The article “A real-time hybrid aurora alert system: combining citizen science reports with an auroral oval model” was recently accepted to the American Geophysical Union (AGU) journal Earth and Space Science. The article, for which Nathan was the lead author, describes how citizen science reports are combined with the Ovation auroral forecast product to produce accurate and localised aurora alerts.
Accurately predicting when, and from where, an aurora will be visible is particularly difficult, yet it is a service much desired by the general public. Several aurora alert services exist that attempt to provide such predictions but are, generally, based upon fairly coarse estimates of auroral activity (e.g., Kp or Dst). Additionally, these services are not able to account for a potential observer’s local conditions (such as cloud cover or level of darkness). Aurorasaurus, however, combines data from the well-used, solar wind-driven, OVATION Prime auroral oval model with real-time observational data provided by a global network of citizen scientists. This system is designed to provide more accurate and localized alerts for auroral visibility than currently available. Early results are promising and show that over 100,000 auroral visibility alerts have been issued, including nearly 200 highly localized alerts, to over 2000 users located right across the globe.
The article is open source and free to download from the publisher’s site.