Listening to the Heliosphere: Making Space Data Audible for Citizen Science

TitleListening to the Heliosphere: Making Space Data Audible for Citizen Science
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2023
AuthorsHartinger, M, Archer, M, Masongsong, E
Conference NameHamSCI Workshop 2023
Date Published03/2023
Conference LocationScranton, PA

Heliophysics research relies heavily on time series measurements. While this data is often analyzed visually, it also lends itself naturally to our sense of sound. Ham radio operators have long recognized this with radio waves, but it is also true for many other phenomena with frequencies well outside the human audible range.  For example, classification schemes are needed to identify and model plasma waves in near-Earth space that affect space weather, but existing classifications often break down during active periods or when there are superpositions of multiple wave modes. Audification – a one-to-one mapping of data samples to audio samples – was recently used in a UK-based citizen science project to successfully identify a complex yet repeatable multi-day pattern in the progression of plasma wave activity with frequencies far below the human audible range. I’ll review these results and recent efforts to adapt this citizen science project to a US-based virtual audience as part of the “Heliophysics Audified: Resonances in Plasmas” project launching in April 2023: the development of a streamlined graphical user interface, recently published results from a public dialogue aiming to identify the best methods for rendering plasma waves audible, and early results from citizen science analysis of plasma waves identified by NASA’s THEMIS satellites. I’ll also discuss (1) ways that members of the public can contribute to cutting-edge Heliophysics research by listening to plasma waves and taking advantage of the unique pattern recognition capabilities of the human auditory system and (2) possible future collaborations with the ham radio community including knowledge transfer related to visual-audio analysis and observational campaigns combining ham radio with other satellite/ground-based datasets.

Refereed DesignationNon-Refereed
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