Tutorial Talk: The Stories of STEVE, Community Science, and Disruptive Innovation

Citizen science reports have added much to AGU’s Space Physics and Aeronomy community and knowledge base, since we are data-starved in sampling and modeling a vast domain, and in situ measurements have only existed since the Space Age. Auroras are the end result of a cascade of plasma physics beginning 93 million miles away on the Sun and ending with incredibly beautiful and dynamic visible lights at the edge of space.

Aurorasaurus is the world's first modern citizen science project dedicated to the elusive and under-studied Northern and Southern Lights. In near real-time, citizen scientists can increase their chances to see aurora, contribute to helping others see aurora, help scientists improve very coarse models of aurora, and actively learn more about space physics in the process. Recently, citizen scientists have even captured features of aurora-like arcs not previously described in the literature at sub-auroral latitudes. This disruptive innovation of the “STEVE” aurora has contributed to ground-breaking new publications and understanding that have energized both traditional and public views of our science. The Aurorasaurus project has been funded by NASA and NSF and owes much to dedicated ‘aurora chasers’ who have supplemented their passions to include collaboratively contributing observations for archiving, alerts, and discovery.

Facing severe and common jargon problems, the two-way pathways of science communication embodied by citizen science methodologies can lead to co-created gains that benefit both the public and professional scientists in surprising ways, powerfully demonstrating 21st-century definitions of who does science. This tutorial will present some of the many stories around STEVE, some of the necessary ingredients for innovation, and some of the scientific questions remaining to be answered.


December, 2019

From Thursday, 12 December 2019 10:20 AM

To Thursday, 12 December 2019 10:50 AM

Moscone South
104-105, LLS
San Francisco