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 Post subject: Observing the Sun from underground - even after it's set!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:15 am 
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Location: Bolton
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:
Attachment:
bolton120412.jpg
bolton120412.jpg [ 80.84 KiB | Viewed 5467 times ]

compared with that shown on the SAMNET system:
Attachment:
12apr_samnet.png
12apr_samnet.png [ 4.51 KiB | Viewed 5467 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.


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 Post subject: Re: Observing the Sun from underground - even after it's set
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:16 am 
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Location: Horwich
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

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 Post subject: Re: Observing the Sun from underground - even after it's set
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:02 pm 
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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.


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 Post subject: A stormy night in the magnetosphere!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:13 am 
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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:
Attachment:
24apr.png
24apr.png [ 6.61 KiB | Viewed 5431 times ]

These findings were confirmed by the Aberdeen "SAMNET" instrument, which sent out "Amber" and "Red" alerts around midnight:
Attachment:
23apr_samnet.png
23apr_samnet.png [ 5.12 KiB | Viewed 5431 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


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 Post subject: Re: Observing the Sun from underground - even after it's set
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:09 pm 
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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

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 Post subject: Re: Observing the Sun from underground - even after it's set
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:23 pm 
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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.


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