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A Practical Notification System to Identify Incoming Sudden Ionospheric Disturbances

Solar flares, which are the sudden release of high energy particles from the sun, are a threat to our vital communication and power networks. This investigation devises and evaluates a method to minimize this threat by creating a solar flare early detection system based upon identifying characteristics of the solar flare. When a Very Low Frequency wave reflects off the ionosphere with ionization due to a solar flare it bounce back with a larger amplitude than if it were to bounce off with no ionization. Therefore, a high amplitude VLF signal could indicate a solar flare. The detection and warning system consists of a loop antenna which detects the VLF waves, a preamplifier and sound card, and MATLAB software which processes the signal and identifies the potential solar flare. A smart phone application has been written and implemented to deliver the information about a potentially disruptive solar flare to various communication devices.