Dunedin Aurora

A citizen science magnetic observatory in suburban Dunedin, New Zealand.

2020 Edition

Ionospheric Monitoring and Solar Flare/CME Detection

The ionosphere is high outer layer of the Earth's atmosphere, charged (ionised) by solar radiation. This charging allows radio signals to bounce off the ionosphere and propagate over long distance. The ionosphere is also sensitive to the impact of space weather, and when this happens we should see changes in the signal strength of radio transmissions. There are also signature markers for solar flare x-ray events, which are usually correlated with coronal mass ejections (CMEs).

At Dunedin Aurora we monitor:

VLF Monitor - Last 24 Hours

The VLF antenna is a wire loop with approx 50 turns of wire. The signal is passed through a "SuperSID" filter and processed with Spectrum Lab software and custom software. Reception of long distance stations shows a diurnal variation in signal strength. This signal can be altered by space weather and x-rays generated by solar flares.

S4 Median Values - Last 24 Hours

Turbulence in the ionosphere impacts the signal/noise ratio of GPS satellite transmissions (GPS and GLONASS constellations). When space weather impacts the ionoshere, we should see an increase in this noise.

If we display our data in terms of standard deviation (sigmas), we can see these trends more clearly.

You can toggle the visibility of data by clicking on the series name in the chart legend.