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  • richardmitnick 2:19 pm on July 2, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Novel NASA Instrument Sets Sights on Earth-bound Solar Radiation", , , Compact Total Irradiance Monitor (CTIM), , Solar research, The sum of all solar energy Earth receives from the Sun — also known as “total solar irradiance.”   

    From NASA Earth Sciences: “Novel NASA Instrument Sets Sights on Earth-bound Solar Radiation” 

    From NASA Earth Sciences

    Jul 1, 2022
    By Gage Taylor
    NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office

    1
    NASA’s Compact Total Irradiance Monitor (CTIM) instrument, which will help researchers better understand how solar energy impacts innumerable Earth systems. Credit: Tim Hellickson / University of Colorado-Boulder.

    A very small instrument has a big job ahead of it: measuring all Earth-directed energy coming from the Sun and helping scientists understand how that energy influences our planet’s severe weather, climate change and other global forces.

    About the size of a shoebox or gaming console, the Compact Total Irradiance Monitor (CTIM) is the smallest satellite ever dispatched to observe the sum of all solar energy Earth receives from the Sun — also known as “total solar irradiance.”


    CTIM-FD: Compact Total Irradiance Monitor Flight Demonstration.

    Total solar irradiance is a major component of the Earth radiation budget, which tracks the balance between incoming and outgoing solar energy. Increased amounts of greenhouse gases emitted from human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, trap increased amounts of solar energy within Earth’s atmosphere.

    That increased energy raises global temperatures and changes Earth’s climate, which in turn drives things like rising sea levels and severe weather.

    “By far the dominant energy input to Earth’s climate comes from the Sun,” said Dave Harber, a senior researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) and principal investigator for CTIM. “It’s a key input for predictive models forecasting how Earth’s climate might change over time.”

    NASA missions like the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment and NASA instruments like CERES have allowed climate scientists to maintain an unbroken record of total solar irradiance stretching back 40 years.

    This enabled researchers to rule out increased solar energy as a culprit for climate change and recognize the role greenhouse gases play in global warming.

    Ensuring that record remains unbroken is of paramount importance to Earth scientists. With an unbroken total solar irradiance record, researchers can detect small fluctuations in the amount of solar radiation Earth receives during the solar cycle, as well as emphasize the impact greenhouse gas emissions have on Earth’s climate.

    For example, last year, researchers from NASA and NOAA relied on the unbroken total solar irradiance record to determine that, between 2005 and 2019, the amount of solar radiation that remains in Earth’s atmosphere nearly doubled.

    “In order to make sure we can continue to collect these measurements, we need to make instruments as efficient and cost-effective as possible,” Harber said.

    CTIM is a prototype: its flight demonstration will help scientists determine if small satellites could be as effective at measuring total solar irradiance as larger instruments, such as the Total Irradiance Monitor (TIM) instrument used aboard the completed SORCE mission and the ongoing TSIS-1 mission on the International Space Station. If successful, the prototype will advance the approaches used for future instruments.

    CTIM’s radiation detector takes advantage of a new carbon nanotube material that absorbs 99.995% of incoming light. This makes it uniquely well suited for measuring total solar irradiance.

    3
    LASP researchers working on CTIM at the University of Colorado, Boulder. About the size of a shoebox, CTIM is the smallest instrument ever dispatched to study total solar irradiance.
    Credits: Tim Hellickson / University of Colorado-Boulder.

    Reducing a satellite’s size reduces the cost and complexity of deploying that satellite into low-Earth orbit. That allows scientists to prepare spare instruments that can preserve the TSI data record should an existing instrument malfunction.

    CTIM’s novel radiation detector – also known as a bolometer – takes advantage of a new material developed alongside researchers at the National Institute for Standards and Technology.

    “It looks a bit like a very, very dark shag carpet. It was the blackest substance humans had ever manufactured when it was first created, and it continues to be an exceptionally useful material for observing TSI,” Harber said.

    Made of minuscule carbon nanotubes arranged vertically on a silicon wafer, the material absorbs nearly all light along the electromagnetic spectrum.

    Together, CTIM’s two bolometers take up less space than the face of a quarter. This allowed Harber and his team to develop a tiny instrument fit for gathering total irradiance data from a small CubeSat platform.

    A sister instrument, the Compact Spectral Irradiance Monitor (CSIM), used the same bolometers in 2019 to successfully explore variability within bands of light present in sunlight. Future NASA missions may merge CTIM and CSIM into a single compact tool for both measuring and dissecting solar radiation.

    “Now we’re asking ourselves, ‘How do we take what we’ve developed with CSIM and CTIM and integrate them together,’” Harber said.

    Harber expects CTIM to begin collecting data about a month after launch, currently scheduled for June 30, 2022, aboard STP-28A, a Space Force mission executed by Virgin Orbit. Once Harber and his LASP colleagues unfold CTIM’s solar panels and check each of its subsystems, they will activate CTIM. It’s a delicate process, one that requires diligence and extreme care.

    “We want to take our time and make sure that we’re doing these steps rigorously, and that each component of this instrument is working correctly before we move on to the next step,” Harber said. “Just demonstrating that we can gather these measurements with a CubeSat would be a big deal. That would be very gratifying.”

    Funded through the InVEST program in NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office, CTIM launches from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California aboard Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket as part of the United States Space Force STP-S28A mission.

    Another NASA graduate from the InVEST technology program, NACHOS-2, will also be aboard. A NACHOS twin, NACHOS-2 will help the Department of Energy monitor trace gases in Earth’s atmosphere.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA Earth Science

    Earth is a complex, dynamic system we do not yet fully understand. The Earth system, like the human body, comprises diverse components that interact in complex ways. We need to understand the Earth’s atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere as a single connected system. Our planet is changing on all spatial and temporal scales. The purpose of NASA’s Earth science program is to develop a scientific understanding of Earth’s system and its response to natural or human-induced changes, and to improve prediction of climate, weather, and natural hazards.

    A major component of NASA’s Earth Science Division is a coordinated series of satellite and airborne missions for long-term global observations of the land surface, biosphere, solid Earth, atmosphere, and oceans. This coordinated approach enables an improved understanding of the Earth as an integrated system. NASA is completing the development and launch of a set of Foundational missions, new Decadal Survey missions, and Climate Continuity missions.

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

    Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. Most recently, NASA announced a new Space Launch System that it said would take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before and lay the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S.

    NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs. NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the [JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:04 pm on June 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Researchers discover particle accelerator region inside a solar flare", Solar research,   

    From The National Science Foundation: “Researchers discover particle accelerator region inside a solar flare” 

    From The National Science Foundation

    June 22, 2022

    1
    A new study shows where near-light speed particle acceleration occurs inside a solar flare. Credit: Sijie Yu of NJIT/CSTR; NOAA GOES-16/SUVI.

    Solar flares are among the most violent explosions in the solar system. But despite their immense energy — equivalent to a hundred billion atomic bombs detonating at once — physicists still haven’t been able to answer exactly how these sudden eruptions on the sun are able to launch particles to Earth, nearly 93 million miles away, in under an hour.

    Now, in a study published in Nature, U.S. National Science Foundation-supported researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology have pinpointed the precise location where solar flare charged particles are accelerated to near-light speed.

    The new findings, made possible through observations of an X-class solar flare in 2017 by NJIT’s Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array radio telescope, have revealed a highly efficient particle accelerator located at the tip of the brightest point of the eruption in the sun’s outer atmosphere, called the flare’s “cusp region,” where the explosion’s ambient plasma is converted to high-energy electrons.

    NJIT’s recently expanded Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA)

    “The findings in this study help explain the long-standing mystery of how solar flares can produce so much energy in mere seconds,” said Gregory Fleishman, corresponding author of the paper. “The flare unleashes its power in a much more vast region of the sun than expected by the classic model of solar flares. This is the first time the specific size, shape, and location of this key region has been identified, and the efficiency of the energy conversion to particle acceleration inside the flare has been measured.”

    The researchers say the discovery of the region, measured at almost twice the volume of Earth, could open new doors for investigating fundamental processes of particle acceleration ubiquitous in the universe.

    “Our recent studies suggested the flare cusp could be the location where such high-energy electrons are produced, but we weren’t certain,” said Bin Chen, a co-author of the paper. “We had originally uncovered a magnetic bottle-like structure at the site that contained an overwhelmingly large number of electrons compared to anywhere else in the flare, but now with the new measurements of this study, we can more confidently say this is the flare’s particle accelerator.”

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…we are the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.

    We fulfill our mission chiefly by issuing limited-term grants — currently about 12,000 new awards per year, with an average duration of three years — to fund specific research proposals that have been judged the most promising by a rigorous and objective merit-review system. Most of these awards go to individuals or small groups of investigators. Others provide funding for research centers, instruments and facilities that allow scientists, engineers and students to work at the outermost frontiers of knowledge.

    NSF’s goals — discovery, learning, research infrastructure and stewardship — provide an integrated strategy to advance the frontiers of knowledge, cultivate a world-class, broadly inclusive science and engineering workforce and expand the scientific literacy of all citizens, build the nation’s research capability through investments in advanced instrumentation and facilities, and support excellence in science and engineering research and education through a capable and responsive organization. We like to say that NSF is “where discoveries begin.”

    Many of the discoveries and technological advances have been truly revolutionary. In the past few decades, NSF-funded researchers have won some 236 Nobel Prizes as well as other honors too numerous to list. These pioneers have included the scientists or teams that discovered many of the fundamental particles of matter, analyzed the cosmic microwaves left over from the earliest epoch of the universe, developed carbon-14 dating of ancient artifacts, decoded the genetics of viruses, and created an entirely new state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate.

    NSF also funds equipment that is needed by scientists and engineers but is often too expensive for any one group or researcher to afford. Examples of such major research equipment include giant optical and radio telescopes, Antarctic research sites, high-end computer facilities and ultra-high-speed connections, ships for ocean research, sensitive detectors of very subtle physical phenomena and gravitational wave observatories.

    Another essential element in NSF’s mission is support for science and engineering education, from pre-K through graduate school and beyond. The research we fund is thoroughly integrated with education to help ensure that there will always be plenty of skilled people available to work in new and emerging scientific, engineering and technological fields, and plenty of capable teachers to educate the next generation.

    No single factor is more important to the intellectual and economic progress of society, and to the enhanced well-being of its citizens, than the continuous acquisition of new knowledge. NSF is proud to be a major part of that process.

    Specifically, the Foundation’s organic legislation authorizes us to engage in the following activities:

    Initiate and support, through grants and contracts, scientific and engineering research and programs to strengthen scientific and engineering research potential, and education programs at all levels, and appraise the impact of research upon industrial development and the general welfare.
    Award graduate fellowships in the sciences and in engineering.
    Foster the interchange of scientific information among scientists and engineers in the United States and foreign countries.
    Foster and support the development and use of computers and other scientific methods and technologies, primarily for research and education in the sciences.
    Evaluate the status and needs of the various sciences and engineering and take into consideration the results of this evaluation in correlating our research and educational programs with other federal and non-federal programs.
    Provide a central clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation and analysis of data on scientific and technical resources in the United States, and provide a source of information for policy formulation by other federal agencies.
    Determine the total amount of federal money received by universities and appropriate organizations for the conduct of scientific and engineering research, including both basic and applied, and construction of facilities where such research is conducted, but excluding development, and report annually thereon to the President and the Congress.
    Initiate and support specific scientific and engineering activities in connection with matters relating to international cooperation, national security and the effects of scientific and technological applications upon society.
    Initiate and support scientific and engineering research, including applied research, at academic and other nonprofit institutions and, at the direction of the President, support applied research at other organizations.
    Recommend and encourage the pursuit of national policies for the promotion of basic research and education in the sciences and engineering. Strengthen research and education innovation in the sciences and engineering, including independent research by individuals, throughout the United States.
    Support activities designed to increase the participation of women and minorities and others underrepresented in science and technology.

    At present, NSF has a total workforce of about 2,100 at its Alexandria, VA, headquarters, including approximately 1,400 career employees, 200 scientists from research institutions on temporary duty, 450 contract workers and the staff of the NSB office and the Office of the Inspector General.

    NSF is divided into the following seven directorates that support science and engineering research and education: Biological Sciences, Computer and Information Science and Engineering, Engineering, Geosciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, and Education and Human Resources. Each is headed by an assistant director and each is further subdivided into divisions like materials research, ocean sciences and behavioral and cognitive sciences.

    Within NSF’s Office of the Director, the Office of Integrative Activities also supports research and researchers. Other sections of NSF are devoted to financial management, award processing and monitoring, legal affairs, outreach and other functions. The Office of the Inspector General examines the foundation’s work and reports to the NSB and Congress.

    Each year, NSF supports an average of about 200,000 scientists, engineers, educators and students at universities, laboratories and field sites all over the United States and throughout the world, from Alaska to Alabama to Africa to Antarctica. You could say that NSF support goes “to the ends of the earth” to learn more about the planet and its inhabitants, and to produce fundamental discoveries that further the progress of research and lead to products and services that boost the economy and improve general health and well-being.

    As described in our strategic plan, NSF is the only federal agency whose mission includes support for all fields of fundamental science and engineering, except for medical sciences. NSF is tasked with keeping the United States at the leading edge of discovery in a wide range of scientific areas, from astronomy to geology to zoology. So, in addition to funding research in the traditional academic areas, the agency also supports “high risk, high pay off” ideas, novel collaborations and numerous projects that may seem like science fiction today, but which the public will take for granted tomorrow. And in every case, we ensure that research is fully integrated with education so that today’s revolutionary work will also be training tomorrow’s top scientists and engineers.

    Unlike many other federal agencies, NSF does not hire researchers or directly operate our own laboratories or similar facilities. Instead, we support scientists, engineers and educators directly through their own home institutions (typically universities and colleges). Similarly, we fund facilities and equipment such as telescopes, through cooperative agreements with research consortia that have competed successfully for limited-term management contracts.

    NSF’s job is to determine where the frontiers are, identify the leading U.S. pioneers in these fields and provide money and equipment to help them continue. The results can be transformative. For example, years before most people had heard of “nanotechnology,” NSF was supporting scientists and engineers who were learning how to detect, record and manipulate activity at the scale of individual atoms — the nanoscale. Today, scientists are adept at moving atoms around to create devices and materials with properties that are often more useful than those found in nature.

    Dozens of companies are gearing up to produce nanoscale products. NSF is funding the research projects, state-of-the-art facilities and educational opportunities that will teach new skills to the science and engineering students who will make up the nanotechnology workforce of tomorrow.

    At the same time, we are looking for the next frontier.

    NSF’s task of identifying and funding work at the frontiers of science and engineering is not a “top-down” process. NSF operates from the “bottom up,” keeping close track of research around the United States and the world, maintaining constant contact with the research community to identify ever-moving horizons of inquiry, monitoring which areas are most likely to result in spectacular progress and choosing the most promising people to conduct the research.

    NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. We do this through grants and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the U.S. The Foundation considers proposals submitted by organizations on behalf of individuals or groups for support in most fields of research. Interdisciplinary proposals also are eligible for consideration. Awardees are chosen from those who send us proposals asking for a specific amount of support for a specific project.

    Proposals may be submitted in response to the various funding opportunities that are announced on the NSF website. These funding opportunities fall into three categories — program descriptions, program announcements and program solicitations — and are the mechanisms NSF uses to generate funding requests. At any time, scientists and engineers are also welcome to send in unsolicited proposals for research and education projects, in any existing or emerging field. The Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) provides guidance on proposal preparation and submission and award management. At present, NSF receives more than 42,000 proposals per year.

    To ensure that proposals are evaluated in a fair, competitive, transparent and in-depth manner, we use a rigorous system of merit review. Nearly every proposal is evaluated by a minimum of three independent reviewers consisting of scientists, engineers and educators who do not work at NSF or for the institution that employs the proposing researchers. NSF selects the reviewers from among the national pool of experts in each field and their evaluations are confidential. On average, approximately 40,000 experts, knowledgeable about the current state of their field, give their time to serve as reviewers each year.

    The reviewer’s job is to decide which projects are of the very highest caliber. NSF’s merit review process, considered by some to be the “gold standard” of scientific review, ensures that many voices are heard and that only the best projects make it to the funding stage. An enormous amount of research, deliberation, thought and discussion goes into award decisions.

    The NSF program officer reviews the proposal and analyzes the input received from the external reviewers. After scientific, technical and programmatic review and consideration of appropriate factors, the program officer makes an “award” or “decline” recommendation to the division director. Final programmatic approval for a proposal is generally completed at NSF’s division level. A principal investigator (PI) whose proposal for NSF support has been declined will receive information and an explanation of the reason(s) for declination, along with copies of the reviews considered in making the decision. If that explanation does not satisfy the PI, he/she may request additional information from the cognizant NSF program officer or division director.

    If the program officer makes an award recommendation and the division director concurs, the recommendation is submitted to NSF’s Division of Grants and Agreements (DGA) for award processing. A DGA officer reviews the recommendation from the program division/office for business, financial and policy implications, and the processing and issuance of a grant or cooperative agreement. DGA generally makes awards to academic institutions within 30 days after the program division/office makes its recommendation.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:02 pm on June 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Here Comes the Sun—to End Civilization", , If just nine transformers were to blow out in the wrong places it found the country could experience coast-to-coast outages for months., If the CME has the same polarity as Earth’s protective magnetic field you’ve gotten lucky., In an event the plasma will begin to flood Earth’s ionosphere and the electron bombardment will cause high-frequency radio to go dark., It’s 27 million degrees inside and packed with excited bodies—helium atoms fusing; nuclei colliding; positrons sneaking off with neutrinos., Prolonged national grid failure is new territory for humankind., Reliability standards are now developed and enforced by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation-NERC-a trade association., Solar research, Some find the NERC reliability standards laughable., Sunspots turn into the muzzle of a gun., The average American transformer is 40 years old pushed beyond its intended lifespan., The Carrington Event as it’s known today is considered a once-in-a-century geomagnetic storm—but it took just six decades for another comparable blast to reach Earth., The Carrington Event: A typical bolt of lightning registers 30000 amperes. This geomagnetic storm registered in the millions., The cause of the ruckus is the sun’s magnetic field., The Deep Space Climate Observatory will offer at most one hour of warning before impact., The good news is that a technical fix already exists. Mitigating this threat could be as simple as outfitting vulnerable transformers with capacitors., The point in the worst-case scenario is when the meltdowns at nuclear power plants begin., The sun has played this game of Russian roulette with the solar system for billions of years., The US National Center for Atmospheric Research, The weakest points in the grid are its intermediaries—machines called transformers., To a photon the sun is like a crowded nightclub., To date however American utility companies haven’t widely deployed current-blocking devices to the live grid., When a coronal mass ejection comes your way what matters most is the bullet’s magnetic orientation., When another big one heads our way as it could at any time existing imaging technology will offer one or two days’ notice., When the photon heads for the exit the journey there will take on average 100000 years.,   

    From “WIRED“: “Here Comes the Sun—to End Civilization” 

    From “WIRED“

    Jun 21, 2022
    Matt Ribel

    1
    ILLUSTRATION: MARK PERNICE.

    To a photon the sun is like a crowded nightclub. It’s 27 million degrees inside and packed with excited bodies—helium atoms fusing; nuclei colliding; positrons sneaking off with neutrinos. When the photon heads for the exit the journey there will take on average 100,000 years. (There’s no quick way to jostle past 10 septillion dancers, even if you do move at the speed of light.) Once at the surface, the photon might set off solo into the night. Or, if it emerges in the wrong place at the wrong time, it might find itself stuck inside a coronal mass ejection, a mob of charged particles with the power to upend civilizations.

    The cause of the ruckus is the sun’s magnetic field. Generated by the churning of particles in the core, it originates as a series of orderly north-to-south lines. But different latitudes on the molten star rotate at different rates—36 days at the poles, and only 25 days at the equator. Very quickly, those lines stretch and tangle, forming magnetic knots that can puncture the surface and trap matter beneath them. From afar, the resulting patches appear dark. They’re known as sunspots. Typically, the trapped matter cools, condenses into plasma clouds, and falls back to the surface in a fiery coronal rain. Sometimes, though, the knots untangle spontaneously, violently. The sunspot turns into the muzzle of a gun: Photons flare in every direction, and a slug of magnetized plasma fires outward like a bullet.

    The sun has played this game of Russian roulette with the solar system for billions of years, sometimes shooting off several coronal mass ejections in a day. Most come nowhere near Earth. It would take centuries of human observation before someone could stare down the barrel while it happened. At 11:18 am on September 1, 1859, Richard Carrington, a 33-year-old brewery owner and amateur astronomer, was in his private observatory, sketching sunspots—an important but mundane act of record-keeping. That moment, the spots erupted into a blinding beam of light. Carrington sprinted off in search of a witness. When he returned, a minute later, the image had already gone back to normal. Carrington spent that afternoon trying to make sense of the aberration. Had his lens caught a stray reflection? Had an undiscovered comet or planet passed between his telescope and the star? While he stewed, a plasma bomb silently barreled toward Earth at several million miles per hour.

    When a coronal mass ejection comes your way what matters most is the bullet’s magnetic orientation. If it has the same polarity as Earth’s protective magnetic field, you’ve gotten lucky: The two will repel, like a pair of bar magnets placed north-to-north or south-to-south. But if the polarities oppose, they will smash together. That’s what happened on September 2, the day after Carrington saw the blinding beam.

    Electrical current raced through the sky over the western hemisphere. A typical bolt of lightning registers 30000 amperes. This geomagnetic storm registered in the millions. As the clock struck midnight in New York City, the sky turned scarlet, shot through with plumes of yellow and orange. Fearful crowds gathered in the streets. Over the continental divide, a bright-white midnight aurora roused a group of Rocky Mountain laborers; they assumed morning had arrived and began to cook breakfast. In Washington, DC, sparks leaped from a telegraph operator’s forehead to his switchboard as his equipment suddenly magnetized. Vast sections of the nascent telegraph system overheated and shut down.

    The Carrington Event as it’s known today is considered a once-in-a-century geomagnetic storm—but it took just six decades for another comparable blast to reach Earth. In May 1921, train-control arrays in the American Northeast and telephone stations in Sweden caught fire. In 1989, a moderate storm, just one-tenth the strength of the 1921 event, left Quebec in the dark for nine hours after overloading the regional grid. In each of these cases, the damage was directly proportional to humanity’s reliance on advanced technology—more grounded electronics, more risk.

    When another big one heads our way as it could at any time existing imaging technology will offer one or two days’ notice. But we won’t understand the true threat level until the cloud reaches the Deep Space Climate Observatory, a satellite about a million miles from Earth. It has instruments that analyze the speed and polarity of incoming solar particles. If a cloud’s magnetic orientation is dangerous, this $340 million piece of equipment will buy humanity—with its 7.2 billion cell phones, 1.5 billion automobiles, and 28,000 commercial aircraft—at most one hour of warning before impact.

    2
    ILLUSTRATION: MARK PERNICE.

    Activity on the solar surface follows a cycle of roughly 11 years. At the beginning of each cycle, clusters of sunspots form at the middle latitudes of both solar hemispheres. These clusters grow and migrate toward the equator. Around the time they’re most active, known as solar maximum, the sun’s magnetic field flips polarity. The sunspots wane, and solar minimum comes. Then it happens all over again. “I don’t know why it took 160 years of cataloging data to realize that,” says Scott McIntosh, a blunt-speaking Scottish astrophysicist who serves as deputy director of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research. “It hits you right in the fucking face.”

    Today, in the 25th solar cycle since regular record-­keeping began, scientists don’t have much to show beyond that migration pattern. They don’t fully understand why the poles flip. They cannot explain why some sunspot cycles are as short as nine years while others last 14. They cannot reliably predict how many sunspots will form or where coronal mass ejections will occur. What is clear is that a big one can happen in any kind of cycle: In the summer of 2012, during the historically quiet Cycle 24, two mammoth coronal mass ejections narrowly missed Earth. Still, a more active cycle increases the chances of that near miss becoming a direct hit.

    Without a guiding theory of solar dynamics, scientists tend to take a statistical approach, relying on strong correlations and after-the-fact rationales to make their predictions. One of the more influential models, which offers respectable predictive power, uses the magnetic strength of the sun’s polar regions as a proxy for the vigor of the following cycle. In 2019, a dozen scientists empaneled by NASA predicted that the current solar cycle will peak with 115 sunspots in July 2025—well below the historical average of 179.

    McIntosh, who was not invited to join the NASA panel, calls this “made-up physics.” He believes the old-school models are concerned with the wrong thing—sunspots, rather than the processes that create them. “The magnetic cycle is what you should be trying to model, not the derivative of it,” he says. “You have to explain why sunspots magically appear at 30 degrees latitude.”

    McIntosh’s attempt to do that goes back to 2002, when, at the behest of a postdoctoral mentor, he began plotting tiny ultraviolet concentrations on the solar surface, known as brightpoints. “I think my boss knew what I would find if I let a full cycle pass,” he recalls. “By 2011, I was like, holy fuck.” He found that brightpoints originate at higher latitudes than sunspots do but follow the same path to the equator. To him, this implied that sunspots and brightpoints are twin effects of the same underlying phenomenon, one not found in astrophysics textbooks.

    His grand unified theory, developed over a decade, goes something like this: Every 11 years, when the sun’s polarity flips, a magnetic band forms near each pole, wrapped around the circumference of the star. These bands exist for a couple of decades, slowly migrating toward the equator, where they meet in mutual destruction. At any given time, there are usually two oppositely charged bands in each hemisphere. They counteract each other, which promotes relative calm at the surface. But magnetic bands don’t all live to be the same age. Some reach what McIntosh calls “the terminator” with unusual speed. When this happens, the younger bands are left alone for a few years, without the moderating influence of the older bands, and they have a chance to raise hell.

    McIntosh and his colleague Mausumi Dikpati believe that terminator timing is the key to forecasting sunspots—and, by extension, coronal mass ejections. The faster one set of bands dies out, the more dramatic the next cycle will be.

    The most recent terminator, their data suggests, happened on December 13, 2021. In the days that followed, magnetic activity near the sun’s equator dissipated (signaling the death of one set of bands) while the number of sunspots at midlatitude rapidly doubled (signaling the solo reign of the remaining bands). Because this terminator arrived slightly sooner than expected, McIntosh predicts above-average activity for the current solar cycle, peaking at around 190 sunspots.

    A clear victor in the modeling wars could emerge later this year. But McIntosh is already thinking ahead to the next thing—tools that can detect where a sunspot will emerge and how likely it is to burst. He yearns for a set of satellites orbiting the sun—a few at the poles and a few around the equator, like the ones used to forecast terrestrial weather. The price tag for such an early-­warning system would be modest, he argues: eight craft at roughly $30 million each. But will anyone fund it? “I think until Cycle 25 goes bananas,” he says, “nobody’s going to give a shit.”

    When the next solar storm approaches Earth and the deep-space satellite provides its warning—maybe an hour in advance, or maybe 15 minutes, if the storm is fast-moving—alarms will sound on crewed spacecraft. Astronauts will proceed to cramped modules lined with hydrogen-rich materials like polyethylene, which will prevent their DNA from being shredded by protons in the plasma. They may float inside for hours or days, depending on how long the storm endures.

    The plasma will begin to flood Earth’s ionosphere and the electron bombardment will cause high-frequency radio to go dark. GPS signals, which are transmitted via radio waves, will fade with it. Cell phone reception zones will shrink; your location bubble on Google Maps will expand. As the atmosphere heats up, it will swell, and satellites will drag, veer off course, and risk collision with each other and space debris. Some will fall out of orbit entirely. Most new satellites are equipped to endure some solar radiation, but in a strong enough storm, even the fanciest circuit board can fry. When navigation and communication systems fail, the commercial airline fleet—about 10,000 planes in the sky at any given time—will attempt a simultaneous grounding. Pilots will eyeball themselves into a flight pattern while air traffic controllers use light signals to guide the planes in. Those living near military installations may see government aircraft scrambling overhead; when radar systems jam, nuclear defense protocols activate.

    Through a weird and nonintuitive property of electromagnetism, the electricity coursing through the atmosphere will begin to induce currents at Earth’s surface. As those currents race through the crust, they will seek the path of least resistance. In regions with resistive rock (in the US, especially the Pacific Northwest, Great Lakes, and Eastern Seaboard), the most convenient route is upward, through the electrical grid.

    The weakest points in the grid are its intermediaries—machines called transformers, which take low-voltage current from a power plant, convert it to a higher voltage for cheap and efficient transport, and convert it back down again so that it can be piped safely to your wall outlets. The largest transformers, numbering around 2,000 in the United States, are firmly anchored into the ground, using Earth’s crust as a sink for excess voltage. But during a geomagnetic storm, that sink becomes a source. Most transformers are only built to handle alternating current, so storm-induced direct current can cause them to overheat, melt, and even ignite. As one might expect, old transformers are at higher risk of failure. The average American transformer is 40 years old pushed beyond its intended lifespan.

    Modeling how the grid would fail during another Carrington-class storm is no easy task. The features of individual transformers—age, configuration, location—are typically considered trade secrets. Metatech, an engineering firm frequently contracted by the US government, offers one of the more dire estimates. It finds that a severe storm, on par with events in 1859 or 1921, could destroy 365 high-voltage transformers across the country—about one-fifth of those in operation. States along the East Coast could see transformer failure rates ranging from 24 percent (Maine) to 97 percent (New Hampshire). Grid failure on this scale would leave at least 130 million people in the dark. But the exact number of fried transformers may matter less than their location. In 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported findings from an unreleased Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report on grid security: If just nine transformers were to blow out in the wrong places it found the country could experience coast-to-coast outages for months.

