The article “AuroraWatch UK: an automated aurora alert service” 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 the incredibly popular AuroraWatch UK is run and presents an analysis of a historical merged auroral activity data set.
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The AuroraWatch UK aurora alert service uses a network of magnetometers from across the United Kingdom to measure the disturbance in the earth’s magnetic field caused by the aurora borealis (northern lights). The service has been measuring disturbances in the earth’s magnetic field from the UK, and issuing auroral visibility alerts to its subscribers, since September 2000. These alerts have four levels, corresponding to the magnitude of disturbance measured, which indicate from where in the UK an auroral display might be seen. In the following, we describe the AuroraWatch UK system in detail and reprocess the historical magnetometer data using the current alert algorithm to compile an activity database. This data set is comprised of over 150,000 hours (99.94% data availability) of magnetic disturbance measurements, including nearly 9,000 hours of enhanced geomagnetic activity.
The article is open source and free to download from the publisher’s site.