Western University Physics adn AstronomyWestern Science

Planetary Science and Small Solar System Bodies

Supervisor: Dr. Peter Brown

Project: Oceanic detection of meteorite impacts

Can extend to MSc?:  Yes

Project Description (Abstract):

This project involves searching hydroacoustic records for wave signatures associated with large bolides (fireballs) and understanding better the seismic efficiency of impacts on land and sea. The goal of the project is to isolate one or more bolide signatures from a suite of 11 hydroacoustic stations worldwide and identify signals from meteorites impacting the ocean surface and/or airwaves from fireball explosions coupled to the ocean. The project will involve signal analysis using MATLAB and some interpretation of wave propagation in the ocean. Additionally, a detailed literature search related to seismo-acoustic and seismo-hydroacoustic coupling will be performed with respect to efficiency of seismic and hydroacoustic impacts.

Project: Detection of Very-Low Frequency radiation from bright fireballs

Can extend to MSc?:  Yes

Project Description (Abstract):

This project involves deployment of a three channel very-low frequency (VLF) receiver for detection of VLF emissions from bright fireballs. VLF emission has been theoretically predicted to occur under some ablation conditions for larger fireballs, but observational verification of this prediction has been lacking. This project will make use of existing records from a three channel VLF receiver deployed at the Elginfield observatory to correlate signals with optical fireballs detected by the Southern Ontario Meteor Network. These correlated measurements will include time correlation of broad spectrum emission potentially from a particular fireball validated against spatial correlation provided by the three axis antenna system which acts as a low precision direction finder for VLF emission. The project will involve some electronic construction and testing (amplifiers for the VLF antennas), some software development for data collection and analysis. The result of the project will be the first calibrated survey of fireball VLF emission which may then be compared directly to theoretical predictions. 

The student will help calibrate the VLF receiver, including development of a direction-finding algorithm to determine arrival direction for VLF signals. Additionally, the student will examine existing VLF-optical data collected over the last two years to correlate VLF signals with automatically detected optical fireballs to isolate possible VLF emission. Once signals are found, the student will perform basic signal processing to extract amplitude and frequency content of the resulting signal and compute electric field strength at the antenna based on the signal and calibrations.

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