WSE187: "Hands on science with radio waves"

Spring 2017

Department of Physics and Astronomy, Stony Brook University

Lab instructors:
Joanna Kiryluk, Physics and Astronomy, Stony Brook University
Meghan Donnelly, Engineering, Stony Brook University
Ernst Sichtermann, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Richard Lefferts, Physics and Astronomy, Stony Brook University

04/01/2017 (Saturday) 10am-5pm
04/08/2017 (Saturday) 10am-5pm
Location: A-floor, room 118, Physics Building

Radio detection techniques are widely used in science and engineering, in areas ranging from object detection with radar to searches for the most energetic and elusive particles in the universe. In this course students will learn a method to detect solar flares - a sudden large energy release on the Sun's surface - using Very Low Frequency (VLF) antennas and electronics. The laboratory component offers a hands-on experience with this technique. You will construct a SID  detector. You will use an antenna built in previous 2016 WSE187 course , will build (for the first time) an amplifier needed for a real signal detection. If time permits, we will collect and analyze the data.

"The Radio Sky and How to Observe it", Jeff Lashley.
Reading assignment: Chapter 1 and CHapter 9.


04/08/2017 (pdf)
Shields testing: instructions provided in class.
Previously collected data files: 20160806.CSV , 20160807.CSV , 20160417.CSV

04/01/2017 (pdf)
Shields construction: instructions provided in class.

Write a ~ 2-page (not counting plots) report. Your report should contain a description of:
1) Introduction
What are solar flares? How do we detect them using our SID detector (SID=antenna + arduino based stack of shields)

2) Shield construction (one of the three, the one you constructed)

3) Shield testing (one of the three, the one you constructed)
include data and graphs, describe any problems (if any) you encountered

4) Read the data files collected with your shields (it will take a few days), and make plots. Describe the main features of the plots. Have we detected solar flares? Just to start, you may use data files collected previously. Once you get your own data, you will just change input data. 5) What you have learned overall, which aspects of the project did you enjoy, which parts did you dislike.
Email your reports for grading to: Joanna.Kiryluk (at)
DUE: 04/21/2017