The AAVSO SID Program consists of solar observers who monitor very low frequency (VLF) radio stations for sudden enhancements of their signals. Earth's ionosphere reacts to the intense X-ray and ultraviolet radiation released during a solar flare. The ionospheric disturbance enhances VLF radio propagation. By monitoring the signal strength of a distant VLF transmitter, sudden ionospheric disturbances (SIDs) are recorded and indicate a recent solar flare event.
The Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance (SID) Database lists all events identified in the AAVSO Solar Bulletin. These results are provided monthly by the worldwide network of SID observers in the AAVSO Solar Division. Individual results are correlated with other observers' reports and reduced to a list of events with high definiteness ratings.
When the ultraviolet rays from the Sun hit the Earths atmosphere the energy they possess work to knock electrons off of the atoms and molecules that the atmosphere is made up of. These free electrons make up a region of the atmosphere known as the Ionosphere. The region is strongest on the daytime side of the earth since it is dependant on the energy from the solar ultra violet rays.
VERY LOW FREQUENCY (VLF) RADIO STATIONS
Station Station Frequency Radiated
Site ID (kHz) Power
Cutler, ME NAA 24.0 1000
Jim Creek, WA NLK 24.8 250
Lualualei, HI NPM 21.4 566
LaMoure, ND NML 25.2 500
(Extracted from SID Technical Bulletin Vol. 3, Number 4, Oct. 1992)
The reduction process is quite simple, and consists of the steps which follow. First, the universal time for each of three event-phases must be measured for each SID. Examples are indicated on the recording at the end of this report.