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In order to predict and record space weather events, changes in our magnetic field are measured by a magnetometer. Each MagIE site is currently using a LEMI-417M to record once every second geomagnetic field strength and geoelectric field strength (where possible).

How it works:

Inside the device, a current is applied to one coil. This constant changing of magnetic field strength of the current in the first coil causes a current in the other coil. In the absence of any extra magnetic field, the two currents will equal and cancel out. With an extra field, the magnetic fields will no longer cancel out. This will lead to a voltage being created that is proportional to the strength of the extra field. The magnetic field strength can then be calculated from this voltage.

LEMI-417M Credit: LEMI Sensors

An important part of MagIE is our school network programme, where we will be installing low cost Raspberry Pi magnetometers at schools across the country, which benefits research and helps educate students there all about space weather at the same time! Schools in the North, South, East, and West of the country have been found to enhance our original sites. To the left is an image of our 3 direction sensor and raspberry pi. A raspberry pi is a small single-board computer, originally aimed towards the promotion of basic computer science in schools and with the general public. It became very popular, and is now widely used in many areas, such as for weather monitoring, because of its low cost, modularity, and open design. The raspberry pi and sensors will stay in the school collecting data and allowing a connection between MagIE and the schools.

In modern astrophysics there is very little physical observations from a telescope, most research is carried out remotely by using massive amounts of data collected by optical and radio telescopes across the globe. Programming or coding is therefore an incredibly important skill for astrophysicists or other scientists in general to have, and python is the programming language through which most of this work is done. Watch out for some educational resources that focus on improving coding skills!