    Prolonged national grid failure is new territory for humankind. Documents from an assortment of government agencies and private organizations paint a dismal picture of what that would look like in the United States. Homes and offices will lose heating and cooling; water pressure in showers and faucets will drop. Subway trains will stop mid-voyage; city traffic will creep along unassisted by stoplights. Oil production will grind to a halt, and so will shipping and transportation. The blessing of modern logistics, which allows grocery stores to stock only a few days’ worth of goods, will become a curse. Pantries will thin out within a few days. The biggest killer, though, will be water. Fifteen percent of treatment facilities in the country serve 75 percent of the population—and they rely on energy-intensive pumping systems. These pumps not only distribute clean water but also remove the disease- and chemical-tainted sludge constantly oozing into sewage facilities. Without power, these waste systems could overflow, contaminating remaining surface water.

    As the outage goes on, health care facilities will grow overwhelmed. Sterile supplies will run low, and caseloads will soar. When backup batteries and generators fail or run out of power, perishable medications like insulin will spoil. Heavy medical hardware—dialysis machines, imaging devices, ventilators—will cease to function, and hospital wards will resemble field clinics. With death tolls mounting and morgues losing refrigeration, municipalities will face grave decisions about how to safely handle bodies.

    This is roughly the point in the worst-case scenario when the meltdowns at nuclear power plants begin. These facilities require many megawatts of electricity to cool their reactor cores and spent fuel rods. Today, most American plants run their backup systems on diesel. Koroush Shirvan, a nuclear safety expert at MIT, warns that many reactors could run into trouble if outages last longer than a few weeks.

    3
    ILLUSTRATION: MARK PERNICE.

    If you thumb through enough government reports on geomagnetic storms, you’ll find that one name comes up almost every time: John G. Kappenman. He has published 50 scientific papers, spoken before Congress and NATO, and advised half a dozen federal agencies and commissions. The soft-spoken utility veteran is the man behind the cataclysmic Meta­tech projections, and he is either a visionary or an alarmist, depending on whom you ask. Kappenman spent the first two decades of his career climbing the ladder at Minnesota Power, learning the ins and outs of the utility industry. In 1998, he joined Metatech, where he advised governments and energy companies on space weather and grid resilience.

    His end-of-days predictions first gained national traction in 2010, setting off such alarm that the Department of Homeland Security enlisted JASON, an elite scientific advisory group, to pull together a counter-study. “We are not convinced that Kappenman’s worst-case scenario is possible,” the authors concluded in their 2011 report. Notably, however, JASON did not challenge Kappenman’s work on its merits, nor did the group offer a competing model. Rather, its objections were rooted in the fact that Metatech’s models are proprietary, and utility industry secrecy makes it hard to run national grid simulations. Still, the authors echoed Kappenman’s essential conclusion: The US grid is dramatically underprepared for a major storm, and operators should take immediate action to harden their transformers.

    The good news is that a technical fix already exists. Mitigating this threat could be as simple as outfitting vulnerable transformers with capacitors, relatively inexpensive devices that block the flow of direct current. During the 1989 storm in Quebec, the grid fell offline and stopped conducting electricity before the current could inflict widespread damage. One close call was enough, though. In the years after, Canada spent more than $1 billion on reliability upgrades, including capacitors for its most vulnerable transformers. “To cover the entirety of the US, you’re probably in the ballpark of a few billion dollars,” Kappenman says. “If you spread that cost out, it would equal a postage stamp per year per customer.” A 2020 study by the Foundation for Resilient Societies arrived at a similar figure for comprehensive grid hardening: about $500 million a year for 10 years.

    To date however American utility companies haven’t widely deployed current-blocking devices to the live grid. “They’ve only done things, like moving to higher and higher operating voltages”—for cheaper transmission—“that greatly magnify their vulnerability to these storms,” Kappenman tells me.

    Tom Berger, former director of the US government’s Space Weather Prediction Center, also expressed doubts about grid operators. “When I talk to them, they tell me they understand space weather, and they’re ready,” he says. But Berger’s confidence waned after the February 2021 collapse of the Texas power grid, which killed hundreds of people, left millions of homes and businesses without heat, and caused about $200 billion in damage. That crisis was brought on by nothing more exotic than a big cold snap. “We heard the same thing,” Berger says. “‘We understand winter; it’s no problem.’”

    I reached out to 12 of the country’s largest utility companies, requesting information on specific steps taken to mitigate damage from a major geomagnetic event. American Electric Power, the country’s largest transmission network, was the only company to share concrete measures, which it says include regularly upgrading hardware, redirecting current during a storm, and quickly replacing equipment after an event. Two other companies, Consolidated Edison and Exelon, claim to have outfitted their systems with geomagnetic monitoring sensors and be instructing their operators in unspecified “procedures.” Florida Power & Light declined to meaningfully comment, citing security risks. The other eight did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

    At this point, curious minds may wonder whether utility companies are even required to plan for geomagnetic storms. The answer is complicated, in a uniquely American way. In 2005, when George W. Bush, a former oil executive, occupied the Oval Office, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, which included a grab bag of giveaways to the oil and gas industry. It rescinded much of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s authority to regulate the utility industry. Reliability standards are now developed and enforced by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation—a trade association that represents the interests of those same companies.

    Some find the NERC reliability standards laughable. (Two interviewees audibly laughed when asked about them.) Kappenman objected to the first set of standards, proposed in 2015, on the grounds that they were too lenient—they didn’t require utilities to prepare for a storm on par with 1859 or 1921. Berger took issue too, but for a different reason: The standards made no mention of storm duration. The ground-based effects of the Carrington Event lasted four or five consecutive days; a transformer built to withstand 10 seconds of current is very different from one ready for 120 hours.

    Under pressure from the federal government, NERC enacted stricter standards in 2019. In a lengthy written statement, Rachel Sherrard, a spokeswoman for the group, emphasized that American utilities are now expected to deal with an event twice as strong as the 1989 Quebec storm. (Comparison with an old storm like Carrington, she noted, “is challenging because high-fidelity historical measurement data is not available.”) Though the new standards require utilities to fix vulnerabilities in their systems, the companies themselves determine the right approach—and the timeline.

    If the utilities remain unmotivated, humanity’s ability to withstand a major geomagnetic storm will depend largely on our ability to replace damaged transformers. A 2020 investigation by the US Department of Commerce found that the nation imported more than 80 percent of its large transformers and their components. Under normal supply and demand conditions, lead times for these structures can reach two years. “People outside the industry don’t understand how difficult these things are to manufacture,” Kappenman says. Insiders know not to buy a transformer unless the factory that made it is at least 10 years old. “It takes that long to work out the kinks,” he says. In a time of solar crisis, foreign governments—even geopolitical allies—may throttle exports of vital electrical equipment, Kappenman notes. Some spare-part programs have cropped up over the past decade that allow participants to pool resources in various disaster scenarios. The size and location of these spares, however, are unknown to federal authorities—because the industry won’t tell them.

    One day regulators may manage to map the electrical grid, even stormproof it (provided a big one doesn’t wipe it out first). Engineers may launch a satellite array that gives us days to batten down the hatches. Governments may figure out a way to stand up emergency transformers in a pinch. And there the sun will be—the inconceivable, inextinguishable furnace at the center of our solar system that destroys as indiscriminately as it creates. Life on this little mote depends entirely on the mercy of a cosmic nuclear power with an itchy trigger finger. No human triumph will ever change that. (But we should still buy the capacitors. Soon, please.)

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 10:23 pm on June 6, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Coronal Dimmings Shine Light on Stellar CMEs", , Coronal dimmings are lower-density regions in a star’s corona that occur after those areas are depleted of plasma following a CME., Coronal mass ejections from stars have eluded easy observation so scientists are looking at what’s left behind., , Over the past 3 decades researchers have detected evidence of stellar CMEs from M-class stars., Pinpointing stellar CMEs could be important for finding habitable exoplanets., Solar research, Unlike solar dimming of a few percent stellar dimming decreased emissions by 56%.   

    From Eos: “Coronal Dimmings Shine Light on Stellar CMEs” 

    Eos news bloc

    From Eos

    AT

    AGU

    6 June 2022
    Jenessa Duncombe

    Coronal mass ejections from stars have eluded easy observation so scientists are looking at what’s left behind.

    1
    Credit: S. Wiessinger/GSFC/NASA, Public Domain.

    You could be forgiven for missing what comes after a coronal mass ejection (CME). Colossal outbursts of plasma hurtling into space at hundreds to thousands of kilometers per second, CMEs are a spectacle. Scientists have observed many CMEs from our Sun since the 1970s.

    But researchers are now turning their gaze away from a CME’s jettison to what’s been lost. After a CME, extreme ultraviolet light in the corona dims noticeably at the ejection site. Finding darkened spots could hold a key to observing elusive stellar CMEs.

    New research using coronal dimming to identify CME candidates in stars found 21 occurrences of coronal dimmings in 13 different stars.

    Before this research, scientists could “probably count ‘convincing detections’ with our hands,” said astrophysicist Julián David Alvarado-Gómez at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam, who was not involved in the work. “And some scientists would probably remain skeptical about some of them.”

    Pinpointing stellar CMEs could be important for finding habitable exoplanets. Stellar flares could “totally blow away the atmosphere of an exoplanet,” said Astrid Veronig, the lead researcher of the latest work and chair of Solar and Heliospheric Physics at the Institute of Physics at the University of Graz in Austria.

    Coronal Dimming

    Over the past 3 decades researchers have detected evidence of stellar CMEs from M-class stars. And in a 2019 paper in Nature Astronomy, Costanza Argiroffi published a detailed account of a monstrous CME from a star 450 light-years from Earth.

    Veronig and her colleagues took a different approach: coronal dimming.

    Coronal dimmings are lower-density regions in a star’s corona that occur after those areas are depleted of plasma following a CME. If these dimmings indicate CMEs, the latest work represents the largest number of stellar CME detections reported.

    Veronig found certain stars that dimmed more than once, like the rapidly rotating AB Dor with five events, the young AU Mic with three events, and the nearby Proxima Centauri with two events.

    “Proxima Centauri is the most interesting because it’s our closest star and it’s known to have exoplanets,” said Veronig, who published the work in Nature Astronomy last year.

    Sun as Star

    2
    Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory/NASA, Public Domain.

    To start, the researchers first considered coronal dimming on our Sun. Looking at the Sun as if it were a far-off star, they analyzed the extreme ultraviolet light curves from instruments on NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). They compared fluctuations in the light curve with images of CMEs and coronal dimmings caught by spatially resolved instruments on SDO.

    The team found that CMEs from the Sun precede coronal dimmings that decrease broadband extreme ultraviolet emissions by a few percent. The probability that the signature they observed was related to a CME was 95%.

    Next, Veronig and her team looked for stellar dimmings. Combing through historical extreme ultraviolet data collected by the Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer from NASA, as well as soft X-ray wavelengths from ESA’s X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, they found about 200 star candidates.

    The stars had to be Sun-like, known to flare, and measured for long enough periods (e.g., 10 hours) to qualify.

    Unlike solar dimming of a few percent stellar dimming decreased emissions by 56%. Stellar light curves are noisier than the Sun’s, so only big events came through.

    “Now we’ve shown it is possible, can [scientists] go further and extract more information from it?” Veronig said of the new technique. Satellite missions planned by NASA, like the proposed Extreme-ultraviolet Stellar Characterization for Atmospheric Physics and Evolution (ESCAPE) mission [SPIE], would make spotting stellar coronal dimmings easier.

    Building Momentum

    Alvarado-Gómez called the work a “crucial contribution” to understanding space weather around other stars but worried about an underlying assumption that other stars will behave like our Sun. “Dimmings alone are not sufficient to unequivocally find a CME event.”

    Assistant professor in physics and applied physics Ofer Cohen from the University of Massachusetts Lowell called the technique promising but warned that detecting coronal dimmings can’t tell us about a CME’s characteristics or spatial position on the stellar disk. Cohen did not participate in the research.

    The results support a simulation paper [Cambridge Core] by Meng Jin at the SETI Institute and the Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory. Digging deeper into these promising findings from the latest paper and advancing modeling, said Jin, “will provide a critical reference for further instrumentation and methodology to better detect stellar CMEs that significantly influence the habitability of explanatory systems.”

    See the full article here .

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    Eos is the leading source for trustworthy news and perspectives about the Earth and space sciences and their impact. Its namesake is Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn, who represents the light shed on understanding our planet and its environment in space by the Earth and space sciences.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:50 pm on May 23, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Helioseismology": the internal structure of the Sun as determined from solar oscillations, "The chemistry of the Sun", As an added bonus the new models are easy to apply to stars other than the Sun., , In this study scientists tracked all chemical elements that are relevant to the current models of how stars evolved over time., New calculations of the physics of the Sun's atmosphere yield updated results for abundances of different chemical elements which resolve the conflict., , Solar research, Spectral analysis-absorption lines, The chemical abundances that follow from the observed solar spectrum are somewhat different than stated in previous analysis., The current analysis showed that the Sun contains 26% more elements heavier than helium than previous studies had deduced., , The scientists further applied multiple independent methods to describe the interactions between the Sun's atoms and its radiation field in order to make sure their results were consistent.   

    From The MPG Institute for the Advancement of Science [MPG zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V] (DE).: “The chemistry of the Sun” 

    : From The MPG Institute for the Advancement of Science [MPG zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V] (DE).

    May 20, 2022

    Contacts:
    Dr. Markus Pössel
    Head of press and public relations
    Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg
    +49 6221 528-261
    pr@mpia.de

    Ekaterina Magg
    Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg
    +49 6221 528-392
    semenova@mpia.de

    Dr. Maria Bergemann
    Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg
    +49 6221 528-401
    bergemann@mpia.de

    Astronomers have resolved the decade-long solar abundance crisis: the conflict between the internal structure of the Sun as determined from solar oscillations (helioseismology) and the structure derived from the fundamental theory of stellar evolution, which in turn relies on measurements of the present-day Sun’s chemical composition. New calculations of the physics of the Sun’s atmosphere yield updated results for abundances of different chemical elements, which resolve the conflict. Notably, the Sun contains more oxygen, silicon and neon than previously thought. The methods employed also promise considerably more accurate estimates of the chemical compositions of stars in general.

    1
    Spectrum of the Sun, taken with the NARVAL very high-resolution spectrograph installed at the Télescope Bernard Lyot, Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées. Spectra such as this, in particular the properties of the dark absorption lines that are clearly visible in this image, allow astronomers to deduce a star’s temperature and chemical composition. © M. Bergemann / MPIA / NARVAL@TBL

    2
    2
    Télescope Bernard Lyot (Pic du Midi Observatory)

    What do you do when a tried-and-true method for determining the Sun’s chemical composition appears to be at odds with an innovative, precise technique for mapping the Sun’s inner structure? That was the situation facing astronomers studying the Sun – until new calculations that have now been published [Astronomy & Astrophysics] by Ekaterina Magg, Maria Bergemann and colleagues, and that resolve the apparent contradiction.

