Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Ariel O. Acebal, PhD.


This study consists of a quantitative comparison of H-alpha solar flare area and brightness as recorded by the Solar Observing Optical Network (SOON) and the Global Oscillation Network Group (GONG) from March 11 through November 30, 2011. The Air Force utilizes the three-site SOON network for H-alpha flare monitoring, while the six-site GONG network, managed by the National Solar Observatory, provides backup H alpha flare monitoring for SOON. A total of 1000 flares were observed and 100 of these were rated larger or brighter than the 0-F category. In the SOON network, 8% of flares observed by two sites had a difference in area or brightness category, or both. In the GONG network, with up to four sites viewing the same flare, 44% of flares observed by multiple sites had at least one site with differences in area, brightness, or both. Of these cases, the GONG site that rated the flare as having the largest or brightest rating also had the highest sharpness 95% of the time. Of the 84 flares larger or brighter than 0 F observed by both networks, area and brightness category ratings were the same 35% of the time. The GONG rating was one category larger or brighter than SOON 26% of the time and the SOON rating was one category larger or brighter than GONG 39% of the time. There was only one case with a two category difference between networks this was attributed to clouds at one site. GONG observed all 9 of SOON’s event-level flares while observing three additional that SOON did not observe.

Ultimately, GONG observed all SOON flares with the same variability noted when comparing flares observed within the SOON network, and is a reliable source for H-alpha flare observations.

AFIT Designator