Montana Aurora Detector Network for Education Enhancement

PI: Joseph A. Shaw, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Montana State University
This project will provide a lasting legacy of enhanced educational opportunities for students throughout Montana, and throughout the nation, by putting in place the final stages of a Montana network of optical aurora detectors that provide data over the internet and send cell-phone text messages to interested participants around the state or region. The project is heavily leveraged by previous NASA funding, which was used to design, build, calibrate, and install optical aurora detectors at MSU-Bozeman and the seven Montana Tribal Colleges. The objectives of this
proposal are to:
1) bring the full network into a state of routine operation with single-channel sensors;
2) design, build, and deploy an advanced multi-channel sensor;
3) add live sky imagery to the aurora detector network webpage;
4) produce plans and design documentation that can be used by other schools to either budget for purchasing a system from MSU-Bozeman or to build one themselves.

The timeline is to complete this project by early 2012, which ideally matches the current trend toward the next solar maximum, expected to occur in approximately the year 2013. Students will participate in mechanical, thermal, electrical, optical, and software design and analysis, thereby learning extraordinarily valuable lessons in integrating cross-disciplinary efforts to generate a meaningful and enjoyable result.


Contact Information

Mail: Joe Shaw
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717
E-mail: Joe Shaw
Phone: (406) 994-7261

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Updated March 30, 2011