    The tried-and-true method in question is spectral analysis. In order to determine the chemical composition of our Sun, or of any other star out there, astronomers routinely turn to spectra: the rainbow-like decomposition of light into its different wavelengths. Stellar spectra contain conspicuous, sharp dark lines, first noticed by William Wollaston in 1802, famously rediscovered by Joseph von Fraunhofer in 1814, and identified as tell-tale signs indicating the presence of specific chemical elements by Gustav Kirchhoff and Robert Bunsen in the 1860s.

    Pioneering work by the Indian astrophysicist Meghnad Saha in 1920 related the strength of those “absorption lines” to stellar temperature and chemical composition, providing the basis for our physical models of stars. Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin’s realization that stars like our Sun consist mainly of hydrogen and helium, with no more than trace amounts of heavier chemical elements, is based on that work.

    The underlying calculations relating spectral features to the chemical composition and physics of the stellar plasma have been of crucial importance to astrophysics ever since. They have been the foundation of a century-long progress in our understanding of the chemical evolution of the universe as well as of the physical structure and evolution of stars and exoplanets. That is why it came as something of a shock when, as new observational data became available and provided an insight into the inner workings of our Sun, the different pieces of the puzzle apparently did not fit together.

    The modern standard model of solar evolution is calibrated using a famous (in solar physics circles) set of measurements of the solar atmosphere’s chemical composition, published in 2009. But in a number of important details, a reconstruction of our favorite star’s inner structure based on that standard model contradicts another set of measurements: helioseismic data, that is, measurements that track very precisely the minute oscillations of the Sun as a whole – the way that the Sun rhythmically expands and contracts in characteristic patterns, on time scales between seconds and hours.

    Just like seismic waves provide geologists with crucial information about the Earth’s interior, or like the sound of a bell encodes information about its shape and material properties, helioseismology provides information about the interior of the Sun.

    Highly accurate helioseismic measurements gave results about the Sun’s interior structure that were at odds with the solar standard models. According to helioseismology, the so-called convective region within our Sun where matter rises and sinks down again, like water in a boiling pot, was considerably larger than the standard model predicted. The speed of sound waves near the bottom of that region also deviated from the standard model’s predictions, as did the overall amount of helium in the Sun. To top it off, certain measurements of solar neutrinos – fleeting elementary particles, hard to detect, reaching us directly from the Sun’s core regions – were slightly off compared to experimental data, as well.

    Astronomers had what they soon came to call a “solar abundances crisis,” and in search of a way out, some proposals ranged from the unusual to the downright exotic. Did the Sun maybe accrete some metal-poor gas during its planet-forming phase? Is energy being transported by the notoriously non-interacting dark matter particles?

    The newly published study by Ekaterina Magg, Maria Bergemann and colleagues has managed to resolve that crisis, by revisiting the models on which the spectral estimates of the Sun’s chemical composition are based. Early studies of how the spectra of stars are produced had relied on something known as local thermal equilibrium. They had assumed that locally, energy in each region of a star’s atmosphere has time to spread out and reach a kind of equilibrium. This would make it possible to assign to each such region a temperature, which leads to a considerable simplification in the calculations.

    But as early as the 1950s, astronomers had realized that this picture was oversimplified. Since then, more and more studies incorporated so-called Non-LTE calculations, dropping the assumption of local equilibrium. The Non-LTE calculations include a detailed description of how energy is exchanged within the system – atoms getting excited by photons, or colliding, photons getting emitted, absorbed or scattered. In stellar atmospheres, where densities are far too low to allow the system to reach thermal equilibrium, that kind of attention to detail pays off. There, Non-LTE calculations yield results that are markedly different from their local-equilibrium counterparts.

    Maria Bergemann’s group at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy is one of the world leaders when it comes to applying Non-LTE calculations to stellar atmospheres. As part of the work on her PhD in that group, Ekaterina Magg set out to calculate in more detail the interaction of radiation matter in the solar photosphere. The photosphere is the outer layer where most of the Sun’s light originates, and also where the absorption lines are imprinted on the solar spectrum.

    In this study they tracked all chemical elements that are relevant to the current models of how stars evolved over time, and applied multiple independent methods to describe the interactions between the Sun’s atoms and its radiation field in order to make sure their results were consistent. For describing the convective regions of our Sun, they used existing simulations that take into account both the motion of the plasma and the physics of radiation (“STAGGER” and “CO5BOLD”). For the comparison with spectral measurements, they chose the data set with the highest available quality: the solar spectrum published by the Institute for Astro- and Geophysics, University of Göttingen. “We also extensively focused on the analysis of statistical and systematic effects that could limit the accuracy of out results”, notes Magg.

    The new calculations showed that the relationship between the abundances of these crucial chemical elements and the strength of the corresponding spectral lines was significantly different from what previous authors had claimed. Consequently, the chemical abundances that follow from the observed solar spectrum are somewhat different than stated in previous analysis.

    “We found, that according to our analysis the Sun contains 26% more elements heavier than helium than previous studies had deduced”, explains Magg. In astronomy, such elements heavier than helium are called “metals”. Only on the order of a thousandth of a percent of all atomic nuclei in the Sun are metals; it is this very small number that has now changed by 26% of its previous value. Magg adds: “The value for the oxygen abundance was almost 15% higher than in previous studies.” The new values are, however, in good agreement with the chemical composition of primitive meteorites (“CI chondrites”) that are thought to represent the chemical make-up of the very early solar system.

    When those new values are used as the input for current models of solar structure and evolution, the puzzling discrepancy between the results of those models and helioseismic measurements disappears. The in-depth analysis by Magg, Bergemann and their colleagues of how spectral lines are produced, with its reliance on considerably more complete models of the underlying physics, manages to resolve the solar abundance crisis.

    Maria Bergemann says: “The new solar models based on our new chemical composition are more realistic than ever before: they produce a model of the Sun that is consistent with all the information we have about the Sun’s present-day structure – sound waves, neutrinos, luminosity, and the Sun’s radius – without the need for non-standard, exotic physics in the solar interior.”

    As an added bonus the new models are easy to apply to stars other than the Sun. At a time where large-scale surveys like SDSS-V and 4MOST are providing high-quality spectra for an ever greater number of stars, this kind of progress is valuable indeed – putting future analyses of stellar chemistry, with their broader implications for reconstructions of the chemical evolution of our cosmos, on a firmer footing than ever before.

    See the full article here.

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    MPG Society for the Advancement of Science [MPG Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V.] is a formally independent non-governmental and non-profit association of German research institutes founded in 1911 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society and renamed the Max Planck Society in 1948 in honor of its former president, theoretical physicist Max Planck. The society is funded by the federal and state governments of Germany as well as other sources.

    According to its primary goal, the MPG Society supports fundamental research in the natural, life and social sciences, the arts and humanities in its 83 (as of January 2014) MPG Institutes. The society has a total staff of approximately 17,000 permanent employees, including 5,470 scientists, plus around 4,600 non-tenured scientists and guests. Society budget for 2015 was about €1.7 billion.

    The MPG Institutes focus on excellence in research. The MPG Society has a world-leading reputation as a science and technology research organization, with 33 Nobel Prizes awarded to their scientists, and is generally regarded as the foremost basic research organization in Europe and the world. In 2013, the Nature Publishing Index placed the MPG institutes fifth worldwide in terms of research published in Nature journals (after Harvard University, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and The National Institutes of Health). In terms of total research volume (unweighted by citations or impact), the Max Planck Society is only outranked by The Chinese Academy of Sciences [中国科学院](CN), The Russian Academy of Sciences [Росси́йская акаде́мия нау́к](RU) and Harvard University. The Thomson Reuters-Science Watch website placed the MPG Society as the second leading research organization worldwide following Harvard University, in terms of the impact of the produced research over science fields.

    The MPG Society and its predecessor Kaiser Wilhelm Society hosted several renowned scientists in their fields, including Otto Hahn, Werner Heisenberg, and Albert Einstein.

    History

    The organization was established in 1911 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, or Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft (KWG), a non-governmental research organization named for the then German emperor. The KWG was one of the world’s leading research organizations; its board of directors included scientists like Walther Bothe, Peter Debye, Albert Einstein, and Fritz Haber. In 1946, Otto Hahn assumed the position of President of KWG, and in 1948, the society was renamed the Max Planck Society (MPG) after its former President (1930–37) Max Planck, who died in 1947.

    The MPG Society has a world-leading reputation as a science and technology research organization. In 2006, the Times Higher Education Supplement rankings of non-university research institutions (based on international peer review by academics) placed the MPG Society as No.1 in the world for science research, and No.3 in technology research (behind AT&T Corporation and The DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory.

    The domain mpg.de attracted at least 1.7 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a Compete.com study.

    MPG Institutes and research groups

    The MPG Society consists of over 80 research institutes. In addition, the society funds a number of Max Planck Research Groups (MPRG) and International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS). The purpose of establishing independent research groups at various universities is to strengthen the required networking between universities and institutes of the Max Planck Society.
    The research units are primarily located across Europe with a few in South Korea and the U.S. In 2007, the Society established its first non-European centre, with an institute on the Jupiter campus of Florida Atlantic University (US) focusing on neuroscience.
    The MPG Institutes operate independently from, though in close cooperation with, the universities, and focus on innovative research which does not fit into the university structure due to their interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary nature or which require resources that cannot be met by the state universities.

    Internally, MPG Institutes are organized into research departments headed by directors such that each MPI has several directors, a position roughly comparable to anything from full professor to department head at a university. Other core members include Junior and Senior Research Fellows.

    In addition, there are several associated institutes:

    International Max Planck Research Schools

    Together with the Association of Universities and other Education Institutions in Germany, the Max Planck Society established numerous International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS) to promote junior scientists:

    • Cologne Graduate School of Ageing Research, Cologne
    • International Max Planck Research School for Intelligent Systems, at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems located in Tübingen and Stuttgart
    • International Max Planck Research School on Adapting Behavior in a Fundamentally Uncertain World (Uncertainty School), at the Max Planck Institutes for Economics, for Human Development, and/or Research on Collective Goods
    • International Max Planck Research School for Analysis, Design and Optimization in Chemical and Biochemical Process Engineering, Magdeburg
    • International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Cosmic Physics, Heidelberg at the MPI for Astronomy
    • International Max Planck Research School for Astrophysics, Garching at the MPI for Astrophysics
    • International Max Planck Research School for Complex Surfaces in Material Sciences, Berlin
    • International Max Planck Research School for Computer Science, Saarbrücken
    • International Max Planck Research School for Earth System Modeling, Hamburg
    • International Max Planck Research School for Elementary Particle Physics, Munich, at the MPI for Physics
    • International Max Planck Research School for Environmental, Cellular and Molecular Microbiology, Marburg at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
    • International Max Planck Research School for Evolutionary Biology, Plön at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology
    • International Max Planck Research School “From Molecules to Organisms”, Tübingen at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology
    • International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Jena at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
    • International Max Planck Research School on Gravitational Wave Astronomy, Hannover and Potsdam MPI for Gravitational Physics
    • International Max Planck Research School for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research
    • International Max Planck Research School for Infectious Diseases and Immunity, Berlin at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology
    • International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, Nijmegen
    • International Max Planck Research School for Neurosciences, Göttingen
    • International Max Planck Research School for Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience, Tübingen
    • International Max Planck Research School for Marine Microbiology (MarMic), joint program of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, the University of Bremen, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, and the Jacobs University Bremen
    • International Max Planck Research School for Maritime Affairs, Hamburg
    • International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Biology, Freiburg
    • International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences, Munich
    • International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Biology, Göttingen
    • International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Cell Biology and Bioengineering, Dresden
    • International Max Planck Research School Molecular Biomedicine, program combined with the ‘Graduate Programm Cell Dynamics And Disease’ at the University of Münster and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine
    • International Max Planck Research School on Multiscale Bio-Systems, Potsdam
    • International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology, at the University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology
    • International Max Planck Research School on Reactive Structure Analysis for Chemical Reactions (IMPRS RECHARGE), Mülheim an der Ruhr, at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion
    • International Max Planck Research School for Science and Technology of Nano-Systems, Halle at Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics
    • International Max Planck Research School for Solar System Science at the University of Göttingen hosted by MPI for Solar System Research
    • International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Bonn, at the MPI for Radio Astronomy (formerly the International Max Planck Research School for Radio and Infrared Astronomy)
    • International Max Planck Research School for the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy, Cologne
    • International Max Planck Research School for Surface and Interface Engineering in Advanced Materials, Düsseldorf at Max Planck Institute for Iron Research GmbH
    • International Max Planck Research School for Ultrafast Imaging and Structural Dynamics, Hamburg

    Max Planck Schools

    • Max Planck School of Cognition
    • Max Planck School Matter to Life
    • Max Planck School of Photonics

    Max Planck Center

    • The Max Planck Centre for Attosecond Science (MPC-AS), POSTECH Pohang
    • The Max Planck POSTECH Center for Complex Phase Materials, POSTECH Pohang

    Max Planck Institutes

    Among others:
    • Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology of Behavior – caesar, Bonn
    • Max Planck Institute for Aeronomics in Katlenburg-Lindau was renamed to Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in 2004;
    • Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tübingen was closed in 2005;
    • Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology in Ladenburg b. Heidelberg was closed in 2003;
    • Max Planck Institute for Economics in Jena was renamed to the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in 2014;
    • Max Planck Institute for Ionospheric Research in Katlenburg-Lindau was renamed to Max Planck Institute for Aeronomics in 1958;
    • Max Planck Institute for Metals Research, Stuttgart
    • Max Planck Institute of Oceanic Biology in Wilhelmshaven was renamed to Max Planck Institute of Cell Biology in 1968 and moved to Ladenburg 1977;
    • Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research in Munich merged into the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in 2004;
    • Max Planck Institute for Protein and Leather Research in Regensburg moved to Munich 1957 and was united with the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in 1977;
    • Max Planck Institute for Virus Research in Tübingen was renamed as Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in 1985;
    • Max Planck Institute for the Study of the Scientific-Technical World in Starnberg (from 1970 until 1981 (closed)) directed by Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker and Jürgen Habermas.
    • Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology
    • Max Planck Institute of Experimental Endocrinology
    • Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Social Law
    • Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics
    • Max Planck Research Unit for Enzymology of Protein Folding
    • Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing

     
  • richardmitnick 10:20 am on May 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Sun as you’ve never seen it before", , Solar Orbiter’s main science goal is to explore the connection between the Sun and the heliosphere., Solar research,   

    From The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU): “The Sun as you’ve never seen it before” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency – United Space in Europe (EU)

    From The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)

    18/05/2022

    Solar Orbiter’s highest resolution image ever of the Sun’s south pole.


