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@Ruslan's excellent answer to What it the outer part of the sun, that we see with our eyes, called? and its link to David R. Brooks' Photographing the Solar Aureole led me to Forest M. Mims III (2003) in Applied Optics 42, (3) 492 Solar Aureoles Caused by Dust, Smoke, and Haze (also researchgate) and the author's other pages

the latter of which mentions the RadioShack Sun & Sky Monitoring Station. Below is a GIF from that page.

Question: What did Forest S. Mims III's RadioShack Sun & Sky Monitoring Station do? What sensors did it have and how did it record data?

disclaimer: I have no affiliation to the product, which I believe is no longer available in any event.

The GIF http://www.forrestmims.org/images/210_Animation_Sun_Sky_at_White_Sands_DSCN1722.gif won't play more than once in my browser once I embed it here as https://i.stack.imgur.com/wv3YW.gif so here are the five individual images; I've enlarged and sharpened them.

frame 1 of 5 from  the GIF Forest S. Mims III's RadioShack Sun & Sky Monitoring Station from http://www.forrestmims.org frame 2 of 5 from  the GIF Forest S. Mims III's RadioShack Sun & Sky Monitoring Station from http://www.forrestmims.org frame 3 of 5 from  the GIF Forest S. Mims III's RadioShack Sun & Sky Monitoring Station from http://www.forrestmims.org frame 4 of 5 from  the GIF Forest S. Mims III's RadioShack Sun & Sky Monitoring Station from http://www.forrestmims.org frame 5 of 5 from  the GIF Forest S. Mims III's RadioShack Sun & Sky Monitoring Station from http://www.forrestmims.org

Five frames from the GIF fo Forest S. Mims III's RadioShack Sun & Sky Monitoring Station from http://www.forrestmims.org


For more Sun monitoring equipment see the following in Earth Science SE:

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  • I think this may push the boundaries of retrocomputing; looking at the circuit board I'm not sure there is a real computer inside, but folks here may have some experience tracking down vintage RadioShack electronics so I think this is where answers are most likely to be forthcoming. Maybe keep it open long enough to get answered at least?
    – uhoh
    Jul 19 at 22:25
  • 1
    It really does, this is neither a computer or contains one (unless the clock is coutned as such) nor is it retro in any way.
    – Raffzahn
    Jul 19 at 23:47
  • 1
    Can buy on Amazon today ::= not retro. Jul 20 at 1:12
  • @another-dave ah, I was thinking about asking for a working definition; I see computing equipment that is no longer manufactured or supported by the manufacturer, but if "...and can not be found on Amazon." is part of the site's working definition, then maybe that should be added to help on-topic?
    – uhoh
    Jul 20 at 1:19
  • 1
    @uhoh well, Amazon is kind of an indicator, as most of their stuff is new. They're not Ebay. It's just less of a sharp distinction than the Tandy catalogue. I do not believe there's any sense in listing various sales channels - but this may be rather up to be talked about in Meta.
    – Raffzahn
    Jul 20 at 11:39
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I can't find a manual, but there's a fair description of what we're seeing in those pictures here:

It's basically 4 LED's being used as sensors, connected to an op-amp and voltmeter. Literally less than $5.00 worth of parts.

Mims's thing is using LEDs to measure solar irradiance. While they do respond to solar intensity quite well, calibrating and interpreting the output is not easy. Mims has used his tech pulpit to cast doubt on anthropogenic climate change and also promote intelligent design.

As the device contains no computing elements, I'd like to suggest that it's out of scope for this site.

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  • 2
    What is the purpose of your sentence about Mims' "tech pulpit". Are you saying your belief that his beliefs are ... unviable ... imply that his technology is also unreliable? Ad hominem? Or? I don't see how that sentence improves your answer at all.
    – davidbak
    Jul 19 at 23:40
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    @davidbak it does when read as whole. The tech used is at best unreliable, delivering hard to calibrate and repeat results, thus any usage is at least doubtful. In conjunction with a promoter known to support fringe opinions (to say it friendly) the whole usage needs to be marked as done.
    – Raffzahn
    Jul 19 at 23:51
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    @uhoh - try it now: I fixed it. You'll have to scroll down to find the text, which I quoted in its entirety.
    – scruss
    Jul 20 at 0:09
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    @davidbak His experiments and methodologies are guided by his beliefs, which is not how the scientific method works. It's not ad hominem if the person is misguided and is publishing results not supported by scientists. I'm with the IPCC on this one: when Mims tried to include works that would weaken the findings and standing of the report, they rejected it because Mims cited no peer-reviewed research.
    – scruss
    Jul 20 at 0:19
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    @davidbak ad hominem is a valid way to adjust your a-priori probability of something being quackery or not. If most things with property P are quackery, and this thing has property P, it's a good guess that it's quackery. In this case property P is that the thing is "recommended" by a certain person
    – user253751
    Jul 20 at 9:42

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