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  • richardmitnick 2:00 pm on January 17, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New research may help scientists unravel the physics of the solar wind", NASA Parker Solar Probe Plus, , The School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (US), , The University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering (US)   

    From The University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering (US) and The School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (US): “New research may help scientists unravel the physics of the solar wind” 

    From The University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering (US)

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    and

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    The School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (US)

    at

    u-minnesota-bloc

    The University of Minnesota Twin Cities (US)

    01/14/2022

    Understanding the solar wind can help scientists predict how it will affect Earth’s satellites and astronauts in space.

    NASA Parker Solar Probe Plus named to honor Pioneering Physicist Eugene Parker. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab (US).

    A new study led by University of Minnesota Twin Cities researchers, using data from NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, provides insight into what generates and accelerates the solar wind, a stream of charged particles released from the sun’s corona. Understanding how the solar wind works can help scientists predict “space weather,” or the response to solar activity—such as solar flares—that can impact both astronauts in space and much of the technology people on Earth depend on.

    The paper is published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    The scientists used data gathered from Parker Solar Probe, which launched in 2018 with the goal to help scientists understand what heats the Sun’s corona (the outer atmosphere of the sun) and generates the solar wind. To answer these questions, scientists need to understand the ways in which energy flows from the sun. The latest round of data was obtained in August 2021 at a distance of 4.8 million miles from the sun—the closest a spacecraft has ever been to the star.

    Previous research has indicated that in the solar wind, at distances from about 35 solar radii (one solar radius is a little more than 432,000 miles) out to the Earth’s orbit at about 215 solar radii, electromagnetic waves called “whistler” waves help regulate the heat flux, one form of energy flow. In this new study, the University of Minnesota-led research team discovered that in a region closer to the sun, inside around 28 solar radii, there are no whistler waves.

    Instead, the researchers saw a different kind of wave that was electrostatic instead of electromagnetic. And in that same region, they noticed something else: the electrons showed the effect of an electric field created in part by the pull of the sun’s gravity, similar to what happens at the Earth’s poles where a “polar wind” is accelerated.

    “What we found is that when we get inside 28 solar radii, we lose the whistlers. That means the whistlers can’t be doing anything to control the heat flux in that region,” said Cynthia Cattell, lead author on the paper and a professor in The School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (US). “This result was very, very surprising to people. It has impacts not only for understanding the solar wind and the winds of other stars, but it’s also important for understanding the heat flux of a lot of other astrophysical systems to which we can’t send satellites—things like how star systems form.”

    Learning about the solar wind is also important to scientists for other reasons. For one, it can disturb earth’s magnetic field, generating “space weather” events that can make satellites malfunction, impact communication and GPS signals, and cause power outages on Earth at northern latitudes like Minnesota. The energetic particles that propagate through the solar wind can also be harmful to astronauts traveling in space.

    “Scientists want to be able to predict space weather,” Cattell explained. “And if you don’t understand the details of energy flow close to the sun, then you can’t predict how fast the solar wind will be moving or what its density will be when it reaches Earth. These are some of the properties that determine how solar activity affects us.”

    In late 2024, the Parker Solar Probe will fly to an even closer distance of 3.8 million miles from the sun. Moving forward, Cattell and her colleagues are excited to see the next round of data from the spacecraft. Their next goal will be to figure out why this absence of whistler waves exists so close to the sun, how the electrons accelerated by the gravity-associated electric field might excite other waves, and how that impacts the solar wind.

    In addition to Cattell, the research team included University of Minnesota School of Physics and Astronomy researchers Elizabeth Hanson, John Dombeck, research director Keith Goetz, and Ph.D. alumnus Mike Johnson; NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (US) researcher Aaron Breneman; The University of Iowa (US) associate professor Jasper Halekas; The University of California-Berkeley (US) professor Stuart Bale, The University of California-Berkeley (US) Space Sciences Laboratory associate researcher Marc Pulupa, project scientist David Larson, and assistant researcher Phyllis Whittlesey; The University of Orléans [Université d’Orléans](FR) professor Thierry Dudok de Wit; The West Virginia University(US) assistant professor Katherine Goodrich; The University of Colorado-Boulder (US) assistant professor David Malaspina; The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics(US) researchers Tony Case and Michael Stevens; and The University of Michigan(US) professor Justin C. Kasper.

