Tagged: Space Weather Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 4:54 pm on December 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NASA MMS, Space Weather   

    From NASA Goddard: MMS Mission 

    NASA Goddard Banner

    Scientists Michael Hesse and John Dorelli explain the science objectives of the MMS mission.

    The [NASA] Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission is comprised of four identically instrumented spacecraft that will use Earth’s magnetosphere as a laboratory to study the microphysics of three fundamental plasma processes: magnetic reconnection, energetic particle acceleration, and turbulence. These processes occur in all astrophysical plasma systems but can be studied in situ only in our solar system and most efficiently only in Earth’s magnetosphere, where they control the dynamics of the geospace environment and play an important role in the processes known as “space weather.”

    Learn more about MMS at http://www.nasa.gov/mms

    Watch, enjoy, learn.

    4
    All four MMS spacecraft are stacked and ready for transport to the vibration chamber for environmental tests. Although they will be disassembled again later this month, this image is a sneak preview of what will be the final flight configuration of the MMS fleet.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation’s largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.

    Named for American rocketry pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the center was established in 1959 as NASA’s first space flight complex. Goddard and its several facilities are critical in carrying out NASA’s missions of space exploration and scientific discovery.

    NASA Goddard Campus
    NASA/Goddard Campus

    NASA

     
  • richardmitnick 3:43 pm on July 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Space Weather,   

    From SPACE.com: ” Huge Solar Storm of 2012 Would Have Sparked Calamity on Earth” 

    space-dot-com logo

    SPACE.com

    July 29, 2014
    Elizabeth Howell

    If a huge solar eruption in 2012 had hit the Earth, the effects would have been so devastating that we’d still be recovering two years later, scientists working on several new studies conclude.

    A huge coronal mass ejection — a large cloud of hot plasma sent into space — burst forth from the sun on July 23, 2012. The CME went through Earth’s orbit, and had it happened only one week earlier, our planet would have been in the way and faced severe technological consequences.

    There would have been three waves of damage associated with the extreme solar storm. First, X-rays and ultraviolet radiation from the solar flare would have produced radio blackouts and GPS navigation errors. The second part would have seen satellites fried by energetic particles like electrons and protons, which arrived only minutes to hours later.

    Finally, magnetized plasma from the CME would have struck our planet within the next day. Power blackouts could have been devastating, making it difficult to even flush the toilet because most urban areas use electric water pumps.

    “I have come away from our recent studies more convinced than ever that Earth and its inhabitants were incredibly fortunate that the 2012 eruption happened when it did,” Daniel Baker at the University of Colorado, who led a study of the storm in Space Weather, said in a statement.

    spurts
    A huge solar storm in 2012 could have cause wide-spread devastation on Earth, if it had given the planet a direct blow.
    Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory/NASA

    Disturbance in the solar force

    Researchers know about severity of the space weather thanks to NASA’s STEREO-A spacecraft, one of a twin NASA pair of satellites that is examining the sun. It found that the magnitude of the flare was similar to the Carrington event, an 1859 solar storm that set telegraph lines aflame as the Northern Lights were seen as far south as Cuba.

    stereo
    NASA/STEREO

    STEREO-A wasn’t hurt by the blast because it travelled safely outside the Earth’s magnetosphere, a zone above our planet that carries magnetic currents and can short out satellites. Also, the satellite was designed to withstand solar shocks — unlike some others.

    “Thanks to STEREO-A we know a lot of about the magnetic structure of the CME, the kind of shock waves and energetic particles it produced, and perhaps most importantly of all, the number of CMEs that preceded it,” Pete Riley of Predictive Science Inc., who published an unrelated paper in Space Weather, said in the same statement.

    Riley calculated that in the next 10 years, there is a 12 percent chance that a Carrington-class solar storm could happen. He used a parameter called Dst, “disturbance – storm time,” that looks at how much the magnetic field around Earth shakes when coronal mass ejections hit.

    Astronomers today estimate the Dst for Carrington was anywhere between negative 800 nanoTesla (nT) and negative 1,750 nT. By comparison, an ordinary storm that causes northern and southern lights only produces about negative 50 nT.

    In March 1989, the province of Quebec in Canada lost power due to an intense solar storm that was measured at negative 600 nT. The geomagnetic storm that narrow missed Earth in 2012 was twice as powerful, Riley said.

    ‘Perfect solar storm’

    The 2012 storm was so powerful that several coronal mass ejections erupted from the sun, creating a “superstorm” that made it many times more powerful than an ordinary one, an unrelated paper in Nature Communications said.

    The blast was actually a “double-CME” — two CMEs separated by only 10 to 15 minutes — that whizzed through an area of space that had already been cleaned by another CME just four days before.

    This meant the interplanetary medium in that region was not as thick as usual, the University of California, Berkeley’s Janet Luhmann and former postdoctoral researcher Ying Liu found.

    “It’s likely that the Carrington event was also associated with multiple eruptions, and this may turn out to be a key requirement for extreme events,” added Riley. “In fact, it seems that extreme events may require an ideal combination of a number of key features to produce the ‘perfect solar storm.”

    See the full article here.


