If you do not have such a mentor, it is possible we can locate one for you.

Are you a ham radio operator, an amateur astronomer, or university teacher, researcher, or student who would like to get involved?

We would very much like to pair up interested amateurs, as well university teachers and/or students, with local classrooms wishing to establish a SID project. If you are such a person and know of a local classroom to work with, please let us know! If you do not have any local classroom contacts, we may be able to arrange some for you. Read more about becoming a mentor.

Where did the SID monitor idea come from?

People in the American Association of Variable Star Observers (remember, our Sun is a variable star) have designed and been using for years a radio receiver to pick up the VLF signals we need to track. A simple, Easy-to-Build, SID Receiver tells how to build the AAVSO inexpensive model. Although the electronic circuit is easy to assemble, it is difficult to debug and tune.

Through the Stanford Solar SID Project, we have designed a more robust and easier to use SID monitor that comes preassembled and pretuned. To use it, students need to build their own antenna (easy and quick), hook up the SID monitor to a small computer (old and slow is ok), and start taking data! Our SID monitor was designed to do research in a classroom environment -- its goal is for simplicity and its focus is on Solar SID events.

Our expectations are to place 100 Solar SID monitors in high schools and community colleges throughout the nation, with an emphasis on those that serve under-represented populations of students. Whereever possible, schools will be paired with university solar reseachers or students, amateur ham radio operators, or amateur variable star observers who can serve as mentors to the teachers and students using the SIDs. For detailed information on the Stanford SID monitors, see our SID Manual.

Where did the AWESOME monitor idea come from?

In association with Stanford's Holographic Array for Ionospheric Lightning (HAIL) project, we have also designed a research-quality monitor that will not only track solar effects on the ionosphere, but nighttime ones as well. These AWESOME monitors are designed to capture frequencies in the 30 Hz-50 kHz range and are sensitive enough to pick up the miniscule signal from a digital watch in the vicinity, thus making them able to detect a wide range of atmospheric disturbances in the ionosphere. The data are useful not only to students but also researchers studying the physical nature of changes in the lower ionosphere produced by electrified tropospheric thunderstorms and associated lightning activity as well as the effects of lightning discharges on the radiation belts. The AWESOME monitors are being placed in universities around the world for daytime and nighttime research and for the generation of data useful in professional scientific investigations.