On March 17, 2015, solar cycle 24 - which had been going on since 2008 - peaked. On that day, satellite data in Bosnia-Herzegovina showed large deviations due to strong solar storms and thus an unusually high proportion of electrons in the ionosphere. Such strong solar storms cause GPS signals and other satellite data to vary massively. This can even cause power outages of several hours, such as a few years ago in Canada.
Randa Natras, born in Bosnia-Herzegovina, is currently working on her PhD in the field of satellite geodesy. She is researching these deviations above the western Balkans. She already dedicated her master thesis to the topic. In 2017/18, as an OeAD scholarship holder at the Vienna University of Technology, she developed a model for measuring the electron density in the ionosphere above Bosnia-Herzegovina. Subsequently, she expanded this to the entire Western Balkans. Even if it is difficult to infer future events from past events, Randa Natras is working to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to gain insights for predictions. She is currently completing her PhD at the Technical University of Munich.
Randa Natras finds compensation for her research through voluntary work in the field of environmental protection, rights for women in Bosnia-Herzegovina and also in the field of education. She is a member of the Bosnia-Herzegovina delegation for the European Forum Alpbach and works to encourage Bosnian students to go abroad. A few years ago, she met the supervisor of her dissertation at a conference in Japan.