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First Results From Sonification and Exploratory Citizen Science of Magnetospheric ULF Waves: Long-Lasting Decreasing-Frequency Poloidal Field Line Resonance Following Geomagnetic Storms
  • Published Date:
    2018
  • Source:
    Space Weather-the International Journal of Research and Applications, 16(11), 1753-1769.
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First Results From Sonification and Exploratory Citizen Science of Magnetospheric ULF Waves: Long-Lasting Decreasing-Frequency Poloidal Field Line Resonance Following Geomagnetic Storms
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  • Description:
    Magnetospheric ultralow-frequency (ULF) waves contribute to space weather in the solar wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere system. The monitoring of these waves by space- and ground-based instruments, however, produces big data, which are difficult to navigate, mine, and analyze effectively. We present sonification, the process of converting an oscillatory time series into audible sound, and citizen science, where members of the public contribute to scientific investigations, as a means to potentially help tackle these issues. Magnetometer data in the ULF range at geostationary orbit have been sonified and released to London high schools as part of exploratory projects. While this approach reduces the overall likelihood of useful results from any particular group of citizen scientists compared to typical citizen science projects, it promotes independent learning and problem solving by all participants and can result in a small number of unexpected research outcomes. We present one such example, a case study identified by a group of students of decreasing-frequency poloidal field line resonances over multiple days found to occur during the recovery phase of a coronal mass ejection-driven geomagnetic storm. Simultaneous plasma density measurements show that the decreasing frequencies were due to the refilling of the plasmasphere following the storm. The waves were likely generated by internal plasma processes. Further exploration of the audio revealed many similar events following other major storms; thus, they are much more common than previously thought. We therefore highlight the potential of sonification and exploratory citizen science in addressing some of the challenges facing ULF wave research.

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