Dunedin Aurora

Experimental Prototypes

This page is for prototype data, instruments, and software. Usually I'm just testing that gadgets are recording and displaying whatever data they're receiving. While this is happening, I'm also looking to see if there are any common trends appearing, especially during space weather events.

Induction Coil Experiments

Frankencoil 2 being constructed.
Frankencoil 2 on location.

Frankencoil 2 is an prototype air-core induction magnetometer. The idea is that a large coil with a high number of turns will generate a voltage in a changing magnetic field. In theory geomagnetic disturbances caused by space weather should be detected.

Frankencoil is made from 4 boxes of network cable, wound into a loop three metres in diameter. All of the wires in the network cables are soldered together to create a single giant scramble-wound coil of about 1000 turns. This coil is then wrapped in an earthed skin of aluminium mesh which dampens the sensitivity to radio-frequency signals, but allows the changing magnetic field to be recieved. Frankencoil has an effective area of 7200m2.Because Frankencoil lays on the ground, it is most sensitive to the vertical component of the Earth's magnetic field.

The signal from Frankencoil can then be fed into simple electronics to filter out noise, amplify the signal etc, before being fed into the Mic-in of a computers sound card. We use a free signal processing software package called Spectrum Lab to filter and display the data and to generate CSV files which we process with custom software to create the following graphs and plots.

The biggest challenge with using a device like this is the amount of electromagnetic pollution from domestic power. A rural location would be much quieter, but in the meantime I am interested to see if there is anything that can be detected with Frankencoil that can be linked to space weather.

In most of the experiments that follow, I try to find ways to bypass or use the problem of electromagnetic pollution.

H Component (Last 24 hours)

Activity from a standard magnetometer. Look for spikes in the experiments that co-incide with magnetometer activity.

Spikes in dz/dt - FrankenCoil2

Other Experiments