DSES SuperSID Radio Telescope — September 2017 Significant Solar Events Observed

DSES SuperSID Radio Telescope

September 2017 Significant Solar Events Observed

The DSES Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance Monitor (SID) detected in September several major solar eruptions – M and X Class Flares. Below are shown graphs of the data from four particular days.

The DSES SID instrument is located in Colorado Springs.  It works by listening for a US Navy beacon station in North Dakota, call sign NML,  transmitting on the Very Low Frequency (VLF) of 25 KHz.  During the day, the D Layer of the ionosphere forms at lower altitudes and attenuates the VLF signal.  But during solar flares, VLF signals can more easily pass through the D Layer, and they then get bounced back to the ground from the higher F Layer.  The more the solar flare activity affecting our ionosphere, the better the VLF signal from NML propagates to us.

Strong solar flare events show a characteristic spike, and then a “shark tail” as the ionosphere recovers.

At night, the D Layer dissipates, and then the signal from NML usually easily reaches the receiver.  At local sunrise, at about 1200 UTC, you can see the effect of the D Layer forming with the sudden drop in reception.

You can see evidence that the F Layer is influenced by the solar flares as well.  Notice during the X 8.2 Flare on September 10 that the incoming signal becomes even stronger than during normal propagation at night.

The bottom axis of each graph is Greenwich (UTC) Time.  The vertical axis shows the received energy.  Individual flare events are identified and annotated in green.  Some events occurred during local night.

Observations were made by Dr. Richard Russel.

September 4, 2017 – M Class Flares


September 6, 2017 – M Class Flares



September 7, 2017 – X 1.3 Class Flare


September 10, 2017 – X 8.2 Flare

Deep Space Exploration Society (DSES) SuperSID station measures the August 20, 2017 Solar Eclipse!

Deep Space Exploration Society (DSES) SuperSID station measures the August 20, 2017 Solar Eclipse!

[ http://dses.science/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Eclipse-SuperSID-Results.pdf ]

DSES President Dr. Richard Russel has been measuring signal strengths 0f stations in the Very Low Frequency (VLF) band for the past year, looking for changes in ionospheric propagation due to solar flares. He uses a Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance (SID) monitor small radio telescope.  His SID detector is located in Colorado Springs, CO. The measurements are sensitive to the changes in radio propagation at sunrise and sunset.

With his baseline of historical data at sunrise and sunset, he then predicted what could be expected during the August 20, 2017 solar eclipse. He presented his prediction work at the 2017 Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers Annual Conference at NRAO Greenbank, WV on July 25, 2017. His paper was titled, “Ionospheric Reflection Variation During Sunrise and Sunset and Predictions for the 2017 Total Eclipse”.

During the eclipse he made measurements, and found the results matched closely with his predictions. The link presents a summary of his work. Plus it has YouTube links to this and another of his talks at the SARA conference. The second talk is titled, The Use of Monte-Carlo Analysis to Evaluate Radio Astronomy Source Detection”.

Also see this Daily Mail article, NASA Scientists to Study the Ionosphere During the Eclipse (August 10, 2017).

Preliminary Baseline 420 MHZ Celestial Drift Scan Survey, December 2016

Here is my fist shot at a survey! A lot of things I can fix for next survey, planned for after Christmas.

1) Will have a 15dB preamp installed on mast
2) Will raise frequency to midrange of antenna sweet spot (435 MHz)
3) Will do a better alignment of antenna

This was fun!!!!!!


Dr. Rich Russel

Link to Preliminary Baseline 420 MHZ Celestial Drift Scan Survey, December 2016: 420-mhz-drift-scan-survey-rev-4

Science Update 9-3-16

Radio Jove and SuperSID Data and Analysis Reports

Attached are the August reports for the Radio Jove, located at Plishner, and the SuperSID, which is located at my house.

1) The Radio Jove observing season is closing down with only an hour of observing time a day after sunset. We did get a couple of probable hits.

2) SuperSID did detect an M1.3 flare on 8 August. I also conducted a comparison of the Radio Jove results and the SuperSID results. I found no significant correlation between the two telescopes. The lightning storms this month also affected both telescopes by adding a lot of spurious signals.

I have been in contact with the Radio Jove NASA coordinator. He likes what we are doing and has provided information to improve our Radio Jove system.

DSES SuperSID Results August 2016
DSES Plishner Radio Jove Results August 2016

Dr. Rich Russel
DSES VP and Science Coordinator

Science Update 8-1-16

Plishner Radio SuperSID Results – July 2016

  • Here is my analysis of the SuperSID Data: DSES SuperSID Results July 2016
  • There were a number of C1+ flares last month.
  • There was an M1.9 flare on July 24.
  • The system is barely detecting C flares and rarely detects B flares.
  • I plan on taking to Plishner – this should increase sensitivity.

Plishner Radio Jove Results – July 2016

    • Here is my analysis of the Radio Jove data for July 2016 from the Plishner site: DSES Plishner Radio Jove Results July 2016
    • There was a significant improvement in detection results this month. This corresponds to the new antenna cabling.


Dr. Rich Russel

Science Update 6-3-16

The Radio Jove system picked up lightning strikes very clearly on 20.1 MHz during the storm that passed through Colorado Springs on 29 May 2016, as evidenced by Figure 1. The second jpeg, Figure 2, is zoomed-in showing what lighting looks like on the strip chart.

As you can see, it is important to recognize if your radio telescope is detecting Jupiter or lightning.

Figure 1. Radio Jove data record of 5-29-16

Figure 2. Detail of Lighting data 5-29-16

Dr. Rich Russel

Science Update 5-1-16

Radio JOVE Observations at the Plishner Radio Astronomy Observatory
Observational Period: February to April 2016
Analysis: Dr. Richard Russel

Radio Jove Configuration:

  • 20.1 MHz Receiver
  • Dual Dipole at 15 ft. oriented East-West with a 90 degree phase delay on South Dipole
    1. South dipole feed line was eaten through.
    2. North dipole feed line was damaged but intact – may have some degradation.
  • Radio Skypipe software with an audio feed from receiver
  • Latitude: 38: 45:28N Longitude: 103:16:50W
  • Power was lost around 6 April – due to primary DC-AC inverter failing
  • Note that the Sun has a dominant signature (Sunrise and Sunset times are documented)
  • Very few Jupiter related signatures were noted for this time period. This was probably related to the damaged antenna.

Recommended Follow Up Actions:

  • Compare Solar activity with Radio Jove activity. There appeared to have been enough gain on the antenna to get a good solar signature.