Observable solar eclipses are rare events, and a lot is still unknown about how they interact with earth’s atmosphere. The August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse will provide a treasure trove of information, as it will take place across the United States. In order to study the atmosphere during the solar eclipse, NASA is partnering with over 57 teams across the continent to launch balloons that will provide live video of the eclipse. While this looks like an interesting opportunity, it is way too expensive for the average Amateur Radio enthusiast; each team has a budget anywhere from $6,000 to $25,000.
By Dr. Chuck Higgins, Middle Tennessee State University
Radio Jove is a NASA-affiliated education and outreach project that began in 1999 and gives students, teachers, and other interested individuals a hands-on experience in learning radio astronomy (http://radiojove.gsfc.nasa.gov). Radio Jove is a not-for-profit organization, led by a team of about eight volunteer scientists and engineers, which provides a mechanism to distribute radio telescope education kits and educational resources. Participants may build a simple radio telescope kit, make scientific observations, and interact with professional radio observatories in real-time over the Internet. Dedicated observers can help answer science questions about the nature and characteristics of low frequency radio emissions coming from Jupiter and the Sun, as well as, to understand the variability of Earth’s ionosphere. Radio Jove maintains a data archive to facilitate in the exchange of information and the validation of other ground-based and space-based radio data.
Since 1912 there have been many efforts to collect and analyze data during a solar eclipse to help understand the ionosphere. These efforts have been conducted in frequencies ranging from VLF to VHF. In most cases, individuals or small teams have collected data from disparate transmitters.
HamSCI scientists met at the Fall American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco during the week of December 11–17, 2016. The Fall AGU meeting is one of the largest gatherings of geoscientists in the world, with approximately 24,000 people attending. During the meeting, HamSCI scientists presented ham radio-based research, discussed possibilities for upcoming experiments, and networked with members of both the Citizen Science and Space Science Communities.
In “The Reverse Beacon Network” (Oct. 2016 QST, pp. 30-32), Pete Smith, N4ZR, and Ward Silver, N0AX explain how the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) is used to observe and report both CW and RTTY communications to the DX spotting network and to a data archive. This article explains how to be spotted by the RBN, how to download RBN data, and also how to become an RBN receiving node.
Researchers and HamSCI volunteers meet at the 2016 Dayton Hamvention to plan the 2017 Solar Eclipse QSO Party. (Left to Right) Magda Moses KM4EGE, Nathaniel Frissell W2NAF, Ward Silver N0AX. Photo by Bob McGwier N4HY.