    5.18.22
    The Sun’s south pole as seen by the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft on 30 March 2022, just four days after the spacecraft passed its closest point yet to the Sun.

    These images were recorded by the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) at a wavelength of 17 nanometers.


    Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI)

    Many scientific secrets are thought to lie hidden at the solar poles. The magnetic fields that create the great but temporary active regions on the Sun get swept up to the poles before being swallowed back down into the Sun where they are thought to form the magnetic seeds for future solar activity.

    The lighter areas of the image are mostly created by loops of magnetism that rise upwards from the solar interior. These are called closed magnetic field lines because particles find it hard to cross them, and become trapped, emitting the extreme ultraviolet radiation that EUI is specially designed to record.

    The darker areas are regions where the Sun’s magnetic field lies open, and so the gasses can escape into space, creating the solar wind.

    Starting in 2025, Solar Orbiter will use the gravitational pull of Venus to gradually crank up the inclination of its orbit. This will allow the spacecraft’s instruments to investigate the solar poles from a more top-down viewpoint.

    The colour on this image has been artificially added because the original wavelength detected by the instrument is invisible to the human eye. © ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/EUI Team

    _____________________________________________

    Powerful flares, breathtaking views across the solar poles, and a curious solar ‘hedgehog’ are amongst the haul of spectacular images, movies and data returned by Solar Orbiter from its first close approach to the Sun. Although the analysis of the new dataset has only just started, it is already clear that the ESA-led mission is providing the most extraordinary insights into the Sun’s magnetic behaviour and the way this shapes space weather.

    Solar Orbiter’s closest approach to the Sun, known as perihelion, took place on 26 March. The spacecraft was inside the orbit of Mercury, at about one-third the distance from the Sun to the Earth, and its heatshield was reaching around 500°C. But it dissipated that heat with its innovative technology to keep the spacecraft safe and functioning.
    _____________________________________________


    5.18.22
    The ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft made the first of its close perihelion passages on 26 March 2022. The spacecraft flew closer to the Sun than the inner planet Mercury, achieving its closest approach at just 32 percent of the Earth’s distance from the Sun. Being that close to the Sun, the images and data returned were spectacular.

    The movie first shows the full Sun, with magnetism reaching out from the Sun’s interior to trap bright loops of coronal gas. Next, the movie zooms in towards the region targeted by the HRIEUV telescope, where smaller scale coronal loops can be seen.

    The colour on this image has been artificially added because the original wavelength detected by the instrument is invisible to the human eye. © ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/EUI Team.

    Solar Orbiter carries ten science instruments – nine are led by ESA Member States and one by NASA – all working together in close collaboration to provide unprecedented insight into how our local star ‘works’. Some are remote-sensing instruments that look at the Sun, while others are in-situ instruments that monitor the conditions around the spacecraft, enabling scientists to ‘join the dots’ from what they see happening at the Sun, to what Solar Orbiter ‘feels’ at its location in the solar wind millions of kilometres away.

    When it comes to perihelion, clearly the closer the spacecraft gets to the Sun, the finer the details the remote sensing instrument can see. And as luck would have it, the spacecraft also soaked up several solar flares and even an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection, providing a taste of real-time space weather forecasting, an endeavour that is becoming increasingly important because of the threat space weather poses to technology and astronauts.

    _____________________________________________

    Introducing the solar hedgehog

    “The images are really breathtaking,” says David Berghmans, Royal Observatory of Belgium, and the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) instrument, which takes high-resolution images of the lower layers of the Sun’s atmosphere, known as the solar corona. This region is where most of the solar activity that drives space weather takes place.

    The task now for the EUI team is to understand what they are seeing. This is no easy task because Solar Orbiter is revealing so much activity on the Sun at the small scale. Having spotted a feature or an event that they can’t immediately recognise, they must then dig through past solar observations by other space missions to see if anything similar has been seen before.

    “Even if Solar Obiter stopped taking data tomorrow, I would be busy for years trying to figure all this stuff out,” says David Berghmans.

    One particularly eye-catching feature was seen during this perihelion. For now, it has been nicknamed ‘the hedgehog’. It stretches 25 000 kilometres across the Sun and has a multitude of spikes of hot and colder gas that reach out in all directions.

    Joining the dots

    2
    Joining the dots of an energetic particle event.

    Solar Orbiter’s main science goal is to explore the connection between the Sun and the heliosphere. The heliosphere is the large ‘bubble’ of space that extends beyond the planets of our Solar System. It is filled with electrically charged particles, most of which have been expelled by the Sun to form the solar wind. It is the movement of these particles and the associated solar magnetic fields that create space weather.

    To chart the Sun’s effects on the heliosphere, the results from the in-situ instruments, which record the particles and magnetic fields that sweep across the spacecraft, must be traced back to events on or near the visible surface of the Sun, which are recorded by the remote sensing instruments.

    This is not an easy task as the magnetic environment around the Sun is highly complex, but the closer the spacecraft can get to the Sun, the less complicated it is to trace particle events back to the Sun along the ‘highways’ of magnetic field lines. The first perihelion was a key test of this, and the results so far look very promising.

    On 21 March, a few days before perihelion, a cloud of energetic particles swept across the spacecraft. It was detected by the Energetic Particle Detector (EPD).

    Tellingly, the most energetic of them arrived first, followed by those of lower and lower energies.

    “This suggests that the particles are not produced close to the spacecraft,” says Javier Rodríguez-Pacheco, University of Alcalá, Spain, and EPD’s PI. Instead, they were produced in the solar atmosphere, nearer the Sun’s surface. While crossing space, the faster particles pulled ahead of the slower ones, like runners in a sprint.

    On the same day, the Radio and Plasma Waves (RPW) experiment saw them coming, picking up the strong characteristic sweep of radio frequencies produced when accelerated particles – mostly electrons – spiral outwards along the Sun’s magnetic field lines. RPW then detected oscillations known as Langmuir waves. “These are a sign that the energetic electrons have arrived at the spacecraft,” says Milan Maksimovic, LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, France, and RPW PI.

    Of the remote sensing instruments, both EUI and the X-ray Spectrometer/Telescope (STIX) saw events on the Sun that could have been responsible for the release of the particles. While the particles that stream outwards into space are the ones that EPD and RPW detected, it is important to remember that other particles can travel downwards from the event, striking the lower levels of the Sun’s atmosphere. This is where STIX comes in.


    STIX

    While EUI see the ultraviolet light released from the site of the flare in the atmosphere of the Sun, STIX see the X-rays that are produced when electrons accelerated by the flare interact with atomic nuclei in the lower levels of the Sun’s atmosphere.

    Exactly how these observations are all linked is now a matter for the teams to investigate. There is some indication from the composition of the particles detected by EPD that they were likely accelerated by a coronal shock in a more gradual event rather than impulsively from a flare.

    “It could be that you have multiple acceleration sites,” says Samuel Krucker, FHNW, Switzerland, and PI for STIX.

    Adding another twist to this situation is that the Magnetometer instrument (MAG) did not register anything substantial at the time. However, this is not unusual. The initial eruption of particles, known as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), carries a strong magnetic field that MAG can easily register, but energetic particles from the event travel much faster than the CME and can rapidly fill large volumes of space, and therefore be detected by Solar Orbiter. “But if the CME misses the spacecraft, then MAG will not see a signature,” says Tim Horbury, Imperial College, UK, and MAG PI.

    When it comes to the magnetic field, it all begins at the Sun’s visible surface, known as the photosphere. This is where the internally generated magnetic field bursts into space. To know what this looks like, Solar Orbiter carries the Polarimetric and Helioseismic Imager (PHI) instrument.


    Polarimetric and Helioseismic Imager (PHI) instrument.

    This can see the north and south magnetic polarity on the photosphere, as well as the rippling of the Sun’s surface due to seismic waves travelling through its interior.

    “We provide the magnetic field measurements at the surface of the Sun. This field then expands, goes into the corona and basically drives all the sparkle and action you see up there,” says Sami Solanki, Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Göttingen, Germany, and the PI for PHI.

    Another instrument, the Spectral Imaging of the Coronal Environment (SPICE), records the composition of the corona. These ‘abundance maps’ can be compared to the contents of the solar wind seen by the Solar Wind Analyser (SWA) instrument.

    “This will track the evolution of the composition of the solar wind from the Sun to the spacecraft, and that tells us about the mechanisms responsible for the acceleration of the solar wind,” says SPICE PI Frédéric Auchère, Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, France.

    Forecasting space weather

    3
    Tracking space weather.

    By combining data from all instruments, the science team will be able to tell the story of solar activity from the surface of the Sun, out to Solar Orbiter and beyond. And that knowledge is exactly what will pave the way for a future system designed to forecast the space weather conditions at Earth in real-time. In the lead-up to perihelion, Solar Orbiter even got a taste of how such a system might operate.

    The spacecraft was flying upstream of the Earth. This unique perspective meant that it was monitoring the conditions of the solar wind that would hit Earth several hours later. Since the spacecraft was in direct contact with the Earth, with its signals travelling at the speed of light, the data arrived on the ground within a few minutes, ready for analysis. As luck would have it, there were several coronal mass ejections (CME) detected around this time, some of them heading directly for Earth.

    On 10 March, a CME swept over the spacecraft. Using data from MAG, the team were able to predict when it would subsequently hit Earth. Announcing this news on social media allowed sky watchers to be ready for the aurora, which duly arrived around 18 hours later at the predicted time.

    This experience gave Solar Orbiter a taste of what it is like to forecast the space weather condition at Earth in real-time. Such an endeavour is becoming increasingly important because of the threat space weather poses to technology and astronauts.

    _____________________________________________
    Awesome solar energy

    5.18.22
    The awesome energy of the Sun can be readily appreciated in this sequence of images combining data from three instruments on the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft. It shows the way a solar flare on 25 March 2022, one day before Solar Orbiter’s closest approach to the Sun, created a huge disturbance in the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the solar corona, leading to a huge quantity of the gas being hurled into space in a coronal mass ejection.

    The first image was taken by the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) instrument at a wavelength of 17 nanometres. The solar flare is shown by an arrow. The view then zooms out to show what the Metis instrument sees. Metis takes pictures of the corona from 1.7 to 3 solar radii by blotting out the Sun’s bright disc. The final zoom shows the huge coronal mass ejection blasting into space. The data comes from SoloHI, which records images made of sunlight scattered by the electrons in the solar wind. © ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/EUI, Metis and SoloHI Teams.
    _____________________________________________

    ESA is currently planning a mission called ESA Vigil that will be stationed to one side of the Sun looking into the region of space leading up to the Earth. Its job will be to image CMEs travelling through this region, especially those heading for our planet. During perihelion itself, Solar Orbiter was positioned so that its instruments Metis and SoloHI could provide exactly these kinds of images and data.

    Metis takes pictures of the corona from 1.7–3 solar radii. By blotting out the Sun’s bright disc, it sees the fainter corona. “It gives the same details as ground based total eclipse observations, but instead of a few minutes, Metis can observe continuously,” says Marco Romoli, University of Florence, Italy, and PI for Metis.

    SoloHI records images made of sunlight scattered by the electrons in the solar wind. One particular flare, on 31 March, made it into the X-class, the most energetic solar flares known. As yet, the data has not been analysed because much of it remains on the spacecraft waiting to be downloaded. Now that Solar Orbiter is further from the Earth, the data transfer rate has slowed and researchers must be patient – but they are more than ready to begin their analysis when it does arrive.

    “We’re always interested in the big events because they produce the biggest responses and the most interesting physics because you are looking at the extremes,” says Robin Colaninno, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington DC, and SoloHI PI.

    _____________________________________________
    To the Sun and back


    18/05/2022

    This sequence of images shows the progress of the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft as it heads inwards towards the Sun and through its closest approach on 26 March 2022. The sequence begins on 30 January and completes on 4 April, by which time the spacecraft is moving away from the Sun again.

    The sequence was taken by the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) using the Full Sun Imager (FSI) telescope, and shows the Sun at a wavelength of 30 nanometers. This wavelength is emitted by a form of helium gas that is found mainly in a region of the Sun’s atmosphere called the transition region. This is the interface between the lower and upper layers of the solar atmosphere. It is only 100 km in height, yet the temperature here increases by a factor of 50 to reach the one million degrees displayed by the corona. Solar Orbiter is investigating why there is this huge increase.

    The colour on this image has been artificially added because the original wavelength detected by the instrument is invisible to the human eye. Occasionally the image appears to jump. This happens on the days that EUI was not returning data to Earth. The coloured bar at the top of the image shows the impressive amount of data collected in this period, together with these brief gaps in the data coverage. © ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/EUI Team.
    _____________________________________________

    Coming soon

    There is no doubt that the instrument teams now have their work cut out. The perihelion was a huge success and has generated a vast quality of extraordinary data. And it’s just a taste of what is to come. Already the spacecraft is racing through space to line itself up for its next – and slightly closer – perihelion pass on 13 October at 0.29 times the Earth-Sun distance. Before then, on 4 September, it will make its third flyby of Venus.

    Solar Orbiter has already taken its first pictures of the Sun’s largely unexplored polar regions but much more is still to come.

    On 18 February 2025, Solar Orbiter will encounter Venus for a fourth time. This is increase the inclination of the spacecraft’s orbit to around 17 degrees. The fifth Venus flyby on 24 December 2026 will increase this still further to 24 degrees, and will mark the start of the ‘high-latitude’ mission.

    In this phase, Solar Orbiter will see the Sun’s polar regions more directly than ever before. Such line-of-sight observations are key to disentangling the complex magnetic environment at the poles, which may in turn hold the secret to the Sun’s 11-year cycle of waxing and waning activity.

    “We are so thrilled with the quality of the data from our first perihelion,” says Daniel Müller, ESA Project Scientist for Solar Orbiter. “It’s almost hard to believe that this is just the start of the mission. We are going to be very busy indeed.”

    See the full article here .


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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU), 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 (NL) 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.

    ESA’s space flight programme includes human spaceflight (mainly through participation in the International Space Station program); the launch and operation of uncrewed exploration missions to other planets and the Moon; Earth observation, science and telecommunication; designing launch vehicles; and maintaining a major spaceport, the The Guiana Space Centre [Centre Spatial Guyanais; CSG also called Europe’s Spaceport) at Kourou, French Guiana. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle. The agency is also working with NASA to manufacture the Orion Spacecraft service module that will fly on the Space Launch System.

