The Space Weather Multimedia CD ROM
Discover The Nature of Solar-Terrestrial Phenomena
Volker Grassmann, DF5AI
August 12, 2003
Ionospheric radio propagation is strongly related to solar-terrestrial phenomena which affect the Earth's magnetosphere and ionosphere. Radio amateurs interested in the background of the complex and ever changing processes between the Sun, interplanetary space and the Earth will love this multimedia CD ROM developed and distributed by the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University Greifswald, Institute for Physics, Germany.
The editors, Dr. F. Jansen and Prof. Dr. R. Hippler, invite the user to travel through interplanetary space to follow the processes that cause space weather effects such as the beautiful Aurora and other types of phenomena. Learn about hidden sides of space weather, e.g. satellite failures, interruptions in mobile phone communication, radiation risks for airline passengers and even power outages here on Earth. The CD ROM supports two operation modes, i.e. the interactive version and the "museum version" which both consider the following subjects:
In the interactive version, the user may select one of four titles, i.e. background, impacts, past and future and outreach, respectively. Each title opens an introductional screen which supports a clear and crisp layout providing intuitive page navigation. The user may browse step-by-step through the many pages or, alternatively, may directly navigate to a subject of special interest. The glossary section explains in detail terms and abbreviations in space physics. The scientific material is very impressive and audio-visiual description is available to all data, information, graphics and schematics. Just click on a picture which attracts your interest and additional information becomes available. The movies and animations are breathtaking and demonstrate the beauty of Mother Nature and the reason why scientists love their subject.
Radio amateurs will in particular appreciate the sections discussing the ionosphere, the Aurora and possible impacts of geomagnetic disturbances on communication services. Watch the diurnal variation of the ionosphere's Total Electron Content (TEC) and the response of the ionosphere on the August 11, 1999 solar eclipse. See the solar wind hurled by the Sun towards Earth generating stunning displays of polar lights. Learn how space weather may seriously affect mobile communication, satellites in space, power lines and even pipelines on Earth.
The NOSTRADAMUS over-the-horizon radar near Paris. The three legs comprise 100 antennas each.
Mac: PowerPC (G3 or higher), OS 8.1 or higher, 16x CD-ROM drive, 64 MB RAM, 800x600 resolution
PC: Pentium II 300 MHz or faster, Windows 95/NT 4.0 or higher, 15x CD ROM drive, 64 MB RAM, 800x600 resolution
The Space Weather CD ROM is distributed to all interested users by the
Total Electron Content of the ionosphere based on data provided by the International GPS services.
All information and material is carefully selected and processed by experts from the University of Greifswald and their colleagues at, e.g., the Max-Planck-Institute for Aeronomy, the Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and the Finnish Meteorological Institute. The Space Weather CD ROM is supported by the European Space and Technology Week (EU/ESTW 2002) and provides all material in English, German and French language. At first sight, this CD ROM may be considered a brilliant review of solar-terrestrial physics and an educational masterpiece. In my view, it is more than that because this CD ROM not only provides a huge amount of data, facts and information, it also demonstrates the scientist's amazement and respect for the beauties and magic in space and, at the same time, the scientist's practical sense. Having considered a solar flare an effect in outer space which only attracts academic interest, we now understand that the same solar flare may disrupt our mobile phone preventing us from reaching a friend next street. My recommendation: go and get your personal copy of the Space Weather CD ROM, now...