Part 1: Importing and Graphing
import the sunspot data into Excel:
- Go to the following
- Open the Yearly.plt
file (near the end of the list of files)
the data and Copy to the clipboard.
- Open a new workbook
- On sheet1,
select columns A and Paste the data.
- Under the Data
menu, choose Text to Columns and follow the directions on the
- You will need to
insert a row at the top of the sheet in order to label
the columns YEAR and SUNSPOT NUMBERS
NOTE: This data set
contains the yearly average sunspot numbers from 1700-1997. For
the graphing part of the activity, you will only need the data
Look at the data in tabular form.
Do you notice any patterns?
Create a connected scatterplot of the Sunspot
numbers from 1900 to 1997.
Describe the activity of the sun over this
extended period of time. Do
you notice any patterns in the graph?
When was the largest peak?
When was the smallest peak?
2: Analyzing the Cyclic Behavior
How many years elapse between low points?
The graph of the average monthly sunspot numbers for each year
shows a regular cycle of highs and lows.
To estimate the cycle’s period, we can calculate the average number of years between
successive low points. Calculate
this average over at least 5 successive low points.
What other phenomena might be periodic? (Hint:
some weather related data is periodic!)
Find data for the phenomenon of interest. The home page of the
National Geophysical Data Center (http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov)
provides links to lots of scientific data.
Import the data into Excel and create a graph.
If the data is periodic, estimate the period.
Is the period similar to that for sunspots?
Can you think of any phenomenon that might be related
to solar activity? Conjecture
a possible phenomenon and its relationship to sunspot numbers.
Find the data of interest, import it into a spreadsheet and
compare it with the sunspot data.
(The activity entitled Sunspots
and Geomagnetic Disturbances will explore one such relationship in