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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


WhatsApp Image 2020-04-25 at

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


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Jamaseis software - credits:

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.

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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.

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ERO  Wi-Fi color weather station - credits:

System 5: 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. If we consider the speed of light, bearing in mind that it is an electromagnetic wave, with its 300,000 km / s (> 1 billion km / h), and that of sound, which propagates in the air (at 20 ° C) at 1237 km / h, we can easily deduce that, when we see the lightning, the discharge of the lightning occurred only a few microseconds before, while the thunder comes with a delay related to the distance of the lightning. So, to estimate the distance of the lightning bolt, just count the seconds that elapse between the lightning and the thunder, and divide them by 3 (which are the seconds it takes sound to travel 1km as the crow flies). So, if 9 seconds elapse, the lightning bolt is about 3km away. Therefore, a lightning detector can be very useful to prepare in time for the approach of a storm, in order to be able to take the appropriate precautions. In practice, a lightning detector is a very sensitive static electricity detector. If we build it with an antenna made up of a piece of wire, it is already able to detect incoming storms within a radius of a few kilometers, but there are sensors that detect lightning and also determine its distance. If, on the other hand, we use a coil, we are able to receive the magnetic component of the initial discharge.


Lighting bolt - credits:

ERO  Lightning detector 

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ERO  Lightning web graphic  

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ERO  Lightning detector box  

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System 6: LEGO seismometer educational 

The ‘Build your own seismometer’ was designed in collaboration with the British Geological Survey’s school seismology project . The simple design converts vertical ground vibrations into voltages and works in the frequency range 1-2Hz up to 25 Hz, when combined with the mindsets digitiser and the free educational datalogging software jamaseis the system allows schools and home users to set up their own seismic monitoring station

Since the sensor responds to relatively high frequency signals (for seismology) it works best as a tool for sensing vibrations from local sources. The initial design was used in Leicester as part of the Leicester City football quake project where vardyquakes are detected up to a couple of km from the football stadium every time Leicester score a home goal.


ERO  LEGO seismometer educational 


ERO  LEGO seismometer educational 


System 7: GEOPHONE

Geophone Multistrip hourly representation, useful for local seismic and vulcanic events correlation.

Scroll time 4.6 sec, updated every hour. 


ERO an example of a spectrogram , source GEOPHONE multi strips  



ERO  GEOPHONE educational 


System 8: MEMS

This system involves the use of semiconductor devices produced by STMicroelectronics.Thanks to a research project conducted by ERO in collaboration with INGV-OE Catania Osservatorio Etneo of Catania and STMicroelectronics, it is possible to field test the board produced by ST, known as (STEVAL-MKSBOX1V1).  It is a board made by ST equipped with digital sensors, such as gyroscope, accelerometer, temperature, humidity, pressure, environmental microphones. The board is driven by the ST BLE Sensor application and programmed as needed. In our case a special firmware has been developed by ST engineers for geophysical applications. When a vibration occurs, the application records on the internal microSD card or provides in output a serial datalog with the data coming from the sensors complete with date and time. 






SD card recording version  


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