Live data from SAN LEO NICOLOSI (CT), Etna Park, Sicily

Maintained by Rosario Catania - Flavio Falcinelli

ERO SANLEO (LSE) - Etneo Experimental Laboratory

(To see on google map click this link  (Lat. 37°37'52.45"N - Long. 15°1'20.26"E)

Within the ERO Etna Radio Observatory project there is a completely experimental activity, which uses microcontroller technology, smart accelerometers and projects created in the school or pioneering field. The LSE or ELL Etneo Experimental Laboratory collects all these projects for educational use, inside the ERO SANLEO headquarters in Nicolosi. The ERO SANLEO headquarters is hosted by the Etneo Amateur Astronomical Observatory (OAAE) at the Parsifal Park in Nicolosi.

System 1: Magnetometer RALMAG (work in progress)

The RALMAG magnetometer manufactured by RadioAstroLab uses a fluxgate sensor and is sensitive only to transient variations of the Earth's magnetic field (i.e. those with a duration of the order of seconds or tens of minutes), not to daily thermal drifts or long-term variations . It is these rapid fluctuations that in fact characterize the initial phase of a geomagnetic storm, which is an event that can cause significant damage to electrical and electronic systems, if of high intensity. It is known from the literature that past episodes of astrophysical events originating on the Sun (solar flares, coronal mass expulsions) and transferred from the solar wind to the magnetosphere, have generated geomagnetic storms with consequences on a planetary scale, not only technological but also social. In order to interpret as important as possible the important variations in the horizontal components of the local geomagnetic field, and to link them to the activity of the Sun, it is essential that the measuring instrument is installed in a "quiet" location, that is far from artificial interference and anthropic, which is buried to minimize the effects of daily thermal fluctuations on the measurement and which is connected to a central unit for acquisition and to a computer connected to the internet. A specially developed program processes the measurements representing the daily variations of the geomagnetic field which will be compared with the measurements performed by the reference observatories. In this way you have an excellent tool to observe the "invisible disturbed" Sun, correlating the effects of its activity on the magnetosphere with the visible signs that we observe directly on the disk (photosphere - chromosphere).

RALMAG - credits:

underground installation


ERO and COPERNICO collaboration

The Etna Radio Observatory (ERO) collaborates with the COPERNICO Astronomical Observatory, also equipped with a RALMAG magnetometer. From the slopes of the Etna volcano in Santa Maria del Monte, a town in the municipality of Saludecio in the province of Rimini, the two research groups have for years been involved in studying natural radio signals, collecting data and interpreting them, comparing themselves with data received and are compared to other reference observers around the world.

An example of what you get from such an activity is shown below:

ERO report - credits:

The entire Solar System is contained in the heliosphere, a plasma bubble that is formed when the solar wind expands in the interstellar medium. The solar wind is a flow of charged particles emitted by the upper atmosphere of the Sun, and is generated by the continuous expansion in the interplanetary space of the solar corona. This flow is mainly composed of electrons and protons and shows temperatures and speeds that vary over time, with trends linked to the eleven-year cycle of solar activity and near Earth reaches speeds of between 200 and 900 km / s. These particles escape the gravity of the Sun thanks to the high energies involved and the high temperature of the crown that accelerates them, transferring further energy to them. The interaction between the bodies of the Solar System and the solar wind can be very different depending on whether the body is or is not magnetized, has or does not have an atmosphere. In the case of the Earth, due to the interaction between the solar wind and the geomagnetic field, the Earth's magnetosphere is formed.

Artistic representation of the Sun-Earth interaction - credits: WEB

System 2: 3-axis accelerometer and other sensors on prototype board

Seismometers are very sensitive instruments that measure the speed or displacement of the terrain and consist of a sensor (geophone), an acquirer and a transmitter that transfers the signal to a data acquisition and processing center, in our case a sound card and a PC.
Accelerometers, on the other hand, are instruments that measure ground acceleration and record movements only when the shock exceeds a certain magnitude threshold, also connected to a sound card and a PC.

