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Listening in on solar winds

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1 Author(s)

Episodic solar activity has a number of effects that are of interest to us earthlings. A radiation dose from energetic particles is an occasional hazard for astronauts and for electronics on satellites, as witnessed by Japan's recent multibillion dollar loss of a satellite. Geomagnetic field disturbances can also damage power systems, disrupt communications (including the ubiquitous cell phone), and degrade high-tech navigation systems like GPS, and it even has an effect on our weather. Observing the Earth's geomagnetic anomalies caused by these invisible solar winds only requires a simple magnetometer. This article presents a design of an ultra simple but extremely sensitive magnetometer using a few inexpensive and easily available items. The magnetometer used by the author was built around a discarded galvanometer. It also includes a prism, magnetic field sensor, laser pointer head, and three zeroing magnets.

Published in:

Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:7 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

June 2004

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