04.13.2004 12:00 AM
Sky Ear Event Makes Electromagnetic Waves Visible
Imagine standing in an open area with a crowd of people, turning on your cell phone or ham radio HT transmitter, and seeing the effect of the electromagnetic waves reflected in the sky above! If you happen to be at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London on May 4th at 7 PM, you will be able to do that and more!

"Sky Ear", a unique one-night event, will float approximately one thousand large helium balloons 60 meters above the ground. Each balloon will respond to the electromagnetic environment created by distant storms, mobile phones, police and ambulance radios, television broadcasts, etc. with colored blue, red and yellow lights. The balloons will be contained in a carbon fiber net structure 25 meters in diameter. Cell phones will be placed in the balloons, which will allow callers to hear the electromagnetic sounds of the sky such as "whistlers" and "spherics" known to VLF listeners.

The Sky Ear launch will coincide with the lunar eclipse on the same date and will be kept aloft for several hours. The Haque Sky Ear design Web site described it this way, "This non-rigid "cloud", made up of several hundred glowing helium balloons will be embedded with mobile phones. The balloons will contain miniature sensor circuits (simple gaussmeters) that detect levels of electromagnetic radiation at a variety of frequencies. When activated, the sensor circuits will cause ultra-bright coloured LEDs to illuminate. The cloud will glow and flicker brightly as it passes through varying radio and microwave spaces.

"As visitors to the event call into the cloud to listen to the distant electromagnetic sounds of the sky (including whistlers and spherics), their mobile phone calls will change the local hertzian topography; these disturbances in the electromagnetic fields inside the cloud will alter the glow intensity of that part of the balloon cloud. Feedback within the sensor network will create ripples of light reminiscent of rumbling thunder and flashes of lightning. People may find that they are in the process collaborating with others to create patterns of light activity across the surface of the cloud.

"The cloud will show both how a natural invisible electromagnetism pervades our environment and also how our mobile phone calls and text messages delicately affect the new and existing electromagnetic fields."
See the Sky Ear Information web site for more information. Follow the links on the page for technical details. If any readers happen to be at the National Maritime Museum on May 4th for the event, I'd love to hear a report on how effective it was. How about a similar event in the U.S.?


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