2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

An Optical Aurora Detector to Aid Mid-latitude Viewing of the Northern Lights
Isaac Angert* and David Kiblinger
Dr. Michael Goggin, Faculty Mentor

The aurora borealis is one of the most striking terrestrial phenomena, both for its rarity and for its spectacular visual displays. At mid-latitudes, visible auroras occur on less than 1% of clear nights. Observers in the central US who wish to view an auroral event must be either extremely dedicated or else know exactly when to look. Toward the latter end, we have constructed an automated alarm system (modified from [Haun, M. The Aurora Alarm, http://www.keteu.org/~haunma/aurora/, 1996.]) that is capable of registering the visible light produced by an auroral display. The device operates by comparing ambient light conditions to the intensity of the prominent green auroral emission line at 557nm. A microcontroller records data output and adjusts the device's internal state to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Data are sent to an Internet-connected host computer which can issue an alert if conditions warrant.



Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 18-1
Location: MG 1096
Time: 9:30

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