ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
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Space @ VT

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Predicting ground-level geomagnetic perturbations

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $360,000 grant to Space@VT researchers to construct a computer model that predicts variations in the magnetic field that occur at the Earth’s surface and are caused by currents in the ionosphere.

The currents are a result of the interaction between the solar wind and the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) with the Earth’s magnetosphere.

The Virginia Tech model will be based on prior worldwide measurements of the magnetic perturbations and solar wind values obtained over a period of years. The predictive capability will use real-time measurements of the IMF on a satellite positioned in the “upstream” solar wind, sunward from the Earth.

Daniel Weimer and Robert Clauer serve as principal investigators on the project, which is funded by the Upper Atmosphere Research Section through National Space Weather Program (NSWP). The NSWP goal is to ultimately achieve timely, accurate, and reliable space environment observations, specifications, and forecasts.