Aurorasaurus with Dr. Liz MacDonald


Online Public

Type: Special Event

Keywords: Aurora Citizen Science Public Event

Held on: Aug 05, 2022 (Fri) at 07:00 PM to Aug 05, 2022 (Fri) at 08:00 PM

Online Location: Please sign in to see online meeting location.

Speaker: Dr. Liz MacDonald

Location: Physics/Astronomy Auditorium (PAA), Room A102, Seattle, Washington

Event Coordinator: Aaron Yoon (he/him)


Learn more about the beautiful auroral night lights seen over the higher latitudes of our planet. Dr. Liz MacDonald is a NASA astrophysicist and WA native who studies the aurora. She also founded Aurorasaurus, a citizen science project that connects what amateur sky watchers capture in photos with the scientists who study aurora.

Free in-person tickets (limited):

Seattle Astronomical Society will also be live streaming this program.

Members log in for link at 7 PM.

Public, please request link from 



Latitude 47.6530838, Longitude -122.3110375

More Information

Elizabeth MacDonald was born in Walla Walla, Washington. MacDonald received a BSc in physics from the University of Washington, funded by a NASA Space Grant scholarship, in 1999. Her mentor, Ruth Skoug, encouraged her to remain in research. MacDonald completed her postgraduate studies at the University of New Hampshire, earning her PhD in physics in 2004
Elizabeth McDonald

My research has focused on experimental particle measurement techniques and data analysis in the magnetosphere and ionosphere for the last 15 years. Currently I am a Co-I on the Helium, Oxygen, Proton, and Electron Spectrometer on the NASA Radiation Belts Storm Probe mission. At Los Alamos National Laboratory, I was the PI for the Z-Plasma Spectrometer on the DOE Space and Atmospheric Burst Reporting System (SABRS) geosynchronous payload. I also led the Innovative Research and Integrated Sensing (IRIS) team in my group ( In the recent past I've led the DoE-funded Technology Infusion Project entitled Modular Advanced Space Environment Instrumentation (from 2009-2011) and served as the PI for the Advanced Miniaturized Plasma Spectrometer on the DOE SABRS Validation Experiment payload (2007-2008).

I have a blend of expertise in both instrument development and data analysis and interpretation that comes from sounding rocket and satellite instrumentation experience. This experience ranges over the complete cycle of instrument production, including design and modeling, integration and testing, calibration, satellite operations, and in situ scientific data analysis. As a result, I'm very interested in instrument technology development, basic magnetospheric science, and space situational awareness national priorities. My specific research interests include wave-particle interactions and the effect of plasma on radiation belt dynamics, mapping, coupling, and transport between the ionosphere and the inner magnetosphere, and the impact of heavy ions on geomagnetic storm processes.

I received my Masters and PhD degrees from the University of New Hampshire. I received a Bachelor's in Physics from the University of Washington, largely funded by a NASA Space Grant scholarship.



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