Project 1: Ground Station - Auroral Electrojet

  General Information

Lead Teacher(s): Matt Lewis
(mplewis@calvin.stemnet.nf.ca)
School: Gonzaga High School
Smithville Crescent
St. John's, NF
A0A 3K0
Tel: (709) 753-7510
Grade Level: Level III (Physics 3204 students)
Number of Students: 30-50 per year
Project Start and Finish Dates: Jan. 1997 - On-going

  Project Overview

Gonzaga will be working with Stanford Universities Space, Telecommunication, and Radio - science laboratory (STAR) department. Our school will be part of a high school based network designed to track the auroral electrojet, a system of intense high altitude electric currents that normally circle the auroral regions.

At present there is a network of ground stations across the U.S. in order to collect data on the electrojet. We are planing to join this network to promote the educational use of the internet. Our students will be part of, and have access to cutting edge scientific research.

Stanford University will install a computer, a GPS antenna, a 1.7 meter square loop antenna, and a signal conditioning box in our school. The computer will be connected to our Local Area Network and communicate the data with Stanford via the internet. Our students will have complete access to the data and research at our site, and all other sites in the project.

The main goal of the real-time electrojet monitoring is to provide predictions of the expected arrival time of the electrojet at mid-latitudes over North America during intense magnetic storms. The electrojet is intensified during magnetic storms where it can severely disrupt large scale electric power grids, resulting in destruction of transformers and widespread blackouts.

  Curriculum Connections

This project compliments the aims and goals of the physics curriculum. Physics is basic to understanding natural physical phenomena and the role of technology in this endeavor. With this project our students will have a visible link between the classroom and real world. Now when we study electromagnetism and the auroras we will be part of the ongoing research. This is a great link to the History, Society, and Careers objectives in the physics 3204 objectives.

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