The Space Weather Underground (SWUG) is a collaboration between the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and high schools in northern New England. The goal is to build and deploy a network of fluxgate magnetometers across northern New England for the purpose of studying ionospheric current systems that result from the impact of solar transients on the Earth’s magnetosphere.
Fluxgate magnetometers are a particularly robust instrument design that measures small changes in magnetic fields and can be configured to operate in fields that are much stronger than the fluctuations they are intended to resolve. Their operation is based upon magnetic hysteresis where a magnetically permeable material is driven to saturation by an AC magnetic field. Magnetic fields are inherently three-dimensional, so the fluxgates we use measure all three components of the local magnetic field.
The magnetometers are 3-Axis Simple Aurora Monitor (SAM-III) kits purchased from Reeve Electronics in Anchorage, Alaska. High school students build and test the magnetometers as part of their science club activities. UNH provides deployment hardware that is either built at UNH or build by students and the magnetometers are deployed on or near school property away from human activity in order to avoid contamination by stray fields generated by electrical currents or moving metal.
A data center at UNH collects the measurements daily and makes them available to both students and scientists who wish to perform science using the array. The data is free and available to the public. We ask only that you acknowledge the source when publishing or disseminating the data and make us aware of any publications that result.