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This Week in Data: Cosmic Rays From Outer-Space! (What comes next?)

It’s been a couple of years now since I wrote my first blog post about looking for evidence of cosmic interference in telemetry data, and I thought it would be a good time to provide an update on what my future plans are for continuing this research.

The good news is: I haven’t forgotten about transient bit-flips and solar interference has been brewing in the back of my mind since the original blog post.

The sun itself has helped to bring this back to the forefront for me since we are approaching the solar maximum. Once about every 11 years or so, the sun tends to get very active in generating sun-spots and that comes with an increase in solar flares and coronal mass ejection events. Pair that with the new sunspot friends I have made which have been spewing charged particles our way (such as my new best sunspot friend AR3664, who has been especially active lately), have all helped to give me an increased amount of solar activity that will make searching for the needles in the haystack that much easier.

Currently I have been looking at correlations between the incidence of transient bit-flips in the data and the Kp and Ap indices. These are relative measures of the Sun’s effect on the Earth’s magnetic field. I’ve also taken advantage of having an actual astrophysicist working on data-science within my wider org that I hope I haven’t been pestering too much with my questions (thank you Dr. Jeff Silverman).

Right now is the best time to collect data that I could possibly ask for on this interesting little topic, considering all the elements working in my favor. In light of that fact, and at the prompting of both my manager and astro-mentor, I am working towards putting this all together in the form of an article which I will seek to publish in a peer-reviewed journal. That’s a little bit daunting to me, as I’ve not done a lot of this sort of research and writing in some time, but it’s also exciting to think about the possible applications of what I learn along the way.

I must apologize for keeping you in suspense a while longer. I don’t have any mind-blowing things to share just yet, but I assure you that they are coming soon. Being a Mozillian, I strongly believe in working in the open, so I’ll do my best to ensure that wherever the results of my research end up they will be publicly available for the world to make use of. So here’s to the coming solar maximum and its impact on data!