    The agency’s facilities are distributed among the following centres:

    ESA European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) (NL) in Noordwijk, Netherlands;
    ESA Centre for Earth Observation [ESRIN] (IT) in Frascati, Italy;
    ESA Mission Control ESA European Space Operations Center [ESOC](DE) is in Darmstadt, Germany;
    ESA -European Astronaut Centre [EAC] trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany;
    European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) (UK), a research institute created in 2009, is located in Harwell, England;
    ESA – European Space Astronomy Centre [ESAC] (ES) is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain.
    European Space Agency Science Programme is a long-term programme of space science and space exploration missions.

    Foundation

    After World War II, many European scientists left Western Europe in order to work with the United States. Although the 1950s boom made it possible for Western European countries to invest in research and specifically in space-related activities, Western European scientists realized solely national projects would not be able to compete with the two main superpowers. In 1958, only months after the Sputnik shock, Edoardo Amaldi (Italy) and Pierre Auger (France), two prominent members of the Western European scientific community, met to discuss the foundation of a common Western European space agency. The meeting was attended by scientific representatives from eight countries, including Harrie Massey (United Kingdom).

    The Western European nations decided to have two agencies: one concerned with developing a launch system, ELDO (European Launch Development Organization), and the other the precursor of the European Space Agency, ESRO (European Space Research Organisation). The latter was established on 20 March 1964 by an agreement signed on 14 June 1962. From 1968 to 1972, ESRO launched seven research satellites.

    ESA in its current form was founded with the ESA Convention in 1975, when ESRO was merged with ELDO. ESA had ten founding member states: Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These signed the ESA Convention in 1975 and deposited the instruments of ratification by 1980, when the convention came into force. During this interval the agency functioned in a de facto fashion. ESA launched its first major scientific mission in 1975, Cos-B, a space probe monitoring gamma-ray emissions in the universe, which was first worked on by ESRO.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Later activities

    ESA collaborated with National Aeronautics Space Agency on the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE), the world’s first high-orbit telescope, which was launched in 1978 and operated successfully for 18 years.

    ESA Infrared Space Observatory.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration Solar Orbiter annotated.

    A number of successful Earth-orbit projects followed, and in 1986 ESA began Giotto, its first deep-space mission, to study the comets Halley and Grigg–Skjellerup. Hipparcos, a star-mapping mission, was launched in 1989 and in the 1990s SOHO, Ulysses and the Hubble Space Telescope were all jointly carried out with NASA. Later scientific missions in cooperation with NASA include the Cassini–Huygens space probe, to which ESA contributed by building the Titan landing module Huygens.

    ESA/Huygens Probe from Cassini landed on Titan.

    As the successor of ELDO, ESA has also constructed rockets for scientific and commercial payloads. Ariane 1, launched in 1979, carried mostly commercial payloads into orbit from 1984 onward. The next two versions of the Ariane rocket were intermediate stages in the development of a more advanced launch system, the Ariane 4, which operated between 1988 and 2003 and established ESA as the world leader in commercial space launches in the 1990s. Although the succeeding Ariane 5 experienced a failure on its first flight, it has since firmly established itself within the heavily competitive commercial space launch market with 82 successful launches until 2018. The successor launch vehicle of Ariane 5, the Ariane 6, is under development and is envisioned to enter service in the 2020s.

    The beginning of the new millennium saw ESA become, along with agencies like National Aeronautics Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Indian Space Research Organisation, the Canadian Space Agency(CA) and Roscosmos(RU), one of the major participants in scientific space research. Although ESA had relied on co-operation with NASA in previous decades, especially the 1990s, changed circumstances (such as tough legal restrictions on information sharing by the United States military) led to decisions to rely more on itself and on co-operation with Russia. A 2011 press issue thus stated:

    “Russia is ESA’s first partner in its efforts to ensure long-term access to space. There is a framework agreement between ESA and the government of the Russian Federation on cooperation and partnership in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and cooperation is already underway in two different areas of launcher activity that will bring benefits to both partners.”

    Notable ESA programmes include SMART-1, a probe testing cutting-edge space propulsion technology, the Mars Express and Venus Express missions, as well as the development of the Ariane 5 rocket and its role in the ISS partnership. ESA maintains its scientific and research projects mainly for astronomy-space missions such as Corot, launched on 27 December 2006, a milestone in the search for exoplanets.

    On 21 January 2019, ArianeGroup and Arianespace announced a one-year contract with ESA to study and prepare for a mission to mine the Moon for lunar regolith.

    Mission

    The treaty establishing the European Space Agency reads:

    The purpose of the Agency shall be to provide for and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems…

    ESA is responsible for setting a unified space and related industrial policy, recommending space objectives to the member states, and integrating national programs like satellite development, into the European program as much as possible.

    Jean-Jacques Dordain – ESA’s Director General (2003–2015) – outlined the European Space Agency’s mission in a 2003 interview:

    “Today space activities have pursued the benefit of citizens, and citizens are asking for a better quality of life on Earth. They want greater security and economic wealth, but they also want to pursue their dreams, to increase their knowledge, and they want younger people to be attracted to the pursuit of science and technology. I think that space can do all of this: it can produce a higher quality of life, better security, more economic wealth, and also fulfill our citizens’ dreams and thirst for knowledge, and attract the young generation. This is the reason space exploration is an integral part of overall space activities. It has always been so, and it will be even more important in the future.”

    Activities

    According to the ESA website, the activities are:

    Observing the Earth
    Human Spaceflight
    Launchers
    Navigation
    Space Science
    Space Engineering & Technology
    Operations
    Telecommunications & Integrated Applications
    Preparing for the Future
    Space for Climate

    Programmes

    Copernicus Programme
    Cosmic Vision
    ExoMars
    FAST20XX
    Galileo
    Horizon 2000
    Living Planet Programme
    Mandatory

    Every member country must contribute to these programmes:

    Technology Development Element Programme
    Science Core Technology Programme
    General Study Programme
    European Component Initiative

    Optional

    Depending on their individual choices the countries can contribute to the following programmes, listed according to:

    Launchers
    Earth Observation
    Human Spaceflight and Exploration
    Telecommunications
    Navigation
    Space Situational Awareness
    Technology

    ESA_LAB@

    ESA has formed partnerships with universities. ESA_LAB@ refers to research laboratories at universities. Currently there are ESA_LAB@

    Technische Universität Darmstadt (DE)
    École des hautes études commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris) (FR)
    Université de recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres (FR)
    The University of Central Lancashire (UK)

    Membership and contribution to ESA

    By 2015, ESA was an intergovernmental organization of 22 member states. Member states participate to varying degrees in the mandatory (25% of total expenditures in 2008) and optional space programmes (75% of total expenditures in 2008). The 2008 budget amounted to €3.0 billion whilst the 2009 budget amounted to €3.6 billion. The total budget amounted to about €3.7 billion in 2010, €3.99 billion in 2011, €4.02 billion in 2012, €4.28 billion in 2013, €4.10 billion in 2014 and €4.33 billion in 2015. English is the main language within ESA. Additionally, official documents are also provided in German and documents regarding the Spacelab are also provided in Italian. If found appropriate, the agency may conduct its correspondence in any language of a member state.

    Non-full member states
    Slovenia
    Since 2016, Slovenia has been an associated member of the ESA.

    Latvia
    Latvia became the second current associated member on 30 June 2020, when the Association Agreement was signed by ESA Director Jan Wörner and the Minister of Education and Science of Latvia, Ilga Šuplinska in Riga. The Saeima ratified it on July 27. Previously associated members were Austria, Norway and Finland, all of which later joined ESA as full members.

    Canada
    Since 1 January 1979, Canada has had the special status of a Cooperating State within ESA. By virtue of this accord, The Canadian Space Agency [Agence spatiale canadienne, ASC] (CA) takes part in ESA’s deliberative bodies and decision-making and also in ESA’s programmes and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programmes. The accord has a provision ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada. The most recent Cooperation Agreement was signed on 15 December 2010 with a term extending to 2020. For 2014, Canada’s annual assessed contribution to the ESA general budget was €6,059,449 (CAD$8,559,050). For 2017, Canada has increased its annual contribution to €21,600,000 (CAD$30,000,000).

    Enlargement

    After the decision of the ESA Council of 21/22 March 2001, the procedure for accession of the European states was detailed as described the document titled The Plan for European Co-operating States (PECS). Nations that want to become a full member of ESA do so in 3 stages. First a Cooperation Agreement is signed between the country and ESA. In this stage, the country has very limited financial responsibilities. If a country wants to co-operate more fully with ESA, it signs a European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement. The ECS Agreement makes companies based in the country eligible for participation in ESA procurements. The country can also participate in all ESA programmes, except for the Basic Technology Research Programme. While the financial contribution of the country concerned increases, it is still much lower than that of a full member state. The agreement is normally followed by a Plan For European Cooperating State (or PECS Charter). This is a 5-year programme of basic research and development activities aimed at improving the nation’s space industry capacity. At the end of the 5-year period, the country can either begin negotiations to become a full member state or an associated state or sign a new PECS Charter.

    During the Ministerial Meeting in December 2014, ESA ministers approved a resolution calling for discussions to begin with Israel, Australia and South Africa on future association agreements. The ministers noted that “concrete cooperation is at an advanced stage” with these nations and that “prospects for mutual benefits are existing”.

    A separate space exploration strategy resolution calls for further co-operation with the United States, Russia and China on “LEO” exploration, including a continuation of ISS cooperation and the development of a robust plan for the coordinated use of space transportation vehicles and systems for exploration purposes, participation in robotic missions for the exploration of the Moon, the robotic exploration of Mars, leading to a broad Mars Sample Return mission in which Europe should be involved as a full partner, and human missions beyond LEO in the longer term.”

    Relationship with the European Union

    The political perspective of the European Union (EU) was to make ESA an agency of the EU by 2014, although this date was not met. The EU member states provide most of ESA’s funding, and they are all either full ESA members or observers.

    History

    At the time ESA was formed, its main goals did not encompass human space flight; rather it considered itself to be primarily a scientific research organisation for uncrewed space exploration in contrast to its American and Soviet counterparts. It is therefore not surprising that the first non-Soviet European in space was not an ESA astronaut on a European space craft; it was Czechoslovak Vladimír Remek who in 1978 became the first non-Soviet or American in space (the first man in space being Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union) – on a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft, followed by the Pole Mirosław Hermaszewski and East German Sigmund Jähn in the same year. This Soviet co-operation programme, known as Intercosmos, primarily involved the participation of Eastern bloc countries. In 1982, however, Jean-Loup Chrétien became the first non-Communist Bloc astronaut on a flight to the Soviet Salyut 7 space station.

    Because Chrétien did not officially fly into space as an ESA astronaut, but rather as a member of the French CNES astronaut corps, the German Ulf Merbold is considered the first ESA astronaut to fly into space. He participated in the STS-9 Space Shuttle mission that included the first use of the European-built Spacelab in 1983. STS-9 marked the beginning of an extensive ESA/NASA joint partnership that included dozens of space flights of ESA astronauts in the following years. Some of these missions with Spacelab were fully funded and organizationally and scientifically controlled by ESA (such as two missions by Germany and one by Japan) with European astronauts as full crew members rather than guests on board. Beside paying for Spacelab flights and seats on the shuttles, ESA continued its human space flight co-operation with the Soviet Union and later Russia, including numerous visits to Mir.

    During the latter half of the 1980s, European human space flights changed from being the exception to routine and therefore, in 1990, the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany was established. It selects and trains prospective astronauts and is responsible for the co-ordination with international partners, especially with regard to the International Space Station. As of 2006, the ESA astronaut corps officially included twelve members, including nationals from most large European countries except the United Kingdom.

    In the summer of 2008, ESA started to recruit new astronauts so that final selection would be due in spring 2009. Almost 10,000 people registered as astronaut candidates before registration ended in June 2008. 8,413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. Of the applicants, 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing, which narrowed down the field to 192. After two-stage psychological tests and medical evaluation in early 2009, as well as formal interviews, six new members of the European Astronaut Corps were selected – five men and one woman.

    Cooperation with other countries and organizations

    ESA has signed co-operation agreements with the following states that currently neither plan to integrate as tightly with ESA institutions as Canada, nor envision future membership of ESA: Argentina, Brazil, China, India (for the Chandrayan mission), Russia and Turkey.

    Additionally, ESA has joint projects with the European Union, NASA of the United States and is participating in the International Space Station together with the United States (NASA), Russia and Japan (JAXA).

    European Union
    ESA and EU member states
    ESA-only members
    EU-only members

    ESA is not an agency or body of the European Union (EU), and has non-EU countries (Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) as members. There are however ties between the two, with various agreements in place and being worked on, to define the legal status of ESA with regard to the EU.

    There are common goals between ESA and the EU. ESA has an EU liaison office in Brussels. On certain projects, the EU and ESA co-operate, such as the upcoming Galileo satellite navigation system. Space policy has since December 2009 been an area for voting in the European Council. Under the European Space Policy of 2007, the EU, ESA and its Member States committed themselves to increasing co-ordination of their activities and programmes and to organising their respective roles relating to space.

    The Lisbon Treaty of 2009 reinforces the case for space in Europe and strengthens the role of ESA as an R&D space agency. Article 189 of the Treaty gives the EU a mandate to elaborate a European space policy and take related measures, and provides that the EU should establish appropriate relations with ESA.

    Former Italian astronaut Umberto Guidoni, during his tenure as a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009, stressed the importance of the European Union as a driving force for space exploration, “…since other players are coming up such as India and China it is becoming ever more important that Europeans can have an independent access to space. We have to invest more into space research and technology in order to have an industry capable of competing with other international players.”

    The first EU-ESA International Conference on Human Space Exploration took place in Prague on 22 and 23 October 2009. A road map which would lead to a common vision and strategic planning in the area of space exploration was discussed. Ministers from all 29 EU and ESA members as well as members of parliament were in attendance.

    National space organisations of member states:

    The Centre National d’Études Spatiales(FR) (CNES) (National Centre for Space Study) is the French government space agency (administratively, a “public establishment of industrial and commercial character”). Its headquarters are in central Paris. CNES is the main participant on the Ariane project. Indeed, CNES designed and tested all Ariane family rockets (mainly from its centre in Évry near Paris)
    The UK Space Agency is a partnership of the UK government departments which are active in space. Through the UK Space Agency, the partners provide delegates to represent the UK on the various ESA governing bodies. Each partner funds its own programme.
    The Italian Space Agency A.S.I. – Agenzia Spaziale Italiana was founded in 1988 to promote, co-ordinate and conduct space activities in Italy. Operating under the Ministry of the Universities and of Scientific and Technological Research, the agency cooperates with numerous entities active in space technology and with the president of the Council of Ministers. Internationally, the ASI provides Italy’s delegation to the Council of the European Space Agency and to its subordinate bodies.
    The German Aerospace Center (DLR)[Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.] is the national research centre for aviation and space flight of the Federal Republic of Germany and of other member states in the Helmholtz Association. Its extensive research and development projects are included in national and international cooperative programmes. In addition to its research projects, the centre is the assigned space agency of Germany bestowing headquarters of German space flight activities and its associates.
    The Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA)(ES) (National Institute for Aerospace Technique) is a Public Research Organization specialised in aerospace research and technology development in Spain. Among other functions, it serves as a platform for space research and acts as a significant testing facility for the aeronautic and space sector in the country.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency

    ESA has a long history of collaboration with NASA. Since ESA’s astronaut corps was formed, the Space Shuttle has been the primary launch vehicle used by ESA’s astronauts to get into space through partnership programmes with NASA. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Spacelab programme was an ESA-NASA joint research programme that had ESA develop and manufacture orbital labs for the Space Shuttle for several flights on which ESA participate with astronauts in experiments.

