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14/04/2023 - Significant Update of Seismic Monitoring Software

For the past 4 months we have been rewriting and testing a major restructuring of our seismic/environmental monitoring software as used by the infrasound, aurora and micro-barometer stations. Hundreds of hours work was involved esp. in testing and current signs are good.

The aims were:-

  • To make it much easier for users to amend and customise the code for new stations and different sensors - such as seismometers, windspeed, cosmic ray detection et. al.
  • Further reduce memory usage, improve efficiency and stability.
  • Add a rolling plot of the previous 7 days data.

Rather than a single block of code we now have three files. A minimal main program, a file of variables such as station id, sampling rate etc and a module of plotting and processing routines. The code is presently being tested on the micro-barometer and aurora sensors but appears to be working well.

Once we've uploaded this we can complete our 'Learning Physics through Coding' course in time for release in late August. After that plans are somewhat 'fluid' depending on funding.

However we will be promoting the creation of a European wide-area network of infrasound sensors.Given the current drive for wind-power a network of infrasound and micro-barometer monitors could generate interest in young students to further a career in this field.

We'll give it another couple of weeks testing before updating the downloadable version. However, if anyone wants the updated version in the meantime then please drop us an email.


28/02/2023 - Aurora U.K.

On 27th Febuary 2023 strong aurora were visible across much of the U.K. Our flux-gate magnetometer in Guisborough, N.E. England recorded atypical variation in the E-W field at ground level.

Aurora magnetometer uk

By comparison see the plot during solar quiescence at the bottom of this page - entry for 1/1/23.


08/02/2023 - Oh dear .. started using Emacs

Never being keen on complex IDEs like Virtual Studio I have enjoyed using text editors with simple IDE abilities such as Code::Blocks and Geany.

I do find when programming compiled languages such as Fortran I prefer to invoke the compiler from the command line. gFortran and IFort do give good messages. Thus recently I have been using Sublime - a very smooth and fast text editor. I gave up trying the get the in-built terminal working so simply invoked the compiler or interpreter from an adjacent system terminal. Aestetic minimalism.

I am writng this in emacs - rather nice. I think I'll bite the bullet and finally learn the basics properly.

Feel I am sliding down the slippery slope that inevitably ends with vim/vi


15/01/2023 - Ordered a new RPI!

Raspberry PIs are still in v.short supply, most hitting the market being snapped up for industrial controllers. Stock is expected to improve in Q3 of 2023. However .. just managed to order a new Pi-4 at a 'sane' price. :-)

We will set this up as a test-bed platform, initially with a microbarometer and infrasound sensor. This to permit experimentation without having to use the existing logging stations. Our goal over the next few weeks being to update the generic seismic logging software adding in rolling plots of previous data i.e. plotting previous 24hr, week, month, etc.

Also been asked to write an article for a European Science Teaching Journal.


7/01/2023 - Association For Science Education Annual Conference

Drove down to Sheffield last night to attend the final day of the A.S.E. annual conference, Europe's largest such science teaching event. Nice to meet such enthusiastic people, and not just from the UK, with lots of chats about physics teaching in particular.

ASE Annual Conference

Gave a presentation on our physics projects, how schools can get involved and likely future development. Surprisingly well attended as I thought it may be seen as a tad niche.


1/01/2023 - Aurora

Last week I was lucky enough to be stood in a car park outside Reykjavík watching a stunning aurora.

Aurora Reykjavík

Interestingly our aurora detector, 1600km away was getting rather twitchy after ~6pm.

Aurora magnetometer plot

As comparison the plot below is during solar quiescence with the typical sinosoidal plot causes by sunlight ionising the upper atmosphere.

Aurora magnetometer plot