Scaling Aurorasaurus for the Solstice Report-A-Thon: Empowering Citizen Science with Powerful Platforms

At Ensemble, we are delighted to share our successful experience of scaling Aurorasaurus for the Solstice Report-A-Thon event using our cloud computing and software services, we ensured a seamless experience for aurora enthusiasts worldwide.


The first-ever Aurorasaurus Report-A-Thon event, held on Saturday, July 8th, 3:00-5:00 pm EDT (19:00-21:00 UTC), brought together aurora enthusiasts from around the world for an evening of awe-inspiring aurora reports and vibrant discussions. We are thrilled to reflect on the technical aspects that made this event possible.

The Power of Horizontal Scaling & Load Balancing

To ensure a seamless experience during the Report-A-Thon, we employed advanced scaling techniques to handle the anticipated surge of users. By intelligently distributing the workload while adding multiple new servers or pods, we guaranteed optimal performance and responsiveness, even with world-wide, concurrent users actively submitting reports and engaging in discussions simultaneously. In addition to horizontal pod scaling, we implemented AWS Elastic Load Balancing to distribute incoming traffic evenly across the cluster. By setting up an Application Load Balancer (ALB) in front of our EKS cluster, we achieved high availability and improved the overall responsiveness of our application. Our robust infrastructure dynamically adjusted to meet the demand, ensuring an uninterrupted flow of data and user interactions.

Intelligent Caching for Snappier Aurora Oval Load Times

During our preparations, we encountered a significant challenge with oval aurora rendering on the Google map. As the density of aurora oval contour lines increased, rendering issues emerged, resulting in anomalies such as large green areas or unclosed polygons. Our objective was to address these rendering anomalies and provide users with accurate and visually appealing representations of aurora ovals.


Photo by Donna Lach, August 29, 2022, 11:18 pm, Plumas, Manitoba, Canon 6D and Sigma Art 20mm F1.4 lens, 8 shots, ISO 3200, f/2, 6 seconds

Caching mechanisms played a pivotal role in enhancing the user experience. We implemented intelligent caching strategies to store frequently accessed data, reducing load times and minimizing server requests. This allowed participants to access information swiftly, fostering a smooth and enjoyable user journey throughout the event.

Using Interpolation to Solve Rendering Problems

In order to enhance the visual representation and avoid overlap of polygons, we implemented interpolation techniques to upscale the source data. This resulted in a higher-resolution array, allowing for smoother rendering of ovals with better precision and accuracy.

Thanks to the scalable architecture and caching mechanisms, the Solstice Report-A-Thon ran flawlessly, enabling participants to immerse themselves in the wonders of auroras, contribute valuable reports, and engage in scientific discussions. The technical preparations undertaken ensured a reliable and responsive platform, allowing users to share their experiences and insights without interruption.

We remain dedicated to continuously refining our software services and cloud computing techniques and exploring innovative solutions to further improve the visualization and accuracy of aurora observations. As we forge ahead, we invite you to join us in unraveling the mysteries of auroras, making scientific contributions, and celebrating the beauty of the Northern Lights.

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