Space Weather Monitors- Stanford SOLAR Center

SID Monitors
Data Obtaining a Monitor
For Educators
Installation and Use
The Team

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CISM logo NASA logo IHY logo UN logo

For a brief pdf describing the Space Weather Monitor project, see:
The SID Space Weather Monitor Project

About the Space Weather Monitor Program

Earth from Space and SunThe The SID 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 - the original SID instruments, and a new, lower-cost SuperSID.

Quick overview of SID Monitors

Earth's ionosphere reacts strongly to the intense X-ray and ultraviolet radiation released by the Sun during a solar flare. 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 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 providing a centralized data repository where students can deposit and extract data.

The Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA) has taken over distribution and support of the project and also maintains a Yahoo SuperSID group where students can exchange and discuss data.


The SID Monitor Program
This presentation is designed to describe the SID project and offer an introduction to the relevant science for a potential mentor audience. The presentation could also be adapted to be given to high school students who have received a SID monitor.

The SID packages passes NASA Product Review with "Outstanding" ranking!
NASA Cover Letter and Explanation
One review stated "This might be the most well put together resource I have ever reviewed!"

Read our article Distributing space weather monitoring instruments and educational materials worldwide for IHY 2007: The AWESOME and SID project in Advances in Space Research (COSPAR)

Map of SID sites worldwide
List of SID Monitors and Sites (Excel format)
List of SuperSID Monitors and Sites (Excel format)

List of VLF transmitters:
Lionel Loudet's List

IHY logo
The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the United Nation's International Space Weather Initiative both designated our Space Weather Monitors as supported projects for the International Heliophysical Year (IHY) and afterwards. One of our SID monitors is on display in the rotunda of the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria. We have placed over 900 monitors throughout the world!
UN logo

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.

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