Science educators explore sun as #AuroraHunters

by Nancy Hoehn, Kaiserslautern High School and Anna Sansone, Vicenza Middle School
DoDEA Science Teachers

As long as humans have been able to see the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, it has been an inspiration.  Unfortunately, the powerful stream of solar plasma that causes the aurora, can also cause damage to our modern satellites, technology and power infrastructure.  The European Space Agency and Norwegian Space Centre will host a three-day social space event in Tromso, Norway, in March to experience and understand the aurora and Arctic wildlife with 30 participants from around the world.

Two Department of Defense Education Activity Teachers, Nancy Hoehn and Anna Sansone, will participate as #AuroraHunters to explore, understand and share information on the aurora and Arctic wildlife. Nancy Hoehn is a science teacher from Kaiserslautern High School, and a NASA Solar System Ambassador Master Teacher.  Anna Sansone is a science teacher from Vicenza Middle School, and the 2019 DoDEA Teacher of the Year. They are two of the 30 people selected world-wide to participate in an eclectic group of space, weather, communication and education specialists. 

During the event, they will study space weather, including solar flares, coronal mass ejections and solar wind, and how it impacts us on Earth, from the beautiful aurora, to the dangerous impact on modern society.  They will learn how satellites can monitor the sun to provide data to forecasters, who prepare forecasts of severe solar events for governments, companies and organizations with time to protect our astronauts in space and infrastructure on the ground.


After the event, they will share information on the phenomenon with their students, communities and education networks, through student projects, special events and professional development.  They will also share their #AuroraHunters journey at https://openexplorer.nationalgeographic.com/expedition/aurorahunters.

For more information about this topic, please email Nancy Hoehn or Anna Sansone at nancy.hoehn@eu.dodea.edu or anna.sansone@eu.dodea.edu.