Aurora Monitor V2

by jetty, published

Aurora Monitor V2 by jetty Feb 16, 2013


It's that time. We're approaching Solar Maximum and chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis / Northern Lights are increasing worldwide.

Seeing the aurora is usually difficult, due to a lack of accurate information specific for your location. Add poor locations, light polluted skies, clouds and sometimes only a 30 min window of opportunity..., it can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

Many think Auroras are limited to the Arctic. But, unless you live at the equator (and it's even seen there occasionally), you too can see it if you're in the right place at the right time.

The aurora monitor is a technology I've been using for a long time to take photographs of the aurora (attached). I've updated this technology for Thingiverse and made it a stand alone Arduino based unit which you setup for your location.

An RGB Led indicates if there's an aurora active for your location with 30-60min advance warning. The strength of the storm is indicated by the auroral color of the Led. Accuracy is around 95%.

A Liquid Crystal Display further details the information and the time you should expect to see the Aurora.

Detailed information can be Tweeted too. Here's the feed for my location: https://twitter.com/AuroraAdec)

The Inukshuk was created from a 2D grayscale image using OmNomNom Creator: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:24639

This is the new and improved Version 2 of my Aurora Monitor. Version 1 (i.e. without the LCD and push button), can be found here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:25528

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I can recommend making one, it works great :-)

Great project! I need to try this.

this is relevant to my interests

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This project is a very easy build, requiring only basic soldering skills, network setup and arduino skills.

You will need:

  1. Arduino capable of Wifi or Ethernet, these ones I've tested: http://www.robotshop.com/productinfo.aspx?pc=RB-Lin-40&lang=en-US http://arduino.cc/en/Main/ArduinoBoardEthernet/

  2. 10mm RGB Common Anode LED, I used this: http://evilmadscience.com/productsmenu/partsmenu/329

  3. Resistor x 4, if using the above LED, then 100 Ohm x 2, 150 Ohm (for red), 100 Ohm

  4. 10K Trimpot, 0.1uF Capacitor, Push Button Switch

  5. HD44780 Compatible LED Backlit 16x2 LCD

  6. Miscellaneous: A strip of header pins, wire, heat shrink or tape

  7. Something to build it on (I used stripboard)

  8. Ribbon cable or wire to attach the LCD

  9. 9V (12V Max) Power supply for your Arduino (also a USB can be used for power)

Use the attached Bill Of Materials for sourcing the components and reference the schematic and the build instructions attached to this thing.

Note: The build instructions are for V1, for V2 you will need stripboard or some form of prototyping board. I used stripboard and created a shield to go on top. If there's enough interest or need, I'll update the instructions.

Source code can be found here: https://github.com/jetty840/AuroraMonitor

Viewing tips for the Aurora can be found in the attached instructions.

I can recommend making one, it works great :-)

Great project! I need to try this.

this is relevant to my interests

Wow what a neat idea and nice work. Thanks!

Jetty, that's too cool - how far north are you?