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Surfin': Google Earth's Ionosphere

05/02/2008

This just in: NASA-funded researchers released to the general public a new "4D" live model of the Earth's ionosphere. Called Earth Space 4-D, this new online tool visualizes the ionosphere using Google Earth and an Internet connection.

"This is an exciting development," says solar physicist Lika Guhathakurta of NASA headquarters in Washington, DC. "The ionosphere is important to pilots, ham radio operators, earth scientists and even soldiers. Using this new 4D tool, they can monitor and study the ionosphere as if they're actually inside it."

NASA's Explore the Ionosphere (from the safety of your own home) Web page announced the news about the tool and includes a video demo highlighting its features as well as a link to instructions on how to launch it.

In order to use Earth Space 4-D, you first must install Google Earth on your computer (both Earth Space 4-D and Google Earth are free). Second, you follow the simple instructions listed on the Communication Alert and Prediction System (CAPS) Web page.

This tool is so new (only one day old as I write this) that I have only explored the tip of this impressive iceberg, but from what I have seen, it is an important addition to the Amateur Radio toolbox (its Maximum Useable Frequency [MUF] features alone should be interesting to most hams).

I highly recommend Earth Space 4-D. The price is right, so try it out.

Until next time, keep on surfin'!

Editor's note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, is fond of applications for Google Earth, especially radio-related ones. To communicate with Stan, send him e-mail or add comments to his blog. By the way, every installment of Surfin' is indexed here, so go look it up.

 

Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor



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