    The research was funded by NASA, and the simulation work was supported by the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. Parker Solar Probe is part of NASA’s Living with a Star program to explore aspects of the Sun-Earth system that directly affect life and society. The program is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center for the Heliophysics Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, built and operates the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft and manages the mission for NASA.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    2

    The College of Science and Engineering (CSE) is one of the colleges of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On July 1, 2010, the college was officially renamed from the Institute of Technology (IT). It was created in 1935 by bringing together the University’s programs in engineering, mining, architecture, and chemistry. Today, CSE contains 12 departments and 24 research centers that focus on engineering, the physical sciences, and mathematics.

    Departments

    Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics
    Biomedical Engineering
    Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
    Chemistry
    Civil, Environmental, and GeoEngineering
    Computer Science and Engineering
    Earth Sciences (formerly called Geology and Geophysics)
    Electrical and Computer Engineering
    Industrial and Systems Engineering
    Mathematics
    Mechanical Engineering
    Physics and Astronomy
    Additionally, CSE pairs with other departments at the University to offer degree-granting programs in:
    Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, with CFANS (formerly two departments: Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, and Bio-based Products)
    Statistics
    And two other CSE units grant advanced degrees:
    Technological Leadership Institute (formerly Center for the Development of Technological Leadership)
    History of Science and Technology

    Research centers

    BioTechnology Institute
    Characterization Facility
    Charles Babbage Institute – CBI website
    Digital Technology Center
    William I. Fine Theoretical Physics Institute
    Industrial Partnership for Research in Interfacial and Materials Engineering
    Institute for Mathematics and its Applications
    Minnesota Nano Center
    NSF Engineering Research Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power
    NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center
    NSF Multi-Axial Subassemblage Testing (MAST) System
    NSF National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics (NCED)
    The Polar Geospatial Center
    Center for Transportation Studies
    University of Minnesota Supercomputing Institute
    GroupLens Center for Social and Human-Centered Computing

    Educational centers

    History of Science and Technology
    School of Mathematics Center for (K-12) Educational Programs
    Technological Leadership Institute
    UNITE Distributed Learning

    u-minnesota-campus-twin-cities

    The University of Minnesota Twin Cities is a public research university in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MN. The Twin Cities campus comprises locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) apart, and the St. Paul location is in neighboring Falcon Heights. The Twin Cities campus is the oldest and largest in The University of Minnesota (US) system and has the sixth-largest main campus student body in the United States, with 51,327 students in 2019-20. It is the flagship institution of the University of Minnesota System, and is organized into 19 colleges, schools, and other major academic units.

    The Minnesota Territorial Legislature drafted a charter for The University of Minnesota as a territorial university in 1851, seven years before Minnesota became a state. Today, the university is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. The University of Minnesota is a member of The Association of American Universities (US) and is ranked 17th in research activity, with $954 million in research and development expenditures in the fiscal year 2018. In 2001, the University of Minnesota was included in a list of Public Ivy universities, which includes publicly funded universities thought to provide a quality of education comparable to that of the Ivy League.

    University of Minnesota faculty, alumni, and researchers have won 26 Nobel Prizes and three Pulitzer Prizes. Among its alumni, the university counts 25 Rhodes Scholars, seven Marshall Scholars, 20 Truman Scholars, and 127 Fulbright recipients. The University of Minnesota also has Guggenheim Fellowship, Carnegie Fellowship, and MacArthur Fellowship holders, as well as past and present graduates and faculty belonging to The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (US), The National Academy of Sciences (US), The National Academy of Medicine (US), and The National Academy of Engineering(US). Notable University of Minnesota alumni include two vice presidents of the United States, Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, and Bob Dylan, who received the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature.

    The Minnesota Golden Gophers compete in 21 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference and have won 29 national championships. As of 2021, Minnesota’s current and former students have won a total of 76 Olympic medals.

    The University of Minnesota was founded in Minneapolis in 1851 as a college preparatory school, seven years prior to Minnesota’s statehood. It struggled in its early years and relied on donations to stay open from donors including South Carolina Governor William Aiken Jr.

