When there is a solar flare on the Sun's surface, there is often an accompanying burst of radio energy projected into space. You can monitor these bursts with standard short wave and vhf receivers with modest antennas. The receiver should be able to detect AM (amplitude modulated) signals. FM receivers are not good for this purpose. A pre-amplifier between the antenna and the receiver will help things greatly at vhf, but on frequencies below 30 MHz, a preamp is probably not necessary. A good and inexpensive candidate for a vhf solar flare receiver might be an aircraft band radio which covers the 120-140 MHz range. Ramsey electronics sells an inexpensive kit. A small 3 or four element Yagi antenna pointed towards the sun should be adequate if a preamplifier is used.
The solar burst shown above was recorded at 20.1 mHz with very simple equipment on June 10, 2000 by Wes Greenman, engineer of the University of Florida Radio Observatory. Wes used a Radio Jove receiver and dual dipole antenna to record the solar burst which appears as the prominent hump on the left side of the chart. The stair-stepped signal on the right side of the chart is a calibration signal.
Solar radio bursts are classified as follows:
Type I Short, narrow band events that usually occur in
together with a broader band continuum. May last for hours or days.
Type II Slow drift from high to low frequencies. Often
and second harmonic frequency structure.
Type III Rapidly drift from high to low frequencies. May
Often accompany the flash phase of large flares.
Type IV Flare-related broad-band continua.
Type V Broad-band continua which may appear with III bursts.
Last 1 to 2
minutes, with duration increasing as frequency decreases.
04/02/2001 Class 20 Xray Flare
04/06/2001 Class 5 Xray Flare
06/08/2003 Radio Spectrograms from WCCRO Type II and X-ray with sound
The Shark Fin Signature and a False Shark Fin
Free Spectrograph Software allows real-time monitoring of Jupiter and Solar storms from UFRO and WCCRO.Most Recent Spectrograph Images from the WCCRO
Green Bank Solar Spectrometer
NOAA FTP site with recent radio burst info.
Daily updated ACE data which you can compare to your radio observations.
Marshall Space Flight Center Solar Physics
List of TYPE II/III/IV bursts from WAVES/WIND satellite.
Bruny Island Radio Spectrometer - 3 to 45 MHz in Tasmania.
IPS Australian solar
Hiraiso Solar Terrestrial Research Center, a Japanese radio site.
ETHZ PLASMA AND RADIO ASTROPHYSICS GROUP, a European site.
Daily images in different wavelengths:
National Solar Observatory / Sacramento, Peak NSO CORONAL DATA.
Thanks to Tom Ashcraft for many of the above solar links!
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Last Updated Jan 9, 2009