ERO 3axis accelerometer with MMA7361L


Jamaseis software - credits:

MPU-6050 gyroscope (GY-521) on ELEGO- credits:

Free Serial Port Monitor software  


X-Nucleo BluMicroSystem3  setup


System 3: Scienceinschool seismograph

Project made by Science in school, using a woofer speaker, a spring, a weight, a photographic tripod, a pair of crocodile clips, wires. A sensor ready to be used with a low noise amplifier and acquired from a sound card with the SpectrumLab program or sent directly to the sound card in the microphone or line-in connector to then process the audio file with Audacity. The calibration of the system takes place after an earthquake by comparing the wavefront with that received by professional observers such as INGV.

Required material


Detail of the realization, image taken from Panteleimon Bazanos


Complete geophone, image taken from Panteleimon Bazanos


Spectrogram example with SpectrumLab  


System 4: Wi-Fi color weather station with professional 5 in 1 sensor

The professional quality external sensor reliably transmits the measured values ​​of wind speed, wind direction, air humidity, temperature and amount of rainfall to the base station on the frequency of 868 MHz. On the 5.7 '' color display of the base station, clearly structured, not only these values ​​are displayed but also a lot of data recorded in the previous days. This visualization is made possible by the internal saving and evaluation of the data collected for a period of 24 hours. From the data collected, the weather station draws up a very reliable forecast of the local weather trend for the next 12 hours, which is then shown on the display by means of graphic symbols. The Wi-Fi function allows you to share local data via apps such as. '' Weather Underground '' or '' Weather Cloud ''. In addition, the Wi-Fi function allows you to synchronize the time of the device with the Internet and to update the firmware.

ERO  Wi-Fi color weather station - credits:

System 5: Ultrasonic sensor with datalogger

ARDUBAT ( is a project developed for multiple purposes. It could be used to develop a bat alarm or a video camera that is activated when bats are nearby. Or you can use it to record the date and time the bats are active. But in ERO-ELL we use it both for monitoring bats but in general for receiving and decoding ultrasonic signals. The stack created by ERO uses the ARDUBAT circuit, a card for datalogging on SD memory, and an ARDUINO UNO R3 prototype card. The system acquires ultrasound at the bats' emission frequencies, records on SD card and transmits data via serial port to be available online at any time.

ERO  Ultrasonic sensor with datalogger - credits:

System 6: Lightning detector 

A lightning detector is a sensor capable of detecting lightning at the moment of lightning, therefore long before the thunder, which often comes several seconds later. Therefore, a lightning detector can be very useful to prepare in time for a storm to approach, so that appropriate precautions can be put in place. The self-built lightning detector circuit is usually a very sensitive static electricity detector. An antenna formed by a piece of wire detects storms arriving within a radius of a few kilometers. The project can also be used as a data logger to record the static impulses detected. In this way, it is possible over time to also compare the levels of atmospheric "noise" on an annual basis, for example from one season to another. However, the simplest lightning detector that can be made with Arduino is the one shown in the diagram, capable of detecting lightning from about 10-20 km away. The circuit requires few components: the Arduino Uno programmable microprocessor, some resistors and the connection wires (jumpers). With Arduino we can capture frequencies around 7kHz. The advantage of using this frequency for the detection of lightning is that there are no other particular natural or artificial emissions.

ERO  Lightning detector  - credits:

System 7: Self-built microwave receiver with serial datalogging

Radio telescopes observe the sky for radiation at wavelengths that are thousands or millions of times longer than visible light. Radio waves have a much longer wavelength than visible light, which is why professional radio telescopes are huge. The basic technology behind radio telescopes is quite simple and with some cheap equipment and simple tools, it is quite easy to build a simple but functional one.
The sun and other objects radiate not only visible light but also radio waves. With this simple radio telescope it is possible to do didactic activities such as studying the transits of the Sun and Moon, or find the same stars on a cloudy day, demonstrate that the surface of the Earth emits radio waves and locate artificial satellites. In our case we use the radio telescope to measure the temperature of the vertical scenario above our head (zenith), displaying the differences in the signal received during the seasons or perturbations.

ERO  microwave receiver  - credits:

SDR software and SAT FINDER

Dish pointing


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