Listening to the Heliosphere: Citizen Scientist Plasma Wave Analysis

When (times in MT)
Wed, Aug 24 2022, 2pm - 1 hour
Event Type
Michael Hartinger
Space Science Institute
Building & Room

Plasma waves transfer energy and affect particle dynamics throughout the heliosphere. For example, magnetospheric Ultra Low Frequency (ULF) plasma waves affect radiation belt dynamics through wave-particle interactions and modulation of higher frequency plasma waves. Classification schemes are needed to identify and model these waves and related wave-particle interactions, but existing classifications often break down during periods of intense geomagnetic activity or when there are superpositions of multiple wave modes. Audification – a one-to-one mapping of data samples to audio samples – was recently used in a UK-based citizen science project to successfully identify a complex yet repeatable pattern in the progression of magnetospheric ULF wave activity occurring during the recovery phase of geomagnetic storms. I’ll review these results and recent efforts to adapt this citizen science project to a US-based virtual audience: the development of a streamlined graphical user interface, recently published results from a public dialogue aiming to identify the best methods for rendering ULF waves audible, and early results from citizen science analysis of ULF waves identified by the THEMIS satellites. I’ll also discuss additional ways that members of the public can contribute to cutting-edge Heliophysics research by listening to plasma waves and taking advantage of the unique pattern recognition capabilities of the human auditory system.

About the Speaker

Mike studies Ultra Low Frequency (ULF) waves and other phenomena related to solar-wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling - how energy flows between the Sun and different regions in the near-Earth space environment. He received his Bachelor's in Physics from Cornell University in 2006 and PhD in Geophysics and Space Physics from UCLA in 2012. He’s currently a Research Scientist at Space Science Institute and an Assistant Researcher at UCLA. His recent research focuses on wave-particle interactions in the Earth's radiation belts, geomagnetic disturbances, and north-south hemisphere asymmetries in the solar wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere system. He also manages a network of autonomous instruments in Antarctica.