Radio JOVE 2023 Solar Eclipse Citizen Science Campaign

Radio JOVE is planning to use radio telescopes to make coordinated observations of the Sun for the October 14, 2023 and the April 8, 2024 solar eclipses. In support of NASA Citizen Science and in partnership with the Heliophysics Big Year (, Radio JOVE wants your help to study the Sun. [Radio JOVE is a worldwide community. We recognize that these two solar eclipse events happen over the Americas, but anyone is welcome to participate and learn with us.]

To coordinate and help our observers, we have practice sessions scheduled for 2023 and 2024. Our 2023 schedule is:

  1. Practice Session #1 - Wednesday, June 14, 2023
  2. Practice Session #2 - Friday, July 14, 2023
  3. Practice Session #3 - Monday, August 14, 2023
  4. Practice Session #4 - Thursday, September 14, 2023
  5. 2023 Annular Solar Eclipse - Saturday, October 14, 2023

What do we learn from these observations?

Radio JOVE, the SunRISE Mission, and others are interested in studying the Sun at radio frequencies below 30 MHz. We want to better understand the radio emissions caused by solar activity and emitted in the solar corona by energetic plasma. We learn about radio emission processes and radio wave propagation from the Sun to the Earth, and specifically through Earth's ionosphere. A network of radio telescopes can help us understand the temporal and spatial variations in the ionosphere like changes in plasma density, propagation cutoff frequencies, radio fadeouts, and latitudinal variations.

It is well known that the plasma in the ionosphere changes significantly between the nighttime and daytime, and it also demonstrates short-term changes because of the lunar shadow during a solar eclipse. We are observing the Sun during the solar eclipse to try to quantify these changes to better understand the ionosphere.

How do we make the observations?

We seek observations at single or multiple frequencies anywhere from 15-30 MHz both inside and outside the path of the eclipse to study the solar radio emissions and the ionosphere. Use your Radio JOVE 1.1 receiver (20.1 MHz), Radio JOVE 2.0 SDRplay radio (16-24 MHz), or custom built FSX spectrographs (15-30 MHz) for your observations. By using multiple radio telescopes across the Americas, we'll have a larger database for comparisons. Ideally, we observe the Sun many days before and after the eclipse at a particular location so we can compare them to the observations during the day of the eclipse. However, for temporary setups, single day observations on the day of the eclipse are highly valued.

Specific Instructions for Observations

A. General Information for the 2023 Annualar Solar Eclipse, October 14, 2023

Begin Observations 15:00 UTC (11:00 EDT)
Maximum eclipse is 18:00 UTC (14:00 EDT)
End Observations 21:00 UTC (17:00 EDT)

Because the annular eclipse lasts about 4 hours, we want to observe about 6 hours total to get data before/after the begin/end time of the eclipse. We want observations within three hours of the maximum eclipse (i.e. +/- 3 hours of 18:00 UTC on 14 October 2023)

Here is excellent timing information for any location:

B. Radio Telescope Setup and Observation

  1. Use Radio JOVE 1.1 receivers or Radio JOVE 2.0 SDRplay radios.
  2. Use a single or a dual dipole antenna.
    1. Dual dipole antennas - E-W orientation of the wires is recommended; remove the phasing cable so the antenna beam is pointed at the zenith.
    2. Single dipole - an E-W orientation is recommended.
  3. Verify the computer clock is set to UTC time (i.e., Time Zone UTC under adjust date/time settings)
  4. Update your Metadata in your Radio-Skypipe or Radio-Sky Spectrograph software.
  5. Calibrate your radio telescope if you have a calibrator*. It is best to calibrate at the start and end of your observations.
    *Most people using the Radio JOVE 2.0 telescope do not have a calibrator; thus, it is okay if your data are not calibrated. Plans for a calibrator are coming soon. Those using the original RJ1.1 single frequency receiver with an RF2080 calibrator are highly encouraged to contribute their data.
  6. If possible, observe from about 15:00 - 21:00 UTC for several days before and after the date of the eclipse. Make notes about solar activity, observing conditions, radio frequency interference (RFI), or local storms (**Please disconnect your antenna during any local thunderstorms**). Keep these data files for later comparison, if needed.

C. Data Analysis and Data Archiving

See this Video to help you with archiving your data:

  1. Data Analysis
    1. Use Radio-Sky Spectrograph (RSS) software to load and display your data file. Click the icon in RSS to manually enter the start/end times of interest. For example, data from July 28, 15:00 - 21:00 UTC is shown in Figure 1.
    2. Determine and identify whether any solar radio burst activity was received. For example, Figure 2 shows solar bursts from about 15:40 - 16:10 UTC on July 28.
    3. Save data into files of less than a 2-hour duration (needed because of the file size limitation of the data archive).
      1. Click the RSS icon to Save the visible portion of the spectrograph as a ".sps" data file (Figure 3). For example, I saved a 30-minute data file.
      2. Click the Camera icon (Figure 3) to save an image file of your data (jpeg, png, etc.).
  2. Data Archiving
    1. Reminder: you must request a Data Submitter Account to upload data files. See instructions on the data archive:
    2. The current maximum file size for uploading is 64 MB. This is about 2 hours of data from the Radio JOVE 2.0 telescope.
    3. Upload your image file and data file to the data archive:
      IMPORTANT: Please upload a 30-minute data file even if you do not get solar bursts. It is a good exercise to upload a data file so others can compare to your data.

Thank you for your participation in NASA Citizen Science!

the RadioJOVE 2.0 logo
Heliophysics Big Year Have you heard the Sun? The Sun produces radio waves that can be
detected on Earth. Solar radio waves can be detected using Radio JOVE
  radio telescopes.