The fall semester Brown Bag Seminar Series features graduate students providing presentations on their current research and recent internships. This series continues on Wednesday, October 7th, featuring grad student Sean McCloat presenting “Engaging the Aurorasaurus Citizen Science Project: From Space Weather to Social Media”.
This series of presentations will be held in the Space Studies Library at noon. Lunch will be served. All funded grad students are expected to attend.
About the topic: The Aurorasaurus Citizen Science project provides real-time global estimates of visibility for the northern and southern lights. This goal is accomplished by receiving reports made directly to the website and app, with details like time of observation, location, colors and shapes seen as well as by incorporating tweets with certain keywords, like “#aurora”. In the short term, this information can be used to produce alerts to users registered with Aurorasaurus that aurora can be seen in their area. In the long term, the information of where the aurora is visible from around the world can be used to adjust space weather models and predictions, which is a useful tool for the consumers of satellite based information and aurora-gazers alike. As an intern on the project, Sean was put to work on a myriad of tasks, ranging from citizen science data validation, to tracking social media success, to crafting blog posts aimed for fans of Aurorasaurus with more information about the causes and measurements of space weather.
About the presenter: Sean graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2013 with a major in Philosophy, minors in Biology and Environmental Studies, a background in the sciences, and has continued to build upon his passion for space and planetary science. He has worked at the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium in Centerport, NY, where he dazzled audiences with planetarium shows that he wrote and delivered himself.
As an on-campus student in the UND Space Studies program, Sean was put in charge of the university’s high altitude ballooning program and organized several ballooning competitions for middle school and high school students. Sean completed a summer internship in 2015 at NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center in Maryland, working on a project that tracked the aurora borealis globally in real-time. He will be working at the observatory and pursuing a graduate minor in Geology as of Fall 2015, pursuing his interests in astrobiology and exoplanets.
For information on the Brown Bag Seminar Series, please contact Space Studies faculty member Dr. Vadim Rygalov.