Resources & Suggestions for Further Activities and Research Projects
latitude affect ionospheric response to flares? If so, in what ways?
Students might attempt
to compare solar flare signatures from various SID monitors around the
world to find out if latitude affects the signatures and hence the ionospheric
response to flares. Try comparing the graphs from known solar events
with each other and with data from the GOES satellite. You may have
to adjust the times to allow the events to line up. A list of
recent known flares as detected by the GOES satellites is available: http://www.sec.noaa.gov/ftpmenu/indices/events.html
As you compare your
data, keep in mind that different monitors will be calibrated slightly
differently, thus having their data values show up between -5 and 5,
or -2 and 4. It is not the absolute values of the data that are important
-- rather the size of the change from the baseline. Students might want
to normalize their data, or convert to a common baseline. For instance,
they might convert all data into values between 0 and 1. Different sites’
computer clocks might be significantly different as well. Take this
into account when matching up flares.
Students start by
comparing SID events from monitors at various latitudes. Are the shapes
of the responses the same? The timing? The length of the response? How
do the responses differ depending upon the transmitter being tracked?
How do your data compare with the GOES data?
If you have unidentified
signals, then your students may be picking up electrical interference
from somewhere or something. Most likely it is a local disturbance caused
by somebody turning on a machine nearby. If the disturbance is regular
and periodic that’s a big hint that it might be interference.
Or, if certain other sites pick up the event as well, then it may have
been caused by a large thunderstorm somewhere between the transmitter
and receiver. Or, they may have picked up a gamma
Or, their disturbance might have been related to an auroral
storm. Or, it might be worth checking cosmic ray monitors for particles
or geomagnetic indices for CME impact effects. To track these down,
have students compare their local data with other sites' data, both
those tracking the same transmitter and different transmitters. What
can they discover based on which sites showed the event and which didn't?
Could they "triangulate" to determine the potential ionospheric
source of the disturbance? Note that unidentified events might happen
in the nighttime as well as daytime.
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