MagSTAR Magnetometer Array

The MagSTAR magnetometer array is funded by NSF through the Distributed Arrays of Small Instruments (DASI) solicitation. The project will build upon the successful magnetometer installation design developed under previous NSF sponsorship.The goal is to deploy six industrialized, high-quality, real-time, operationally ready magnetometers in the continental US. Magstar will target a balance between improving network density, sensor accuracy, and long-term operational deployment, using a cutting-edge, containerized computing system, industry standards of automation and system hardening, scientific-quality temporal resolution, and extremely low latency data transfer. This effort is a collaboration between SWx TREC and Computational Physics Incorporated.

Magnetometer mounted on a concrete pylon behind Aerospace building
The CU MagSTAR magnetometer is mounted on a concrete pylon. Additional components include a fiberglass pole containing electronics and solar power. The magnetometer is located well away from power transmission lines. Data collection is at 1 Hz with  < 1s latency for data transfer (Courtesy CPI )

Geoelectric Field Prediction

Geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) can wreak havoc on electricity transmission infrastructure causing operational difficulties and in extreme cases long-lasting power blackouts. GICs are produced by magnetic field disturbances interacting with the conductive solid Earth to induce geoelectric fields that generate quasi-DC voltages in power transmission lines. SWx TREC is currently investigating geoelectric field generation from different external magnetic field drivers such as ultra-low frequency (ULF) waves in the ionosphere and high-altitude nuclear electromagnetic pulses (EMPs).


  1. Lucas, G., Love, J. J., Kelbert, A., Bedrosian, P. A., & Rigler, E. J. ( 2020). A 100‐year geoelectric hazard analysis for the U.S. high‐voltage power grid. Space Weather, 18, e2019SW002329.