Observing the Sun from underground - even after it's set!

Discuss theory on astronomy, physics and general space science.
Post Reply
User avatar
rwilkinson
Member
Posts: 1343
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:47 pm
Location: Bolton

Observing the Sun from underground - even after it's set!

Post by rwilkinson » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:15 am

I've recently been experimenting with magnetometers to monitor small changes in the Earth's magnetic field due to the influx of charged particles from the Sun; for more details see:
http://aurorawatch.lancs.ac.uk/introduction.

I've built up a little sensor unit for the Society (which is currently buried in my garden), which feeds into the sound-card of an old laptop.
Yesterday evening I noticed a sudden surge of activity, so I left it running overnight: this is my plot of magnetic field against time:
bolton120412.jpg
bolton120412.jpg (80.84 KiB) Viewed 9432 times
compared with that shown on the SAMNET system:
12apr_samnet.png
12apr_samnet.png (4.51 KiB) Viewed 9432 times
In each case the increased activity overnight can be seen.

But this is a relatively minor event - a violent solar storm, producing a widespread aurora which could be visible down to our latitude looks like this:
Image

I'll be presenting more results and details of the system at our next Show & Tell session.

User avatar
bbones
Member
Posts: 375
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:26 pm
Location: Horwich

Re: Observing the Sun from underground - even after it's set

Post by bbones » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:16 am

Hi Ross
Sounds interesting, what have you used to make your sensor? I think Gloria might begin to worry if I started digging big holes in her flower beds :lol:
Cheers
Bill
SkyWatcher HEQ5
SkyWatcher 80ED Apro
Sky-Watcher Skymax-127 SynScan AZ GOTO
Canon 600D Modified
Orion G3

User avatar
rwilkinson
Member
Posts: 1343
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:47 pm
Location: Bolton

Re: Observing the Sun from underground - even after it's set

Post by rwilkinson » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:02 pm

The magnetometer is based on the FGM-3h from Speake Sensors:
http://www.speakesensors.com/products.htm

It only needs to be a small hole (a few inches across) but the deeper the better: >1m would be good, to reduce the effect of ambient temperature on the sensor's output.

User avatar
rwilkinson
Member
Posts: 1343
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:47 pm
Location: Bolton

A stormy night in the magnetosphere!

Post by rwilkinson » Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:13 am

At last I've recorded some significant solar data from the magnetometer buried in my garden! :)
I noticed a few deviations yesterday afternoon, and so left it running overnight.
This morning I saw that I'd measured some large and rapid changes in the geomagnetic field in the middle of the night:
24apr.png
24apr.png (6.61 KiB) Viewed 9396 times
These findings were confirmed by the Aberdeen "SAMNET" instrument, which sent out "Amber" and "Red" alerts around midnight:
23apr_samnet.png
23apr_samnet.png (5.12 KiB) Viewed 9396 times
These sudden changes in the Earth's magnetic field arise due to the influx of charged particles from the solar wind (often coronal mass ejections)
Incidentally, these AuroraWatch alerts are available via Twitter:
http://twitter.com/#!/aurorawatchuk

User avatar
bbones
Member
Posts: 375
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:26 pm
Location: Horwich

Re: Observing the Sun from underground - even after it's set

Post by bbones » Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:09 pm

Ross

Do you do any monitoring of the ionisation of the F1 and F2 layer on VHF and UHF to compare your finding on the solar flares

Cheers
SkyWatcher HEQ5
SkyWatcher 80ED Apro
Sky-Watcher Skymax-127 SynScan AZ GOTO
Canon 600D Modified
Orion G3

User avatar
rwilkinson
Member
Posts: 1343
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:47 pm
Location: Bolton

Re: Observing the Sun from underground - even after it's set

Post by rwilkinson » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:23 pm

bbones wrote:Do you do any monitoring of the ionisation of the F1 and F2 layer
No, but the ionogram data from Rutherford-Appleton Lab is available on-line:
http://www.ips.gov.au/HF_Systems/6/8/2
This illustrates how today's F2 Critical Frequency is much lower than average, following last night's event.

Post Reply