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I was wondering if there are any ways for some amateur to detect let's say solar flares or CMEs from home. What kind of hardware would you need in order to have chance of seeing/measuring those?

I have a background in programming software and I've gotten my feet wet in hardware if that's of any help.

I'm aware that the weather plays a "bit" of a factor and I am sure that I can't afford a satellite but anything is welcome!

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm no expert but space weather certainly has an effect on the ionosphere. Receiving strong short wave signals from distant stations, especially at higher frequency at night might be somewhat useful, but it's a bit complicated... $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 5:37
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh complicated stuff is my thing!! Could you please point me in the direction of a paper? I have no clue on what to search specifically $\endgroup$
    – CCG
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 7:54
  • $\begingroup$ I think others will be able to help more on this than I can, there will probably be some answers soon. You can also check out things tagged with space-weather in Space Exploration SE. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 8:02
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    $\begingroup$ You might look into a hydrogen-alpha solar telescope. These telescopes have very-narrow bandpass filters at the hydrogen-alpha wavelength, which tends to reveal solar activity at much higher contrast than white light. $\endgroup$
    – antlersoft
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ @antlersoft I googled it up and they seem pretty expensive... I did not know that they existed though so thank you for pointing that out $\endgroup$
    – CCG
    Commented Jun 16, 2020 at 21:18

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The most extreme solar flares are visible as bright marks on the face of the sun and the most extreme CME are apparent as aurorae even at low latitudes.

Detecting CME as they leave the sun is difficult: you really need a spaceship to see that close to the sun.

Detecting CME as they interact with the Earth's magnetic field is possible. You need to make a magnetometer. There are several designs possible, from a "jamjar/laserpointer" design to fluxgate designs, and commercial detectors at various price points.

A magnetometer will respond to CME as they interact with the Earth's magnetic field, so they are not an early warning system, and you may find yourself detecting next-door's ironing, but at least the more advanced designs here demonstrate it is possible to get a signal that correlates with observations of the aurora.

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    $\begingroup$ also see answers to Does a geomagnetic storm visibly deflect a compass? for really big events it may be possible to use a compass, and it might help putting a small mirror on it and deflect a laser pointer. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 15:58

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