    ScienceSprings is powered by MAINGEAR computers

     
  • richardmitnick 9:35 am on March 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NASA THEMIS, Space Weather   

    From NASA: “NASA’s THEMIS Discovers New Process that Protects Earth from Space Weather” 

    NASA

    NASA THEMIS
    THEMIS

    In the giant system that connects Earth to the sun, one key event happens over and over: solar material streams toward Earth and the giant magnetic bubble around Earth, the magnetosphere helps keep it at bay. The parameters, however, change: The particles streaming in could be from the constant solar wind, or perhaps from a giant cloud erupting off the sun called a coronal mass ejection [CME], . Sometimes the configuration is such that the magnetosphere blocks almost all the material, other times the connection is long and strong, allowing much material in. Understanding just what circumstances lead to what results is a key part of protecting our orbiting spacecraft from the effects of such space weather.

    themis graph
    NASA’s THEMIS mission observed how dense particles normally near Earth in a layer of the uppermost atmosphere called the plasmasphere can send a plume up through space to help protect against incoming solar particles during certain space weather events.
    Image Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

    Now, for the first time, a study shows that in certain circumstances a pool of dense particles normally circling Earth, deep inside the magnetosphere, can extend a long arm out to meet and help block incoming solar material.

    “It’s like what you might do if a monster tried to break into your house. You’d stack furniture up against the front door, and that’s close to what the Earth is doing here,” said Brian Walsh, a space scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “The material that is usually much nearer Earth stacks up against the outer boundary of the magnetosphere, throttling the interaction there and stopping solar material from entering.”

    In the March 6, 2014, issue of Science Express, Walsh and his colleagues compared observations from the ground and in space during a solar storm on Jan. 17, 2013. This was a fairly moderate solar storm caused by a CME impacting Earth’s magnetosphere for several hours. As the CME encountered the boundary of the magnetosphere, its magnetic fields and those around Earth realigned in a process called magnetic reconnection, which allowed energy and solar material to cross the boundary into the magnetosphere. NASA’s three THEMIS [for Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms] spacecraft were in the right place at the right time, flying through the magnetosphere’s boundary approximately 45 minutes apart, and caught this interaction.

    flow
    A thin layer of cold, dense material called the plasmasphere surrounds Earth. Researchers have found that material in the plasmasphere can help prevent particles from the sun crossing into near Earth space.
    Image Credit: NASA

    Closer to Earth, scientists could also study the sphere of cold dense gas at the very top of our atmosphere. This region is called the plasmasphere and it’s made of what’s known as plasma, a gas made of charged particles. GPS signals travel through the plasmasphere and they travel at different speeds depending on how thick or thin the plasmasphere is along the journey. Tracking the GPS radio signals, therefore, can help researchers map out the properties of the plasmasphere.

    “A colleague who works with these kind of observations said I had to see some interesting data showing a plume from the ground,” said Walsh. “And I typed in the dates and saw that it was a date when THEMIS was in the right position. So, for the first time, we could make a comparison.”

    THEMIS showed that the tongue of this cold, dense plasmasphere material stretched all the way up to the magnetic reconnection point where the CME had made contact with the magnetopause. The three sets of THEMIS observations demonstrated that the plume had a dramatic impact on the characteristics of the magnetic reconnection region.

    “It wouldn’t work if the magnetic reconnection happened for only a few minutes,” said David Sibeck the project scientist for THEMIS at NASA Goddard. “But if it lasts long enough, the whole magnetosphere gets involved. This tongue of the plasmasphere surges out, adding another layer of protection, curbing the magnetic reconnection.”Â

    As scientists try to better understand the space weather system around Earth, they rely on multipoint observations such as this to connect what’s seen on the ground to what’s seen in space. In this case THEMIS data connected to GPS data, but such combinations are increasingly being used to watch how Earth is affected by its closest star. Eventually such observations could lead to improvements in space weather predictions, which would be as useful for spacecraft operators as terrestrial weather forecasts are for us here on Earth.

    For more information about NASA’s THEMIS mission, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/themis

    See the full article here.


    ScienceSprings is powered by MAINGEAR computers

     
  • richardmitnick 11:19 am on April 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Space Weather   

    From ESA: “Space Weather – SWE Segment” 

    ESASpaceForEuropeBanner
    European Space Agency

    “Space weather refers to the environmental conditions in Earth’s magnetosphere, ionosphere and thermosphere due to the Sun and the solar wind that can influence the functioning and reliability of spaceborne and ground-based systems and services or endanger property or human health.

    pic
    Space Situational Awareness: Space Weather

    Space weather deals with phenomena involving ambient plasma, magnetic fields, radiation, particle flows and other physical happenings in space. At ESA, the scientific properties of space weather are studied by a number of teams and offices, and it is also a key element of our SSA Space Weather Segment.
    About space weather

    In Europe’s economy today, numerous sectors are potentially affected by space weather, ranging from space-based telecommunications, broadcasting, weather services and navigation through to power distribution and terrestrial communications, especially at northern latitudes.

    Each of these sectors has a need for space weather data and services, together with a further requirement for those services to be tailored to their particular application.

    The SWE Data Centre is located at ESA’s Redu Station, Belgium; the SSA Space Weather Coordination Centre (SSCC) is located at the Space Pole, Brussels.

    ssa

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.


    ScienceSprings is powered by MAINGEAR computers

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 377 other followers

%d bloggers like this: