SID :A more detail

It cannot be said that SID monitoring is not with out its problems for recording solar flares.

*      The biggest problem is that not all solar flares can be recorded via SID recording.  Only solar flares that occur during the daytime for a SID station can be recorded. 

*      Furthermore SIDs can become localized at times where say one person in NJ will record a SID while an observer in Florida may not. This happens when a small area of the ionosphere has been affected, yet the signals path to the person is Florida does not travel via the disturbed area.

*      In addition to this the solar flare must be large enough to cause a SID.

*      One last difficulty for those wanting to report their data to AAVSO is that the data must be accurate within one minute per day.  Unfortunately computer clocks do wander a bit, but we have thought of many ways to deal with this problem.


SID monitoring does offer many benefits that may be of interest to amateur astronomers.

*      As mentioned before this method can be used to monitor solar flares, with the small possibility of monitoring a GRB.

*      The SID method can also be used to record radio outburst from the sun that usually foretell a solar flare with in an hour or so. In addition, if the computer can be set up to graph the data it is receiving, then an observer can become aware of a SID event the instant it takes place.

This alone harbors some very interesting possibilities. Rarely do solar flares release energy in the white light spectrum. But a solar flare does release energy that is visible in the H-

alpha spectrum. Therefore an observer viewing the Sun with a telescope and H-alpha filter (they are not cheap, but NJAA does have one.) should be able to visually observe or photograph the solar flare. Also, as brought to my attention by solar observer Maria Hansen, solar flares sometimes occur within a few hours of each. Therefore if the SID monitoring station records a solar flare during the morning, an observer has a good chance of witnessing another solar flare before the end of the day. It is important to note that we can measure our station’s success using the Internet.  Professional astronomers use satellites to keep tabs on solar flares and GRBs.  Their websites usually include such information as to when a solar flare occurred in universal time and its size.  Information such as this can help us determine if our station is working properly and what it is detecting.

Also, the data produced by the station will need to be analyzed.  In turn this data can be used to fill out monthly reports to be sent to AAVSO.