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DSES Solar Research

  • Solar Flux Index
  • SIDs
Solar observing is active at the DSES. The observations include both optical and radio frequencies.

Optical observations of the solar disk are of sunspots, both the count of sunspots and of sunspot groups. These two counts often are combined to form a sunspot number. This number is reported monthly by various organizations including DSES. The unique contribution of the DSES is the determination of monthly sunspot numbers using modern statistical analytical methods. The modern methods often result in different numbers than the traditional analytical methods. The traditional methods are concerned with historical continuity, whereas the modern method is concerned with establishing true sunspot counts.

The DSES is building a solar radiometer using a 36” horn antenna and power meter for monitoring the solar flux index (SFI). The SFI is used in numerous areas of solar physics and geophysical research but is particularly helpful for modeling the behavior of the current sunspot cycle. Our objective is to create a design for a DSES standard reference observatory to collect solar flux data at 10.7 cm (2.8 GHz) that can be reliably duplicated.

DSES is participating in the Stanford University Space Weather Monitoring ( As stated on the Stanford website, Earth's ionosphere reacts strongly to the intense x-ray and ultraviolet radiation released by the Sun during a solar event. By using a receiver to monitor the signal strength from distant VLF transmitters, and noting unusual changes as the waves bounce off the ionosphere, students around the world can directly monitor and track these Sudden Ionospheric Disturbances (SIDs). We are collecting SIDS data for member examination and analysis.