    In 1867, the university received land grant status through the Morrill Act of 1862.

    An 1876 donation from flour miller John S. Pillsbury is generally credited with saving the school. Since then, Pillsbury has become known as “The Father of the University.” Pillsbury Hall is named in his honor.

    Academics

    The university is organized into 19 colleges, schools, and other major academic units:

    Center for Allied Health Programs
    College of Biological Sciences
    College of Continuing and Professional Studies
    School of Dentistry
    College of Design
    College of Education and Human Development
    College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
    Graduate School
    Law School
    College of Liberal Arts
    Carlson School of Management
    Medical School
    School of Nursing
    College of Pharmacy
    Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs
    School of Public Health
    College of Science and Engineering
    College of Veterinary Medicine

    Institutes and centers

    Six university-wide interdisciplinary centers and institutes work across collegiate lines:

    Center for Cognitive Sciences
    Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment, and the Life Sciences
    Institute for Advanced Study, University of Minnesota
    Institute for Translational Neuroscience
    Institute on the Environment
    Minnesota Population Center

    In 2021, the University of Minnesota was ranked as 40th best university in the world by The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), which assesses academic and research performance. The same 2021 ranking by subject placed The University of Minnesota’s ecology program as 2nd best in the world, its management program as 10th best, its biotechnology program as 11th best, mechanical engineering and medical technology programs as 14th best, law and psychology programs as 19th best, and veterinary sciences program as 20th best. The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) for 2021-22 ranked Minnesota 46th in the world and 26th in the United States. The 2021 Nature Index, which assesses the institutions that dominate high quality research output, ranked Minnesota 53rd in the world based on research publication data from 2020. U.S. News and World Report ranked Minnesota as the 47th best global university for 2021. The 2022 Times Higher Education World University Rankings placed Minnesota 86th worldwide, based primarily on teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

    In 2021, The University of Minnesota was ranked as the 24th best university in the United States by The Academic Ranking of World Universities, and 20th in the United States in Washington Monthly’s 2021 National University Rankings. The University of Minnesota’s undergraduate program was ranked 68th among national universities by U.S. News and World Report for 2022, and 26th in the nation among public colleges and universities. The same publication ranked The University of Minnesota’s graduate Carlson School of Management as 28th in the nation among business schools, and 6th in the nation for its information systems graduate program. Other graduate schools ranked highly by U.S. News and World Report for 2022 include The University of Minnesota Law School at 22nd, The University of Minnesota Medical School, which was 4th for family medicine and 5th for primary care, The University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, which ranked 3rd, The Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, which ranked 9th, The University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development, which ranked 10th for education psychology and special education, and The University of Minnesota School of Public Health, which ranked 10th.

    In 2019, The Center for Measuring University Performance ranked The University of Minnesota 16th in the nation in terms of total research, 29th in endowment assets, 22nd in annual giving, 28th in the number of National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine memberships, 18th in its number of faculty awards, and 14th in its number of National Merit Scholars. Minnesota is listed as a “Public Ivy” in 2001 Greenes’ Guides The Public Ivies: America’s Flagship Public Universities.

    Media

    Print

    The Minnesota Daily has been published twice a week during the normal school season since the fall semester 2016. It is printed weekly during the summer. The Daily is operated by an autonomous organization run entirely by students. It was first published on May 1, 1900. Besides everyday news coverage, the paper has also published special issues, such as the Grapevine Awards, Ski-U-Mah, the Bar & Beer Guide, Sex-U-Mah, and others.

    A long-defunct but fondly remembered humor magazine, Ski-U-Mah, was published from about 1930 to 1950. It launched the career of novelist and scriptwriter Max Shulman.

    A relative newcomer to the university’s print media community is The Wake Student Magazine, a weekly that covers UMN-related stories and provides a forum for student expression. It was founded in November 2001 in an effort to diversify campus media and achieved student group status in February 2002. Students from many disciplines do all of the reporting, writing, editing, illustration, photography, layout, and business management for the publication. The magazine was founded by James DeLong and Chris Ruen. The Wake was named the nation’s best campus publication (2006) by The Independent Press Association.

