The North Dakota Dual Aurora Camera Version 2.0 (NoDDAC2.0), a Platform for Citizen Science and a Use Case for Implementing Best Practices in Open Data and Collaboration

TitleThe North Dakota Dual Aurora Camera Version 2.0 (NoDDAC2.0), a Platform for Citizen Science and a Use Case for Implementing Best Practices in Open Data and Collaboration
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2023
AuthorsYoung, T, Ledvina, V, MacDonald, E, Brandt, L, Barkhouse, W, Schultz, A, Payne, C, Mitchell, A, Haugen, K, Shearer, W, Hartman, K, Sillitti, S, McCormack, M, Collins, S
Conference NameHamSCI Workshop 2023
Date Published03/2023
Conference LocationScranton, PA

The North Dakota Dual Aurora Camera (NoDDAC) is an interdisciplinary project created in collaboration with the University of North Dakota (UND), Live Aurora Network, and Aurorasaurus. Aurora cameras provide ground-truth visual data to aurora chasers and scientists but are sparse at midlatitudes (35-55°N). Deploying light-sensitive video and all-sky still cameras at these midlatitudes provides a valuable resource to aurora-chasing communities, as well as amateur radio operators in the auroral zone. In addition, NoDDAC data demonstrate scientific merit, as it can be correlated with radio and ionospheric propagation changes to investigate the connection between optical aurora and radio science. This project is unique; the practices of utilizing dual cameras with consumer-off-the-shelf equipment, emphasizing open data as a responsive community resource and promoting citizen science make NoDDAC an accessible resource benefiting multiple audiences. Since early 2021, NoDDAC has detected hundreds of auroras as well as notable events like STEVEs (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement). NoDDAC is stationed at Martens Observatory (48.1°N, 97.6°W), which is operated by the UND Department of Physics and Astrophysics. Live Aurora Network provides weatherproof camera housings and their proprietary IPTimelapse software which allows for remote control of the cameras. This year we present NoDDAC2.0, the next evolution of NoDDAC funded by NASA’s EPSCoR program. NoDDAC2.0 will upgrade the all-sky camera and feature a robust open-data platform to share aurora data with the public and scientists. We outline a strategy to increase the science utility of NoDDAC data, incorporating a citizen science project launching on the Zooniverse platform. We also present plans to integrate NoDDAC data into the AuroraX conjunction finder system so that satellite data can be easily correlated to aurora images. Most importantly, we are collaborating with the Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation to install an independent aurora camera system in North Dakota. Not only does this represent a unique collaborative opportunity, but at a separation distance of 300 miles from Martens Observatory, this second camera will allow us to explore research questions relating to the precise location, height, and spatial extent of certain auroral phenomena.

Refereed DesignationNon-Refereed