Monitor Space Weather And The Atmosphere With Your Cellphone!

Above our heads, the atmosphere is a complex and unpredictable soup of gasses and charged particles subject to the influence of whatever the Sun throws at it. Attempting to understand it is not for the faint-hearted, so it has for centuries been the object of considerable research. A new project from the European Space Agency and ETH Zurich gives the general public the chance to participate in that research in a small way, by crowdsourcing atmospheric data gathering to a mobile phone app. How might a mobile phone observe the atmosphere? The answer lies in their global positioning receivers, which can track minute differences in the received signals caused by atmospheric conditions. By gathering as much of this data as possible, the ESA scientists will gain valuable insights into atmospheric conditions as they change across the globe.

The app requires an Android phone equipped with a dual frequency satnav receiver, and having been duly installed on the trusty Hackaday Motorola it in turn started picking up all the different constellations of satellites. The instructions are to leave it somewhere such as a windowsill with an unobstructed view of the sky and move it as little as possible, to which we’d add clicking the “Log in background” button and connectign a charger. There’s a promise that uploaders can win prizes, so aside from contributing to scientific discovery there might be an unexpected benefit. More details on the app can be found here, meanwhile many readers will know that this isn’t the only crowdsourced atmospheric data gathering effort.

9 thoughts on “Monitor Space Weather And The Atmosphere With Your Cellphone!

  1. check out dark sky app if this topic is of interest.

    barometric crowdsourced weather modeling

    it was acquired by apple a while back and still operates today. it has provided me with many timely and surprisingly accurate precipitation notifications, and i also try to report in with a reading when observing precipitation

    yay weather modeling!

    1. Well, if you’ve got an iPhone anyway. Apple pulled the app from Android as soon as they bought the service, not exactly the kind of thing I’d like to support (not that I have the option, of course).

      1. good point. dishonorable to pull the android app, obviously not a technical limitation. android app ought to be returned and the network could benefit from more data.

        interested in more networks that offer microclimate forecasting from aggregated reports.

        thanks for the comment

  2. Not a bad use for an old phone. The question is: does it need a sim? The blurb does not say.

    There is the Cali earthquake detection system for those of us on the shakey side of the world. Multi task the phone?

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