    Additionally, The Wake publishes Liminal, a literary journal begun in 2005. Liminal was created in the absence of an undergraduate literary journal and continues to bring poetry and prose to the university community.

    The Wake has faced a number of challenges during its existence, due in part to the reliance on student fees funding. In April 2004, after the Student Services Fees Committee had initially declined to fund it, the needed $60,000 in funding was restored, allowing the magazine to continue publishing. It faced further challenges in 2005, when its request for additional funding to publish weekly was denied and then partially restored.

    In 2005 conservatives on campus began formulating a new monthly magazine named The Minnesota Republic. The first issue was released in February 2006, and funding by student service fees started in September 2006.

    Radio

    The campus radio station, KUOM “Radio K,” broadcasts an eclectic variety of independent music during the day on 770 kHz AM. Its 5,000-watt signal has a range of 80 miles (130 km), but shuts down at dusk because of Federal Communications Commission regulations. In 2003, the station added a low-power (8-watt) signal on 106.5 MHz FM overnight and on weekends. In 2005, a 10-watt translator began broadcasting from Falcon Heights on 100.7 FM at all times. Radio K also streams its content at http://www.radiok.org. With roots in experimental transmissions that began before World War I, the station received the first AM broadcast license in the state on January 13, 1922, and began broadcasting as WLB, changing to the KUOM call sign about two decades later. The station had an educational format until 1993, when it merged with a smaller campus-only music station to become what is now known as Radio K. A small group of full-time employees are joined by over 20 part-time student employees who oversee the station. Most of the on-air talent consists of student volunteers.

    Television

    Some television programs made on campus have been broadcast on local PBS station KTCI channel 17. Several episodes of Great Conversations have been made since 2002, featuring one-on-one discussions between University faculty and experts brought in from around the world. Tech Talk was a show meant to help people who feel intimidated by modern technology, including cellular phones and computers.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:45 pm on February 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Five things we’re going to learn from Europe’s Solar Orbiter mission", , , , , , NASA Parker Solar Probe Plus, ,   

    From Horizon The EU Research and Innovation Magazine: “Five things we’re going to learn from Europe’s Solar Orbiter mission” 

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    From Horizon The EU Research and Innovation Magazine

    ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter depiction

    07 February 2020
    Jonathan O’Callaghan

    At 23.03 (local time) on Sunday 9 February, Europe’s newest mission to study the sun is set to lift off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, US. Called Solar Orbiter, this European Space Agency (ESA) mission will travel to within the orbit of planet Mercury to study the sun like never before, returning stunning new images of its surface.

    Equipped with instruments and cameras, the decade-long mission is set to provide scientists with key information in their ongoing solar research. We spoke to three solar physicists about what the mission might teach us and the five unanswered questions about the sun it might finally help us solve.

    1. When solar eruptions are heading our way

    Solar Orbiter will reach a minimum distance of 0.28% of the Earth-sun distance throughout the course of its mission, which could last the rest of the 2020s. No other mission will have come closer to the sun, save for NASA’s ongoing Parker Solar Probe mission, which will reach just 0.04 times the Earth-sun distance.

    NASA Parker Solar Probe Plus named to honor Pioneering Physicist Eugene Parker

    Dr Emilia Kilpua from the University of Helsinki in Finland is the coordinator of a project called SolMAG, which is studying eruptions of plasma from the sun known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs).

    Coronal mass ejections – NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center-SDO

    NASA/SDO

    She says this proximity, and a suite of cameras that Parker Solar Probe lacks, will give Solar Orbiter the chance to gather data that is significantly better than any spacecraft before it, helping us monitor CMEs.

    ‘One of the great things about Solar Orbiter is that it will cover a lot of different distances, so we can really capture these coronal mass ejections when they are evolving from the sun to Earth,’ she said. CMEs can cause space weather events on Earth, interfering with our satellites, so this could give us a better early-warning system for when they are heading our way.

    2. Why the sun blows a supersonic wind

    One of the major unanswered questions about the sun concerns its outer atmosphere, known as its corona. ‘It’s heated to (more than) a million degrees, and we currently don’t know why it’s so hot,’ said Dr Alexis Rouillard from the Institute for Research in Astrophysics and Planetology in Toulouse, France, the coordinator of a project studying solar wind called SLOW_SOURCE. ‘It’s (more than) 200 times the temperature of the surface of the sun.’

