University of Oulu

Strauss DT, Poluianov S, van der Merwe C, Krüger H, Diedericks C, et al. 2020. The mini-neutron monitor: a new approach in neutron monitor design. J. Space Weather Space Clim. 10, 39.

The mini-neutron monitor : a new approach in neutron monitor design

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Author: Strauss, Du Toit1; Poluianov, Stepan2,3; van der Merwe, Cobus1;
Organizations: 1Center for Space Research, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, Private Bag X6001, 2520 Potchefstroom, South Africa
2Space Physics and Astronomy Research Unit, University of Oulu, Linnanmaa, 90014 Oulu, Finland
3Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, University of Oulu, Tähtelantie 62, 99600 Sodankylä, Finland
4Institut für Experimentelle und Angewandte Physik, Universität Kiel, 24118 Kiel, Germany
5South African National Space Agency, PO BOX 32, 7200 Hermanus, South Africa
6Departamento de Física y Matemáticas and Departamento de Automática, Universidad de Alcalá (UAH), Campus Científico-Tecnológico (Externo), Pza. San Diego, s/n, Alcalá de Henares, 28801 Madrid, Spain
7Instituto de Geofísica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, 04510 CDMX, México
8Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY, Platanenallee 6, 15738 Zeuthen, Germany
9Department of Space Science and Applications Research, Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute, Algeria Street, 33679 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
10Department of Chemistry “Ugo Schiff”, University of Florence, 50019 Sesto (Florence), Italy
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 4.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: EDP Sciences, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-09-15


The near-Earth cosmic ray flux has been monitored for more than 70 years by a network of ground-based neutron monitors (NMs). With the ever-increasing importance of quantifying the radiation risk and effects of cosmic rays for, e.g., air and space-travel, it is essential to continue operating the existing NM stations, while expanding this crucial network. In this paper, we discuss a smaller and cost-effective version of the traditional NM, the mini-NM. These monitors can be deployed with ease, even to extremely remote locations, where they operate in a semi-autonomous fashion. We believe that the mini-NM, therefore, offers the opportunity to increase the sensitivity and expand the coverage of the existing NM network, making this network more suitable to near-real-time monitoring for space weather applications. In this paper, we present the technical details of the mini-NM’s design and operation, and present a summary of the initial tests and science results.

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Series: Journal of space weather and space climate
ISSN: 2115-7251
ISSN-E: 2115-7251
ISSN-L: 2115-7251
Volume: 10
Article number: 39
DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2020038
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 115 Astronomy and space science
Funding: Operation of DOMC/DOMB mini-NMs is supported by projects CRIPA and CRIPA-X (No. 304435) of the Academy of Finland, Finnish Antarctic Research Program (FINNARP). DOMC/B NM data can be obtained from, courtesy of the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory. Operation of DOMB/DOMC NMs are possible thanks to the hospitality of the Italian polar programme PNRA (via the LTCPAA PNRA 2015/AC3 project) and the French polar Institute IPEV. The neutron monitor database NMDB ( founded under the European Union’s FP7 programme (contract no. 213007) is acknowledged for hosting and providing data. We acknowledge support from the MINECO – FPI 2017 program, co-financed by the European Social Fund. This work has been supported by the project CTM2016-77325-C2-1-P, funded by Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, and by the European Regional Development Fund, FEDER. This work is based on the research supported in part by the National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF grant number: 119424). Opinions expressed and conclusions arrived at are those of the authors and are not necessarily to be attributed to the NRF.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 304435
Detailed Information: 304435 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © D.T. Strauss et al., Published by EDP Sciences 2020. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.