UCSC Abstract 2014 - The Solar Wind's Effect on Muon Flux

D. Rathmann-Bloch

This experiment sought to evaluate the impact of the solar wind on the amount of muons coming in by correlating the rate of muon flux detected in a Quarknet 6000-series Scintillator detector with a) the natural day-night cycle an b) the dynamic solar wind data from NASA's SOHO satellite.

Using two different experimental setups (each running for 64 hours), the experimenter observed no statistically significant correlation between the day-night cycle and the rate of muon flux. He did, however, observe a seemingly statistically significant positive correlation between the muon flux and the real-time solar wind data; nevertheless, that correlation was neither linear nor completely supported by the data. On the setup with the detectors stacked atop one another and pointing directly up at the sky, a stronger visual correlation was observed (71% of data points within one standard deviation; 94% within two). When the Pearson Equation was used to find a correlation, it gave a value of about 0.44 (2 significant figures), which shows a mild positive correlation. On the setup with the detectors separated by a box and pointed toward the ecliptic, the visual correlation was not well shown (65% within one standard deviation; 88% within two). The Pearson value on the second data run showed a very, very weak negative correlation of -0.12. 
Thus, this experiment showed no visible correlation between the day/night cycle and the muon flux. Using all four detectors stacked directly atop one another, it showed a mild positive correlation between the solar wind density and the measured muon flux. Using all four detectors, pointed toward the ecliptic, with a box in between them, the experiment showed no statistically significant correlation.