    ESA China Double Star mission continuous interaction between particles in the solar wind and Earth’s magnetic shield 2003-2007

    ESA China Smile solar wind and Earth’s magnetic shield – the magnetosphere spacecraft depiction

    Magnetosphere of Earth, original bitmap from NASA. SVG rendering by Aaron Kaase

    A consequence of this hot corona is that the sun’s atmosphere cannot be contained by its gravity, so it has a constant wind of particles blowing out into space, known as solar wind.

    4
    This artist’s rendering shows a solar storm hitting Mars and stripping ions from the planet’s upper atmosphere. NASA/GSFC

    This wind blows at more than 250km per second, up to speeds of 800km per second, and we currently do not know how that wind is pushed outwards to supersonic speeds.

    Dr Rouillard is hoping to study the slower solar wind using Solar Orbiter, which may help us explain how stars like the sun create supersonic winds. “By getting closer to the sun we collect more (pristine) particles, he said. “Solar Orbiter will provide unprecedented measurements of the solar wind composition. (And) we will be able to develop models for how the wind (is pushed out) into space.”

    3. What its poles look like

    During the course of its mission, Solar Orbiter will make repeated encounters with the planet Venus. Each time it does, the angle of the spacecraft’s orbit will be slightly raised until it rises above the planets. If the mission is extended as hoped to 2030, it will reach an inclination of 33 degrees – giving us our first ever views of the sun’s poles.

    Aside from being fascinating, there will be some important science that can be done here. By measuring the sun’s magnetic fields at the poles, scientists hope to get a better understanding of how and why the sun goes through 11-year cycles of activity, culminating in a flip of its magnetic poles. They are set to flip again in the mid-2020s.

    ‘By understanding how the magnetic fields are distributed and evolve in these polar regions, we gain a new insight on the cycles that the sun is going through,’ said Dr Rouillard. ‘Every 11 years, the sun goes from a minimum activity state to a maximum activity state. By measuring from high latitudes, it will provide us with new insights on the cyclic evolution of (the sun’s) magnetic fields.’

    4. Why it has polar ‘crowns’

    Occasionally the sun erupts huge arm-like loops of material from its surface, which are known as prominences. They extend from its surface into the corona, but their formation is not quite understood. Solar Orbiter, however, will give us our most detailed look at them yet.

    ‘We’re going to have very intricate views of some of these active regions and their associated prominences,’ says Professor Rony Keppens from KU Leuven in Belgium, coordinator of a project called PROMINENT which is studying solar prominences. ‘It’s going to be possible to have more than several images per second. That means some of the dynamics that had not been seen before now are going to be visualised for the first time.’

    Some of the sun’s largest prominences come from near its poles, so by raising its inclination Solar Orbiter will give us a unique look at these phenomena. ‘They’re called polar crown prominences, because they are like crowns on the head of the sun,’ said Prof. Keppens. ‘They encircle the polar regions and they live for very long, weeks or months on end. The fact that Solar Orbiter is going to have first-hand views of the polar regions is going to be exciting, especially for studies of prominences.’

    5. How it controls the solar system

    By studying the sun with Solar Orbiter, scientists hope to better understand how its eruptions travel out into the solar system, creating a bubble of activity around the sun in our galaxy known as the heliosphere.

    NASA Heliosphere

    This can of course create space weather here on Earth, so studying it is important for our own planet.

    ‘One of the ideas we have is to take measurements of the solar magnetic field in active regions in the equatorial belt of the sun,’ said Professor Keppens. ‘We’re going to extrapolate that data into the corona, and then use simulations to try and mimic how some of these eruptions happen and progress out into the heliosphere.’

    Thus, Solar Orbiter will not just give us a better understanding of the sun itself, but also how it affects planets like Earth too. Alongside the first-ever images of the poles and the closest-ever images of its surface, Solar Orbiter will give us an unprecedented understanding of how the star we call home really works.

    The research in this article is funded by the European Research Council. Sharing encouraged.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

     
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