Space Weather Monitors- Stanford SOLAR Center

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

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About the Space Weather Monitor Program

Earth from Space and SunThe 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.

Quick overview of SID Monitors Quick overview of AWESOME monitors

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).

Earth from the low ionosphere Earth from the low ionosphere
Photo courtesy Jorgen Hedin

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. 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.

Our SID monitors were inspired by the AAVSO SID Program and the AWESOME monitors derived from the HAIL Program. For more information on related projects and websites, visit our references page.

What's New

3 July 2007: An interactive 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."

IHY Opening Ceremonies
19 February 2007
: The IHY Opening Ceremonies were held at the United Nations in Vienna.

Other Announcements:
We 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.

IHY logo
The International 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!
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Image 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, Finland.
IHY UN Opening Ceremonies photo by Dr. Pitan Singhasaneh

©2008 by Stanford SOLAR Center