Physics Application Brief
Dr. Haubold uses DADiSP
, the graphic display and data management
software tool from DSP Development Corporation
, to display, analyze,
and manage solar activity data. Its storage abilities,
user-friendliness, and wide variety of built-in analysis functions make
it indispensable to his search for patterns in a baffling array of
Neutrinos are weakly interacting particles emitted in the hottest and
densest regions of cosmic bodies. Since neutrinos pass through most
kinds of matter, it is assumed that they have never been disrupted from
the distribution they had when they first came into being. For this
reason, astronomic observers study them to get a "blueprint" of the
internal structure of stars. The rate at which neutrinos flow out of
the Sun can provide information about the age and evolution of the Sun
and of our own solar system; however, the theoretical rate of flow of
solar neutrinos does not correlate with the observed neutrino capture
rate, which has been recorded at the Homestake Gold Mine in Lead, South
Dakota, USA, since 1970. Standard solar models represent the center of
the Sun as a gravitationally stabilized fusion reactor from which a
steady outflow of neutrinos is expected; however, this steady outflow
is not observed.
Dr. Haubold thinks that the difference between the theoretical and
observed rates of neutrino flow might be attributable to variations in
the Sun's neutrino output. He believes that the flow might be periodic
like other kinds of solar activity, such as sunspots. He uses DADiSP,
which he has running on a personal computer, to perform Fourier
analysis on neutrino data.
Power Spectrum Analysis
Dr. Haubold receives data either on paper or in files sent via
electronic mail from other researchers. The data sets are small,
containing somewhere between fifty and five hundred measurements. Dr.
Haubold downloads or types them into a DADiSP labbook, and then uses
DADiSP's FFT and power spectrum functions, among others, to manipulate
data and detect patterns. "I use every DADiSP [mathematical function]
to see what's there," he says. DADiSP's graphic display and ease of
use allow him to try many operations and see the results immediately.
DADiSP, Ideal for Astrophysics
Dr. Haubold says, "DADiSP is an ideal package for analyzing this type
of astrophysical data. Every astrophysicist should apply [it] to data
that have a harmonic content." Astrophysicists all over the world have
been participating in the effort to resolve the solar neutrino problem.
Perhaps one of the most puzzling scientific questions of our time will
be resolved with the help of DADiSP.