GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 68-20
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


LUKES, Laura A., CTFE, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, NELSON, J., Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, KERBY-PATEL, K.C., Engineering Department, University of Massachusetts-Boston, Boston, MA 02125, LILES, W.C., Amateur Radio Research and Development Corporation, 22030, VA and ROCKWAY, J., SPAWAR SSC Pacific, San Diego, CA, San Diego, CA 00000,

EclipseMob is a collaborative effort (NSF Award #1638697) to collect critical low frequency radio wave propagation data on a large geographical scale during the August 21, 2017 solar eclipse. This project aims to answer fundamental questions about how ionospheric disturbances impact radio wave propagation, while engaging students and citizens in a STEM research experience. Specifically, EclipseMob will leverage citizen science (crowdsourcing data collection) to create the first large, geographically distributed set of low-frequency (LF, 30-300 kHz) skywave propagation observations, which will be analyzed to provide new information about the location and geometry dependence of ionization and recombination behavior in the D and E layers of the ionosphere, while also stimulating public interest in science and engineering.

EclipseMob involves students and citizens at multiple levels in the scientific inquiry process. Prior to the eclipse, senior undergraduate engineering design teams at George Mason University and the University of Massachusetts Boston are developing and testing measurement receiver systems that can be utilized by individuals of varying education levels. Additionally, graduate students will be developing support materials for a general participant audience and conducting outreach to K-12, ham radio, and informal education groups (e.g., scouts, museums, science camps). During the eclipse, high school science students, college engineering clubs, ham radio groups, and other interested individuals will perform measurements using self-constructed receiver systems designed by the university students. All data collection activities and implementation support will be coordinated via an online hub, which will provide learning resources, in/formal curriculum design and project implementation support for educators and citizens, receiver system instructions, and participation guides. The online hub will also serve as a repository for the measured data. Here we report on the first phase of this project, strategies for: leveraging/connecting networks of scientists, engineers, and community members; participant recruitment; outreach material design; and mentoring graduate students in community-engaged experiential learning. Lessons learned will be highlighted.