Category Archives: Space Weather

Building a Raspberry Pi magnetometer network

Source: Ciarán D. Beggan and Steve R. Marple

(Source: Southgate ARC)

Ciarán Beggan of the British Geological Survey describes how a network of 9 Raspberry Pi magnetometers were deployed to schools around the UK to measure geomagnetic storms

As computers such as the Raspberry Pi and geophysical sensors have become smaller and cheaper it is now possible to build a reasonably sensitive system which can detect and record the changes of the magnetic field caused by the Northern Lights (aurora).

Though not as accurate as a scientific level instrument, the Raspberry Pi magnetometer costs around 1/100th the price (about £180 at 2019 prices) for around 1/100th the accuracy (~1.5 nanoTesla). However, this is sufficient to make interesting scientific measurements.

During 2017, a network of 9 Raspberry Pi magnetometers were deployed to schools around the UK from Benbecula to Norwich. On September 8, 2017 a large geomagnetic storm was captured by the school magnetometers. Using these data and the array of other magnetometers around the North Sea, we were able to recreate the spatial and temporal changes of the magnetic field during the storm in great detail. The two phases of the storm show the westward (night time) and eastward (daytime) flow of the auroral electrojet currents in the ionosphere.

Source http://www.mist.ac.uk/nuggets

Download the paper Building a Raspberry Pi school magnetometer network in the UK
https://www.geosci-commun.net/1/25/2018/gc-1-25-2018.pdf

Click here to read at the Southgate ARC.

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A free book (PDF) on sun-earth interaction

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Eric (WD8RIF), who writes:

This came in the most recent ARRL Contest newsletter:

The Sun, The Earth, and Near-Earth Space: A Guide to the Sun-Earth System by J. A. Eddy is a readable and accessible textbook that explains the dynamics of the Sun and its interaction with the Earth’s ionosphere. It’s available as a free download, courtesy of NASA and the International Living with a Star Program. Anyone using the ionosphere as a medium for radio wave transmission and wants to better understand propagation should find this book of interest. (Ward, N0AX)

Thank you for the stellar tip, Eric!

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Radio propagation may improve soon with region of solar flux

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike Hansgen, who shares this latest Space Weather report from Tamitha Skov:

Space Weather jumps into action this week with two weak solar storms en route to Earth. NASA models predict they will hit starting July 9 and they could easily bring aurora to high latitudes, if not mid-latitudes. Amateur radio operators are also in for some fun as a new region rotates into view and brings with it a boost in solar flux, which will help radio propagation just in time for hurricane season. GPS users shouldn’t be affected by the low-level flaring of this region on Earth’s day side, but should stay vigilant near aurora and near the dawn-dusk terminators for glitches in their reception. Low-latitude GPS/GNSS reception might even improve under the influence of these weak solar storms. See details of the coming storms, when this new active region will be in view, catch up on aurora photos, and see what else is in store!

Click here to view on YouTube.

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