Dunsink Lane, Dublin 15, D15 XR2R

DIAS Summer Interns 2023 #4

Chris and I started this week off in the education centre in Birr castle. After having set up the Linux PC in Stream Birr, it was time to start installing it in the education centre, replacing the old windows version that was running the SuperSID software previously.

This went smoothly aside from the fact there were a few issues involving the external sound card and its configuration with the software. The sound card is a vital component of the SuperSID setup as it’s what converts the received signal from analog to digital. Thankfully, after a while we identified what was causing the issues and fixed it so that data is now being stored and presented correctly and we hope to get this data streaming to the online database by next week.

From Wednesday onwards, we spent our time working from the offices in Stream Birr. We set up remote access to the Birr SuperSID PC so we could interact with the software remotely from Stream Birr if any issues arose or if there were any improvements we wanted to make to the software. 

Our focus for the rest of the week was submitting a poster title and abstract to the Irish National Astrophysics Meeting (INAM). This is an annual meeting of astrophysics researchers across Ireland to come together to collaborate, give talks and discuss their current research. This year INAM is being held in University College Cork by the school of physics on August 24th and 25th. We hope to submit 2 posters to INAM regarding our research done with the SuperSID to share our experience with the SuperSID and show that such an inexpensive tool can be used to detect Sudden Ionospheric Disturbances such as solar flares and even gamma ray bursts.

This week has been very lively in terms of solar activity. Between the 11th and 12th of July alone 10 M-class flares occurred. The strongest of which was an M6.9 that occurred around 9 a.m. UTC. Reports say that this caused radio blackouts across North America and Canada. Unfortunately, we couldn’t capture this with our birr SuperSID as it still wasn’t fully functioning at the time, but we did manage to capture it well with our Dunsink SuperSID. The recent increased frequency of solar flares is another area we plan on investigating with the SuperSID and we could potentially present any findings in our INAM posters.