Greetings and welcome to the Sky and Solar world!
We have launched this project as an extra instrument for anyone with an interest in solar activity, astronomy, astrophotography, aurorae hunting and ionospheric studies. While acknowledging there are many websites with similar thematics, we can stand out having our own, Very Low Frequency ionospheric monitoring station in operation, running 24/7 and recording amplitudes of up to 10 VLF radio transmitters, measuring ionoshpere response to solar radiation. As far as we are aware, there are only three receiving stations in the Republic of Ireland providing open public access to the VLF graphs. Another two stations are run by Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies (DIAS) and located at Dunsink Observatory near Dublin and the Rosse Observatory in Birr Castle Demesne.
Our plotters' numerical data is available for further indepth investigation and can be provided for research and study upon request.
We are based in Greystones, County Wicklow, Ireland - a lovely coastal town with unique atmosphere and beautiful people. A coastal location and some distance from Dublin city also means slightly better light pollution situation and slightly lesser level of radio interference locally or within a short distance away. Our receiving station's Maidenhead Locator Grid square is IO63XD
The site is still under construction partially, so please accept our appologies in case something goes wrong - there is work in progress ! So far we have finalized many of the sections, however some major changes or additions could happen, as well as some cosmetical tweeks.
The below is a brief guide to our VLF plotter:
To give a quick general idea of how to interpret the graphs:
High amplitude variations around local sunrises/sunsets are normal. These are called diurnal (or daily) variations.
Sun flares are only detectable on a sunlit side of the Earth, hence only daytime plots are useful. Normally, the daytime amplitudes are fairly flat and quiet. A flare looks like a raise or a dip in amplitude with a span of few minutes and more. As low as C-class flares are routinely detectable.
Night time graphs are only useful for aurorae detection (that is in a test mode). For that purpose we are monitoring two Icelandic stations and a station in the US. When Aurora is happening, amplitude of TFK/NRK is changing rapidly in several decibels range in very short period of time (minutes). With no or minor Aurora, graphs are reasonably quiet. You can browse through our Plotter Archive for reference.
Sharp, minute or less sudden spikes usually means local interference and can be ignored.
Sudden, right angle drop in amplitude usually means a station was turned off for whatever reason.
The reference image displaying some typical events: