From Science to Society and the Sun to the Earth: An AGU 2021 Roundup

This has been quite the year. But while Aurorasaurus staff attended an online version of the American Geophysical Union conference, the biggest conference in the space physics field, one thing stayed the same: we were blown away by the work our colleagues have done! Here’s a roundup to share with readers of the amazing presentations we saw. All links are open to the public, including some actual online posters, some recorded talks, and other associated resources, like models, projects, and even some model visualizations. Online conferences require quite a bit of MacGyvering, but fortunately we hung out with the MacGyver crowd at AGU and managed to combine forces with the HamSCI co-conveners for an enthusiast-friendly day of presentations and posters. The latter are listed at the end of this post.

While most oral presentations are available only to registrants, some presenters made their prerecorded talks public. Jeremy Kuzub presented a talk on his latest really cool design: a portable, automatic all-sky aurora camera called AurorEye that is built to provide a way for night sky photographers to gather scientific aurora data without interrupting their usual activities. Jeremy is also the creator of Aurorax Keogramist and KpFox.

We loved organizing and participating in the MacGyver Session, but attended many other presentations as well! Below, we’ll shout out some that really stuck out to us as of interest to some of our readers, in order from the Sun to the Earth. 

 Solar Jet Hunter logo A NEW Citizen Science Project
First, congratulations are in order! We send our best to Zooniverse citizen science project Solar Jet Hunter on their recent launch! With this project, you can analyze data gathered by the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) satellite to identify solar jets. These are small, narrow ejections of solar material that can help solve open questions in solar physics. SDO may be familiar to aurora chasers as a source of images of the Sun for many years 
A 3D ENLIL rendering A Holiday Present: ENLIL in 3D
The ENLIL model is frequently used by the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) to analyze whether coronal mass ejections (CMEs) will hit the Earth, and whether the blow will be direct or glancing. The traditional model is two-dimensional, but the University of Colorado Boulder’s Space Weather Technology, Research and Education Center (SWx TREC) has released an exciting 3D visualization version that we are excited to delve into!
An illustration of the Suomi satellite A Small and Mighty Aurora-watching Satellite
Meet Suomi, a miniature satellite, or CubeSat. Launched in 2018 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Finland, aka Suomi, it has made more than 15,000 orbits of the Earth, capturing aurora with a camera and an instrument that measures radio waves. The satellite was successful in demonstrating the capabilities of a small satellite for aurora research, and we look forward to exploring the data. 
 A map of the South Pole with a large red spot over Antarctica The Effects of Pulsating Aurora
Much about aurora is still unknown, like its effects on other parts of the atmosphere and climate. Riley Troyer of the University of Iowa is studying the most energetic kind of aurora, pulsating aurora, to find out more. His AGU poster is beautifully interpreted for multiple audiences and provides a great introduction to this fascinating facet of the Lights. 
Presentation title slide TEK Talks About Alaska
From its beginnings, Western science has excluded other forms of knowledge in ways that have often caused harm. Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is one term referring to Indigenous knowledges about the world. These can provide important perspectives on critical subjects like sustainability and climate change. TEK Talks was hosted at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) by graduate students Margaret Anamaq Rudolf and Anika Pinzner. You can find out more about their work through their poster, and watch their AGU TEK Talk on Knowledge, Nature, and the Infrastructures of Colonialism in Alaska here. We would also recommend the entire TEK talks Youtube channel. 
A group of people aurora chasing Citizen Science (and STEVE) in Plain Language
As a non-scientist, Laura is particularly grateful for science communication aimed at broad audiences. Having learned a lot about citizen science, auroras, and STEVE over the last few years, she tried her hand at “The Up-Goer Five Challenge: Making Big Ideas Simpler by Talking About Them in Words We Use a Lot”. Inspired by an XKCD comic that describes the Saturn V Rocket using only the thousand most common words in English, this fun, educational session asks speakers to present five-minute scientific talks using the same vocabulary. You can watch Laura’s presentation entitled “Helping People Work Together to Learn About the World” here

MacGyver Session Posters

In addition, the oral session presentation “AurorEye: Prototype for a Highly Portable COTS RGB All-Sky Imager Station” by Jeremy Kuzub is available here.

We are grateful to everyone who presented at AGU, and look forward to following these projects in the new year! Our best wishes for 2022!

 

 

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