How are Sun Spot numbers being calculated?

Question by Jeff Engr: How are Sun Spot numbers being calculated?
How are they calculating the sun spot numbers? I asked this in another seciton on this forum and am getting no serious answers. I placing same question here as I value many of the opinions on this section even those I disagree with… Please only reasonable answers, this is an honest scientific curiosity for me.

i.e.
For May 2 there was one sun spot #1203 and the sunspot number was 57

For May 3 there are 4 sun spots #1200, 1203, 1204, and 1205 but the sunspot number is 51

The equation they give is R=k (10g+s)

where R is the sunspot number; g is the number of sunspot groups on the solar disk; s is the total number of individual spots in all the groups; and k is a variable scaling factor (usually <1) that accounts for observing conditions and the type of telescope (binoculars, space telescopes, etc.). Scientists combine data from lots of observatories -- each with its own k factor -- to arrive at a daily value. so unless k varies VERY widely, the sunspot numbers they are giving us appear to be bunk. Please help. How large can k get? during the deep solar minimum k was almost never less than 1... The equation comes from the website http://www.spaceweather.com/ which is run by Dr. Tony Phillips I think from NASA but I'm not sure on that... I am honestly looking for a reasonable explanation from someone who has at least a minimal level of scientific training. I am asking because I thought I understood how it is done, but based on # of sunspot groups and total number of spots, the only explanation I can find for the widely varying sunspot values is due to a widely varying value for the variable k. Given that, I really want to know how a value for k is determined. Saying scientists do it is good for grade school children, but not for those of us who know mathematics physics etc and have legitimate questions. for k to have true scientific value then how a value for k is determined is HIGHLY relevant and should be determined based on a set algorithm. I'd like to better understand that algorithm... Best answer:

Answer by Peter J
This answers it very clearly…

http://spaceweather.com/glossary/sunspotnumber.html

This explains the “K” factor
http://sidc.oma.be/news/106/sunspotnumberclarified.pdf

The K factor is more sensibly calculated than trusting a single thermometer in the arctic to tell us the average temperature of thousands of square miles of arctic.

What do you think? Answer below!

What is causing the dead spot on the train track?

Question by Blue: What is causing the dead spot on the train track?
I have a g scale train that is 16 years old and it has some dead spot in the track it a new engine and the power supply is good the track it all connected and in the couplings but it goes super slow speeds up or stop any one know what up?

Best answer:

Answer by railbuff
The only reason your train stops is because the electricity stopped.
The culprit is usually dirt – somewhere. The other possibility is a short – does the grade change at that point? Rail joiners are not reliable conductors of electricity – soldering a wire joining two pieces of track (electrically) can sometimes solve these problems.
The best way to investigate track problems is to use a continuity tester – a battery, wire and light will do. The light should burn brightly when two adjoining pieces of rail are tested. Don’t forget to test each rail at each joint.
electrical problems are the most frustrating in my book.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!