Ideas for solar observations/fun projects using cosmic ray detectors/geiger counters, anyone?

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
Thu, 09/08/2022 - 20:25

I wonder whether there is any chance to make observations (perhaps long time) with consumer grade Geiger counters that relate to solar activity.

For all the "wrong" reasons, people here in Europe have developed a great interests in equipment to detect ionizing radiation lately. For example, you can buy gadgets based on the Soviet-era SBM-20 tube that will register ca 20 counts per minute (near sea level), many of them actually caused by muons created when cosmic radiation hits the Earth's atmosphere, rather than gamma/beta/alpha radiation from terrestrial radioactivity. I wonder whether the contribution from solar activity is strong enough to be registered in a significant way by a single Geiger counter or a network of counters? I'm not thinking about those devices that just give you an audible click once in a while but devices that have a digital interface that allows you to keep track of count rates automatically. Those are actually rather simple and inexpensive these days, e.g.

Thanks for any input

muon counters

Hi Bikeman,

I've had muon counters (Geiger - Muller) running for years. Mostly there is only a little variation during a year of recording. The Solar cycle over ~ 11 years or so show some ups and down during solar max and solar minimum. But collecting these data is a long term project. I published some results in the old AAVSO Newsletter (Vol 66).

going back to 1960 or so.  Might check that out.





American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)

I make observations with consumer grade Geiger conters that relate to solar activity.


What I study are cracks in magnetosphere by CMEs, making X-ray and UV to touch Earth's surface

I was told such mega cracks result in health problems with patients, like heart attacks, heart strokes and premature deaths.

There is no need to study solar activity all the time since you get reports on CME to come from NASA, NOAA and other services.


It make sense to spend one day at home to avoid exposure to high energy X-ray, UV stream coming from the sun at such time.