    In robotic science mission and exploration missions, NASA has been ESA’s main partner. Cassini–Huygens was a joint NASA-ESA mission, along with the Infrared Space Observatory, INTEGRAL, SOHO, and others.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/ASI Italian Space Agency [Agenzia Spaziale Italiana](IT) Cassini Spacecraft.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Integral spacecraft

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation] (EU)/National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationSOHO satellite. Launched in 1995.

    Also, the Hubble Space Telescope is a joint project of NASA and ESA.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration/European Space Agency[La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Hubble Space Telescope

    Future ESA-NASA joint projects include the James Webb Space Telescope and the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation]Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA) James Webb Space Telescope annotated. Scheduled for launch in December 2021.

    Gravity is talking. Lisa will listen. Dialogos of Eide.

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration eLISA space based, the future of gravitational wave research.

    NASA has committed to provide support to ESA’s proposed MarcoPolo-R mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth for further analysis. NASA and ESA will also likely join together for a Mars Sample Return Mission. In October 2020 the ESA entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NASA to work together on the Artemis program, which will provide an orbiting lunar gateway and also accomplish the first manned lunar landing in 50 years, whose team will include the first woman on the Moon.

    NASA ARTEMIS spacecraft depiction.

    Cooperation with other space agencies

    Since China has started to invest more money into space activities, the Chinese Space Agency[中国国家航天局] (CN) has sought international partnerships. ESA is, beside, The Russian Federal Space Agency Государственная корпорация по космической деятельности «Роскосмос»](RU) one of its most important partners. Two space agencies cooperated in the development of the Double Star Mission. In 2017, ESA sent two astronauts to China for two weeks sea survival training with Chinese astronauts in Yantai, Shandong.

    ESA entered into a major joint venture with Russia in the form of the CSTS, the preparation of French Guiana spaceport for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets and other projects. With India, ESA agreed to send instruments into space aboard the ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. ESA is also co-operating with Japan, the most notable current project in collaboration with JAXA is the BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency [国立研究開発法人宇宙航空研究開発機構](JP) Bepicolumbo in flight illustration. Artist’s impression of BepiColombo – ESA’s first mission to Mercury. ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be operated from ESOC Germany.

    ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be operated from ESOC Germany.

    Speaking to reporters at an air show near Moscow in August 2011, ESA head Jean-Jacques Dordain said ESA and Russia’s Roskosmos space agency would “carry out the first flight to Mars together.”

     
  • richardmitnick 8:11 am on May 9, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Mystery Behind Magnetic Explosions Explained", , , , , Solar research   

    From Dartmouth College: “The Mystery Behind Magnetic Explosions Explained” 

    From Dartmouth College

    5/06/2022
    David Hirsch

    1
    Solar flares and coronal mass ejections are caused by “magnetic reconnection”—when magnetic field lines merge, rejoin, and snap apart. (Photo courtesy of NASA Goddard Conceptual Image Laboratory)

    Space enthusiasts and just about anybody who manages a power grid, an orbiting satellite, or a radio communications network has had their attention fixed on the sun since NASA reported “significant” solar flare activity last month. Yi-Hsin Liu, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy who recently published research on the physics behind solar flares, is among them.

    “The snapping of magnetic lines forces out magnetized plasma at high speeds,” Liu says in describing the natural forces at play. “This is a magnetic tension force similar to that which ejects objects from slingshots, just on a scale many times the size of Earth.”

    2
    Yi-Hsin Liu’s research explains the forces behind solar flares and other magnetic explosions. Photo by Robert Gill.

    Plasma is the fourth state of matter, along with solids, liquids, and gas. It consists of charged particles and fills most of the visible universe. These charged particles stream along magnetic field lines surrounding the sun and Earth, like the movement of cars in lanes of traffic.

    The solar flares and coronal mass ejections that have captured recent attention are giant bursts of energy caused when magnetic field lines merge and whip apart. Energy from the explosions can travel the 94-million-mile expanse between the sun and Earth within a day and can cause broadcast interference and power outages such as a provincewide blackout in Quebec in 1989.

    “Magnetic reconnection causes explosions that release massive amounts of energy,” says Liu.

    The fundamentals of magnetic reconnection are well known.

    The process takes place when magnetic field lines are drawn toward each other, break apart, rejoin, and then violently snap away. But researchers have struggled for more than a half-century to explain the precise physics behind the rapid release of energy.

    Liu’s study was published in Communications Physics only a few weeks after the April light show began erupting on the sun.

    It provides the first theoretical description of how a phenomenon known as the “Hall effect”—which describes the interaction between electric currents and the magnetic fields that surround them—determines the efficiency of magnetic reconnection.

    The theoretical paper focuses on the “reconnection rate problem”—identifying the mechanisms that determine the speed at which the lines converge and pull apart.

    Co-authored by Xiaocan Li, a postdoctoral researcher, and Shan-Chang Lin, Guarini ’24, the study shows that the conversion of energy from the magnetic field to plasma particles is suppressed by the Hall effect. The pressure at the point where the lines merge is limited. That forces them to curve and pinch, resulting in a geometry that speeds the reconnection process.

    The research team, funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA, is working alongside NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS), which analyzes magnetic reconnection in space using four satellites flying in tight formation around Earth’s magnetosphere. Data from the instruments will be used to validate Liu’s theoretical finding.

    According to Liu, who serves as deputy lead of MMS’ theory and modeling team, magnetic reconnection in near space or distant space can significantly impact everyday life on Earth. This was made clear by the space weather and electrical disturbances caused by the sun’s recent flare activity.

    Liu’s research on magnetic reconnection has strong ties to previous Dartmouth research. Bengt Sonnerup, the Sydney E. Junkins 1887 Professor of Engineering Emeritus at Thayer School of Engineering, is credited with being the first researcher to point out the potential importance of the Hall effect during reconnection in space plasmas.

    “Yi-Hsin’s new work represents a great leap forward in our understanding of the process,” says Sonnerup, who first wrote about the Hall effect in 1961 and conducted an analysis of the reconnection process at Dartmouth in 1979.

    The new theory could further the technical understanding of solar flares and coronal mass ejection events such as those that have captivated researchers in recent weeks. It can also inform studies of geomagnetic substorms, the solar winds, and plasmas near neutron stars and black holes.

    Although there is no current applied use, some researchers have considered the possibility of using magnetic reconnection in spacecraft thrusters.

    “After decades of effort, we now have a full theory to address this long-standing problem of what drives the speed of some of the most explosive spectacles in nature,” says Liu.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Dartmouth College campus

    Dartmouth Collegeis a private, Ivy League, research university in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States. Incorporated as the “Trustees of Dartmouth College”, it is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution. Dartmouth College was established in 1769 by Eleazar Wheelock, a Congregational minister. After a long period of financial and political struggles, Dartmouth emerged in the early 20th century from relative obscurity, into national prominence.

    Comprising an undergraduate population of 4,307 and a total student enrollment of 6,350 (as of 2016), Dartmouth is the smallest university in the Ivy League. Its undergraduate program, which reported an acceptance rate around 10 percent for the class of 2020, is characterized by the Carnegie Foundation and U.S. News & World Report as “most selective”. Dartmouth offers a broad range of academic departments, an extensive research enterprise, numerous community outreach and public service programs, and the highest rate of study abroad participation in the Ivy League.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:15 pm on May 6, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "First Rays of Sunlight for Sunrise III at the Arctic Circle", In the chromosphere an enormous temperature jump takes place: from the comparatively moderate 6000 degrees Celsius at the surface up to 20000 degrees Celsius., Processes in the chromosphere-the highly dynamic layer between the visible surface and the outer atmosphere of the Sun-will become visible more precisely than ever before., Solar research, The ballon-borne solar observatory Sunrise III, , The Sun's chromosphere lies between its visible surface and its outer atmosphere-the corona.   

    From The MPG Institute for Solar System Research [MPG Institut für Sonnensystemforschung](DE): “First Rays of Sunlight for Sunrise III at the Arctic Circle” 

    From The MPG Institute for Solar System Research [MPG Institut für Sonnensystemforschung](DE)

    May 05, 2022

    Contact
    Dr. Birgit Krummheuer
    Media and Public Relations
    +49 173 3958625
    Krummheuer@mps.mpg.de
    Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen

    Prof. Dr. Sami K. Solanki
    Sunrise III Principal Investigator,
    Director
    +49 551 384979-325
    solanki-office@mps.mpg.de
    Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen

    Dr. Andreas Korpi-Lagg
    Sunrise III project manager
    +49 551 384969-465
    Lagg@mps.mpg.de
    Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen

    The ballon-borne solar observatory Sunrise III has reached an important milestone: First Light at the launch site in Sweden. The launch itself is scheduled for June.

    Approximately a month before it begins its research flight in the stratosphere, the balloon-borne solar observatory Sunrise III has looked at the Sun for the first time from its launch site at the Arctic Circle. In June, Sunrise III will take off from Esrange Space Center, the Swedish Space Agency’s (SSC) balloon and rocket base in Kiruna (Sweden), and will climb to an altitude of about 35 kilometers. During its flight of several days, it will then take unique measurements of the Sun. In this way, processes in the chromosphere, the highly dynamic layer between the visible surface and the outer atmosphere of the Sun, will become visible more precisely than ever before. In the remaining weeks until launch, the technical and scientific teams from Germany, Spain, Japan, and the USA will prepare all systems and the scientific instruments for their mission and rehearse flight procedures and operations.

    1
    First Light for the balloon-borne solar observatory Sunrise III. © MPS (A. Gandorfer)

    Since the beginning of April, Esrange Space Center in Kiruna (Sweden) has been the scene of the final preparations for the flight of Sunrise III. Disassembled into individual parts, all the hardware, including the gondola, the solar telescope, and the scientific instruments, had traveled there by truck from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Göttingen (Germany). The MPS is leading the mission. Since then, the icy temperatures of down to -15 degrees Celsius and driving snow that prevailed upon arrival have given way to more tolerable conditions. The so-called “First Light,” Sunrise III’s first glimpse of the Sun, took place at temperatures around freezing.

    “Launching from the Arctic Circle involves a considerable logistical effort,” says Sunrise III project manager and MPS scientist Dr. Andreas Korpi-Lagg, looking back on the last few months. But for the scientific success of the mission, the remote launch site in the far north is crucial. Since the Sun does not set beyond the Arctic Circle in summer, Sunrise III can record observational data around the clock during its flight. On the ground, researchers studying the Sun find the best viewing conditions in places such as Hawaii, the Canary Islands, and the U.S. Southwest. But there, even during the best observation season, usually in early summer, measurements are typically limited to a few hours a day.

    Another of Sunrise III’s advantages is its observing altitude. At launch, a huge helium-filled balloon lifts the six-meter-high observatory into the stratosphere to a height of approximately 35 kilometers. The wind then carries both westward. At this altitude, which almost marks the transition to space, the atmosphere is so thin that air turbulence does not obscure the view. In addition, Sunrise III has access to the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation, most of which is absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere. “Only probes in space offer better observational conditions,” says Sunrise III Principal Investigator Prof. Dr. Sami Solanki, director at the MPS.

    Carried by crane

    During the First Light in Kiruna, Sunrise III remained on the ground. The milestone does not primarily provide scientifically meaningful data from the Sun, but rather the opportunity to test and calibrate all systems with natural sunlight. Carefully, the crane in the large hall, that serves as Sunrise III’ “home” at Esrange Space Center, lifts the six-ton observatory a few centimeters off the ground. The hall door opens. For the first time, the gondola automatically aligns itself with the Sun – just as it will during the research flight. Rays of sunlight fall into the telescope and from there reach the scientific instruments and the image stabilization system. In front of their computer screens deeper in the hall, the scienctific and engineering teams monitor how the systems respond.

    Sunrise III is equipped with three scientific instruments. Together, they provide comprehensive observational data from the region just below the Sun’s visible surface to the upper chromosphere, about 2,000 kilometers above. They capture infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light from this region, thus making it possible to visualize dynamic processes and magnetic fields. In addition, Sunrise III contains a sophisticated image stabilization system. It ensures that the observatory records highly precise data even on the wobbling balloon. If a target shooter wanted to shoot similarly “wobble-free,” he would have to hold his equipment so steady that the shot is deflected by no more than the thickness of a hair over a distance of seven kilometers.

    Intermediate layer with huge temperature jump

    The Sun’s chromosphere lies between its visible surface and its outer atmosphere, the corona. In this connecting layer, an enormous temperature jump takes place: from the comparatively moderate 6000 degrees Celsius at the surface up to 20,000 degrees Celsius. In the layers above, temperatures then rise to as much as a million degrees Celsius. “Even after decades of modern solar research, the chromosphere is still mysterious,” Solanki says. “A multitude of processes that we don’t yet fully understand occur in the chromosphere and supply the corona with energy,” he adds. In concert, these processes not only generate the incredibly high temperatures of the corona, but also facilitate the violent eruptions in which the Sun repeatedly hurls particles and radiation into space.

    The observational data from Sunrise III will provide the best altitude resolution yet from the chromosphere: more precisely than ever before, will it be possible to assign individual processes to an exact altitude above the solar surface. “With Sunrise III, we will be able to track processes in the chromosphere better than ever before,” says Sunrise III project scientist Dr. Achim Gandorfer.

    Several weeks will pass before Sunrise III’s adventurous flight will begin and the observatory will collect its first data. During this time, all systems will be commissioned and in-flight procedures will be practiced. “The flight will only last a few days. Everything has to work smoothly right from the start,” Korpi-Lagg says. Depending on the wind speed, Sunrise III will reach the uninhabited regions of northeastern Canada after about five to seven days. There, the observatory will land by parachute.


    How we explore the Sun: The Sunrise III Mission in 2022.
    In cleanrooms and laboratories, preparations for the flight have been underway for more than four years.

    The exact launch date, however, is determined by the weather. If there is precipitation, Sunrise III cannot take off; calm winds are also required. “Our preparations are going according to plan. We will be ready to launch in early June,” Korpi-Lagg said. The final phase of the adventure has begun.

