Project Information
OPP-PRF: Conjugate Experiment to Explore Magnetospheric Phenomena Via Spatial Sonification and Mixed Reality
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Magnetic field variations on the Earth’s surface can be used to remote sense and characterize electrical currents and plasma waves in the near-Earth space environment that can affect technology, for example by inducing currents in power grids. Asymmetries between the space environment in the polar regions of the northern and southern hemispheres can profoundly affect these magnetic field variations. Magnetometers, which measure the strength and direction of magnetic fields, have been installed in the Arctic and Antarctic at opposite ends of the Earth’s magnetic field lines. By looking at data from both sets of magnetometers, researchers can determine whether disturbances in the Earth’s magnetosphere (a region of near-Earth space dominated by the Earth’s magnetic field) caused by the Sun impact the Northern hemisphere, the Southern hemisphere or both, and thus understand the sources of north-south hemisphere asymmetries. Some events that appear in the magnetometer data may be difficult for computers to identify, but easy for people to identify if the data is translated into sound. Researchers will develop a tool for listening to data in a virtual reality environment, so that data from various instruments can be played back, making it easier to explore datasets intuitively. This system will be prototyped using a mixed reality headset for use in both science and education and may be used to analyze data taken at the same time by sensors on the ground and on satellites. This project will examine one particular type of disturbance – magnetosheath jets – and its relation to plasma waves by addressing the question “Do magnetosheath jets routinely drive Pc5/Pc6 geomagnetic pulsations?” via the analysis of magnetometer data from geomagnetically conjugate (based on the International Geomagnetic Reference Field, IGRF) Arctic and Antarctic magnetometers. This question will be approached first through traditional plotting and visual analysis, then by presenting datastreams as sound sources situated in a virtual audio environment developed in the Unity game engine and integrated with mixed reality presentation via the Microsoft Hololens platform. This approach will leverage human capabilities for spatial discrimination of sounds to identify geomagnetic pulsations (surface magnetic field variations related to plasma waves in outer space) related to magnetosheath jet events with potentially large north-south hemispheric asymmetries, spatially localized wave activity, and irregular waveforms. The resulting presentation modality will make use of existing repositories of magnetometer data and may potentially be extended to the presentation of synchronous datasets from multiple sensing networks.
Person Role
Collins, Kristina Investigator and contact
Antarctic Astrophysics and Geospace Sciences Award # 2218996
Post Doc/Travel Award # 2218996
AMD - DIF Record(s)
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