Space Weather is broadly concerned with the effects of the Sun on the near-Earth space environment. It's a term that can arguably include the traditonal fields of solar and auroral observation, but also people who have an interest in space physics, observing the geomagnetic field, radio observation of the sun. The growth of citizen science and open access to satellite data means that people with interests as diverse as IT, electronics, mathematics, etc can participate in this growing and interesting field.
An important tool we will be using is the Open Science Framework. This is an online collaborative repository that allows individuals to contribute to projects, share observations, and act as a repository for historical documents like the old Aurora Section newsletters. It has the advantage of being independent of setting up websites, and is archived. If you are producing reports, content or observations and you'd like to participate send me an email and I will add you as a contributor. The link to our repository is above.
Participating in the Section
The broad remit that Space Weather affords means that there are many ways and levels for participation. Some ideas include:
While light, H-Alpha, photographic, visual, coronagraph?
Observation of sunspots, faculae (espec polar faculae)
Photography of the aurora, especially with a point to identify features, classification.
Manual notation of the features of an auroral display.
Historical, cultural, and social interactions.
Monitoring the Earth's Magnetic Field
Jam Jar magnetometer - simple to complex.
Geomagnetic observation on a long term scale - Set up a geomagnetic observatory.
Radio astronomy of the Sun
Radio telescope observation of the sun.
Computation and IT
Citizen Science type projects.
Processing of public domain satellite data.
Software modelling of sunspot, coronal hole cycles.
Forecasting algorithms, machine learning, computer vision classification of solar features or auroral displays. the refinement and design of software in this area
Instrument design and build
Solar telescopes and their construction. Observatories.
Imaging and monitoring setups. All-sky cameras for the aurora.
Analogue and electronic instrumentation - magnetometers, radio equipment and antenna for solar/ionospheric observation.
Solar particle observation
Balloon Satellite, their payloads and observation
Impact of space weather events on infrastructure.
We are currently sourcing regular solar observations by Howard Barnes of the Georgi Dobrvolski Solar Observatory in Burwod, Auckland, and white-light drawings of the sun by Monty Leventhal from Australia, with assistance from the Donovan Astronomical Trust, but we are keen to hear from you! You might be interested in long term observations, short term campaigns around a specific topic or questions, or have one-off observations of unique features.
New Zealand Space Weather Links
We rely a lot on international information here in New Zealand, but that is changing! There is a growing group of professional and amateur New Zealanders who are involved in monitoring and observing space weather and sharing their work with the world! If you would like to be added to this list, feel free to send an email.