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Meet the gang!

Hey there! The team at Space Weather Explorers Week is made up of science educators at the University of California at Berkeley and scientists from all around the United States. Check out our bios and feel free to ask us questions on our Discord server. During our Live weeks we promise to reply every day. It might take longer at other times.

Dr. Lara Waldrop

Lara Waldrop, Illinois ECE Assistant Professor and Y. T. Lo Fellow in Electrical and Computer Engineering, is the Principal Investigator of the Carruthers Geocorona Observatory.

Dr. Bryan Mendez

Dr. Bryan Méndez is the planetarium director at the University of California at Berkeley. He is dedicated to inspiring others about the wonder and beauty of the Cosmos. He develops educational resources for students, teachers, and the public; conducts professional development for science educators; and teaches courses in astronomy.  

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Karin Hauck

Karin Hauck is communications manager and web/graphics specialist for the Education Group at the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley. She managed the heliophysics education and outreach program for teens called Solar Week for over fifteen years.

Igor Ruderman

Igor hails from Moscow, Russia. Since getting the astronomy bug as a kid, he’s been an avid amateur astronomer. While studying astronomy at UC Berkeley, he started working as a programmer for the education group at the Space Science Laboratory and he’s been a member of the team since 1996. In addition to handling all of the computing needs of the group, he enjoys participating in public outreach events. You will usually find him with one of his telescopes at such events. He’s been on multiple astronomy and education & public outreach related trips, including trips to observe solar eclipses, Venus transits, and trips to promote science education in Yucatan, Mexico. He is also an amateur astrophotographer.  Space Science Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley.

Meet the scientists

Learn more about our participating scientists.

The story of Carruthers Geocorona Observatory

The outermost layer of Earth’s atmosphere is called its exosphere, or sometimes the geocorona. So far, there have only ever been 4 images taken of the exosphere. The first image was from a telescope placed on the Moon during the Apollo 16 mission in 1972. The telescope was built by Dr. George Carruthers to observe Earth in ultraviolet light. As part of NASA’s efforts to better understand the Earth, its space environment, and its interactions with the Sun a new mission is under development. Set for launch into space in 2025, the Carruthers Geocorona Observatory will study Earth’s exosphere and how it changes over time.