    The balloon-borne solar observatory Sunrise III is a mission of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS, Germany) and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL, USA). Sunrise III looks at the Sun from the stratosphere using a 1-meter telescope, three scientific instruments, and an image stabilization system. Significant contributors to the mission are a Spanish consortium, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ, Japan), and the Leibniz Institute for Solar Physics (KIS, Germany). The Spanish consortium is led by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA, Spain) and includes the Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA), Universitat de València (UV), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC). Other partners include NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility Balloon Program Office (WFF-BPO) and the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC). Sunrise III is supported by funding from the Max Planck Foundation, NASA under Grant #80NSSC18K0934, Spanish FEDER/AEI/MCIU (RTI2018-096886-C5) and a “Center of Excellence Severo Ochoa” award to IAA-CSIC (SEV-2017-0709), and the ISAS/JAXA Small Mission-of-Opportunity program and JSPS KAKENHI JP18H05234.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The MPG Institute for Solar System Research [MPG Institut für Sonnensystemforschung] (DE) has had an eventful history – with several moves, changes of name, and structural developments. The first prototype of the current institute was founded in 1934 in Mecklenburg; it moved to Katlenburg-Lindau in 1946. Not just the location of the buildings changed – the topic of research also moved, from Earth to outer space. In the first decades the focus of research was the stratosphere and ionosphere of the Earth, but since 1997 the institute exclusively researches the physics of planets and the Sun. In January 2014 the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research has relocated to it’s new home: a new building in Göttingen close to the Northern Campus of the University of Göttingen [Georg-August-Universität Göttingen] (DE).

     
  • richardmitnick 2:01 pm on April 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A roadmap for deepening understanding of a puzzling universal process", , , , , Solar research,   

    From The DOE’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory: “A roadmap for deepening understanding of a puzzling universal process” 

    From The DOE’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    at

    Princeton University

    Princeton University

    April 22, 2022
    John Greenwald

    1
    Physicist Hantao Ji with figures from magnetic reconnection paper. (Photo by Elle Starkman/PPPL Office of Communications; collage by Kiran Sudarsanan.)

    A puzzling process called magnetic reconnection triggers explosive phenomena throughout the universe, creating solar flares and space storms that can take down mobile phone service and electrical power grids. Now scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have detailed a roadmap for untangling a key aspect of this puzzle that could deepen insight into the workings of the cosmos.

    Reconnection converts the magnetic field energy to particle eruptions in astrophysical plasmas by snapping apart and explosively reconnecting the magnetic field lines — a process that occurs within what are called dissipation regions that are often enormously smaller than the regions they impact.

    Stressed magnetic field

    “Plasma doesn’t like reconnection,” said Hantao Ji, a PPPL physicist and Princeton University professor who is first author of a paper that details the roadmap in Nature Reviews Physics. “However, reconnection does happen when the magnetic field is sufficiently stressed,” he said.

    “Dissipation scales are tiny whereas astrophysical scales are very large and can extend for millions of miles. Finding a way to bridge these scales through a multiscale mechanism is a key to solving the reconnection puzzle.”

    The roadmap outlines the role of developing technologies with multiscale capabilities such as the Facility for Laboratory Reconnection Experiment (FLARE), a recently installed collaborative facility that is being upgraded and will probe facets of magnetic reconnection never before accessible to laboratory experiments. Complementing these experiments will be simulations on coming exascale supercomputers that will be 10 times faster than current computers. “The hope is for FLARE and exascale computing to go hand-in-hand,” Ji said.

    The working theory the PPPL roadmap proposes is that multiple plasmoids, or magnetic islands, that arise from reconnection along lengthy plasma current sheets could bridge the vast range of scales. Such plasmoids would correspond more closely to the affected reconnection region, with multiscale laboratory experiments planned to provide the first tests of this theory and to evaluate competing hypotheses.

    “Exascale will allow us to do more credible simulations based on high-fidelity FLARE experiments,” said PPPL physicist Jongsoo Yoo, a coauthor of the paper. The increased size and power of the new machine — its diameter will be twice that of the sports-utility-vehicle-sized Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX), PPPL’s long-standing laboratory experiment — and will enable scientists to replicate reconnection in nature more faithfully.

    “FLARE can access wider astrophysical regimes than MRX with multiple reconnection points and measure the field geometry during reconnection,” said William Daughton, a computational scientist at The DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory and a coauthor of the paper. “Understanding this physics is important for predicting how reconnection proceeds in solar flares,” he said.

    Key challenge

    A key challenge to the coming experiments will be innovating new high-resolution diagnostic systems free from restrictive assumptions. Once developed these systems will enable FLARE to build upon satellite sightings such as those produced by the Magnetospheric Multiscale mission, a fleet of four spacecraft launched in 2015 to study reconnection in the magnetosphere, the magnetic field that surrounds the Earth.

    “Progress in understanding multiscale physics critically depends on innovation and efficient implementation of such diagnostics systems in the coming decade,” the paper said. The new findings will address open questions that include:

    • How exactly does reconnection start?

    • How are explosive plasma particles heated and accelerated?

    • What role does reconnection play in related processes such as turbulence and space shocks?

    Overall, “The paper lays out plans to provide the entire space physics and astrophysics communities with methods to solve the multiscale problem,” Yoo said. Such a solution would mark a major step toward a more complete understanding of magnetic reconnection in large systems throughout the universe.

    See the full article here .


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


    Stem Education Coalition

    The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University. PPPL, on Princeton University’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. Results of PPPL research have ranged from a portable nuclear materials detector for anti-terrorist use to universally employed computer codes for analyzing and predicting the outcome of fusion experiments. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit https://energy.gov/science.

    Princeton University

    Princeton University

    About Princeton: Overview

    Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey(US). Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The institution moved to Newark in 1747, then to the current site nine years later. It was renamed Princeton University in 1896.

    Princeton provides undergraduate and graduate instruction in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. It offers professional degrees through the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Architecture and the Bendheim Center for Finance. The university also manages the DOE’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. Princeton has the largest endowment per student in the United States.

    As of October 2020, 69 Nobel laureates, 15 Fields Medalists and 14 Turing Award laureates have been affiliated with Princeton University as alumni, faculty members or researchers. In addition, Princeton has been associated with 21 National Medal of Science winners, 5 Abel Prize winners, 5 National Humanities Medal recipients, 215 Rhodes Scholars, 139 Gates Cambridge Scholars and 137 Marshall Scholars. Two U.S. Presidents, twelve U.S. Supreme Court Justices (three of whom currently serve on the court) and numerous living billionaires and foreign heads of state are all counted among Princeton’s alumni body. Princeton has also graduated many prominent members of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Cabinet, including eight Secretaries of State, three Secretaries of Defense and the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    Princeton University, founded as the College of New Jersey, was considered the successor of the “Log College” founded by the Reverend William Tennent at Neshaminy, PA in about 1726. New Light Presbyterians founded the College of New Jersey in 1746 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Its purpose was to train ministers. The college was the educational and religious capital of Scottish Presbyterian America. Unlike Harvard University, which was originally “intensely English” with graduates taking the side of the crown during the American Revolution, Princeton was founded to meet the religious needs of the period and many of its graduates took the American side in the war. In 1754, trustees of the College of New Jersey suggested that, in recognition of Governor Jonathan Belcher’s interest, Princeton should be named as Belcher College. Belcher replied: “What a name that would be!” In 1756, the college moved its campus to Princeton, New Jersey. Its home in Princeton was Nassau Hall, named for the royal House of Orange-Nassau of William III of England.

    Following the untimely deaths of Princeton’s first five presidents, John Witherspoon became president in 1768 and remained in that post until his death in 1794. During his presidency, Witherspoon shifted the college’s focus from training ministers to preparing a new generation for secular leadership in the new American nation. To this end, he tightened academic standards and solicited investment in the college. Witherspoon’s presidency constituted a long period of stability for the college, interrupted by the American Revolution and particularly the Battle of Princeton, during which British soldiers briefly occupied Nassau Hall; American forces, led by George Washington, fired cannon on the building to rout them from it.

    In 1812, the eighth president of the College of New Jersey, Ashbel Green (1812–23), helped establish the Princeton Theological Seminary next door. The plan to extend the theological curriculum met with “enthusiastic approval on the part of the authorities at the College of New Jersey.” Today, Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary maintain separate institutions with ties that include services such as cross-registration and mutual library access.

    Before the construction of Stanhope Hall in 1803, Nassau Hall was the college’s sole building. The cornerstone of the building was laid on September 17, 1754. During the summer of 1783, the Continental Congress met in Nassau Hall, making Princeton the country’s capital for four months. Over the centuries and through two redesigns following major fires (1802 and 1855), Nassau Hall’s role shifted from an all-purpose building, comprising office, dormitory, library, and classroom space; to classroom space exclusively; to its present role as the administrative center of the University. The class of 1879 donated twin lion sculptures that flanked the entrance until 1911, when that same class replaced them with tigers. Nassau Hall’s bell rang after the hall’s construction; however, the fire of 1802 melted it. The bell was then recast and melted again in the fire of 1855.

    James McCosh became the college’s president in 1868 and lifted the institution out of a low period that had been brought about by the American Civil War. During his two decades of service, he overhauled the curriculum, oversaw an expansion of inquiry into the sciences, and supervised the addition of a number of buildings in the High Victorian Gothic style to the campus. McCosh Hall is named in his honor.

    In 1879, the first thesis for a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) was submitted by James F. Williamson, Class of 1877.

    In 1896, the college officially changed its name from the College of New Jersey to Princeton University to honor the town in which it resides. During this year, the college also underwent large expansion and officially became a university. In 1900, the Graduate School was established.

    In 1902, Woodrow Wilson, graduate of the Class of 1879, was elected the 13th president of the university. Under Wilson, Princeton introduced the preceptorial system in 1905, a then-unique concept in the United States that augmented the standard lecture method of teaching with a more personal form in which small groups of students, or precepts, could interact with a single instructor, or preceptor, in their field of interest.

    In 1906, the reservoir Carnegie Lake was created by Andrew Carnegie. A collection of historical photographs of the building of the lake is housed at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library on Princeton’s campus. On October 2, 1913, the Princeton University Graduate College was dedicated. In 1919 the School of Architecture was established. In 1933, Albert Einstein became a lifetime member of the Institute for Advanced Study with an office on the Princeton campus. While always independent of the university, the Institute for Advanced Study occupied offices in Jones Hall for 6 years, from its opening in 1933, until its own campus was finished and opened in 1939.

    Coeducation

    In 1969, Princeton University first admitted women as undergraduates. In 1887, the university actually maintained and staffed a sister college, Evelyn College for Women, in the town of Princeton on Evelyn and Nassau streets. It was closed after roughly a decade of operation. After abortive discussions with Sarah Lawrence College to relocate the women’s college to Princeton and merge it with the University in 1967, the administration decided to admit women and turned to the issue of transforming the school’s operations and facilities into a female-friendly campus. The administration had barely finished these plans in April 1969 when the admissions office began mailing out its acceptance letters. Its five-year coeducation plan provided $7.8 million for the development of new facilities that would eventually house and educate 650 women students at Princeton by 1974. Ultimately, 148 women, consisting of 100 freshmen and transfer students of other years, entered Princeton on September 6, 1969 amidst much media attention. Princeton enrolled its first female graduate student, Sabra Follett Meservey, as a PhD candidate in Turkish history in 1961. A handful of undergraduate women had studied at Princeton from 1963 on, spending their junior year there to study “critical languages” in which Princeton’s offerings surpassed those of their home institutions. They were considered regular students for their year on campus, but were not candidates for a Princeton degree.

    As a result of a 1979 lawsuit by Sally Frank, Princeton’s eating clubs were required to go coeducational in 1991, after Tiger Inn’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied. In 1987, the university changed the gendered lyrics of “Old Nassau” to reflect the school’s co-educational student body. From 2009 to 2011, Princeton professor Nannerl O. Keohane chaired a committee on undergraduate women’s leadership at the university, appointed by President Shirley M. Tilghman.

    The main campus sits on about 500 acres (2.0 km^2) in Princeton. In 2011, the main campus was named by Travel+Leisure as one of the most beautiful in the United States. The James Forrestal Campus is split between nearby Plainsboro and South Brunswick. The University also owns some property in West Windsor Township. The campuses are situated about one hour from both New York City and Philadelphia.

    The first building on campus was Nassau Hall, completed in 1756 and situated on the northern edge of campus facing Nassau Street. The campus expanded steadily around Nassau Hall during the early and middle 19th century. The McCosh presidency (1868–88) saw the construction of a number of buildings in the High Victorian Gothic and Romanesque Revival styles; many of them are now gone, leaving the remaining few to appear out of place. At the end of the 19th century much of Princeton’s architecture was designed by the Cope and Stewardson firm (same architects who designed a large part of Washington University in St Louis and University of Pennsylvania) resulting in the Collegiate Gothic style for which it is known today. Implemented initially by William Appleton Potter and later enforced by the University’s supervising architect, Ralph Adams Cram, the Collegiate Gothic style remained the standard for all new building on the Princeton campus through 1960. A flurry of construction in the 1960s produced a number of new buildings on the south side of the main campus, many of which have been poorly received. Several prominent architects have contributed some more recent additions, including Frank Gehry (Lewis Library), I. M. Pei (Spelman Halls), Demetri Porphyrios (Whitman College, a Collegiate Gothic project), Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown (Frist Campus Center, among several others), and Rafael Viñoly (Carl Icahn Laboratory).

    A group of 20th-century sculptures scattered throughout the campus forms the Putnam Collection of Sculpture. It includes works by Alexander Calder (Five Disks: One Empty), Jacob Epstein (Albert Einstein), Henry Moore (Oval with Points), Isamu Noguchi (White Sun), and Pablo Picasso (Head of a Woman). Richard Serra’s The Hedgehog and The Fox is located between Peyton and Fine halls next to Princeton Stadium and the Lewis Library.

    At the southern edge of the campus is Carnegie Lake, an artificial lake named for Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie financed the lake’s construction in 1906 at the behest of a friend who was a Princeton alumnus. Carnegie hoped the opportunity to take up rowing would inspire Princeton students to forsake football, which he considered “not gentlemanly.” The Shea Rowing Center on the lake’s shore continues to serve as the headquarters for Princeton rowing.

    Cannon Green

    Buried in the ground at the center of the lawn south of Nassau Hall is the “Big Cannon,” which was left in Princeton by British troops as they fled following the Battle of Princeton. It remained in Princeton until the War of 1812, when it was taken to New Brunswick. In 1836 the cannon was returned to Princeton and placed at the eastern end of town. It was removed to the campus under cover of night by Princeton students in 1838 and buried in its current location in 1840.

    A second “Little Cannon” is buried in the lawn in front of nearby Whig Hall. This cannon, which may also have been captured in the Battle of Princeton, was stolen by students of Rutgers University in 1875. The theft ignited the Rutgers-Princeton Cannon War. A compromise between the presidents of Princeton and Rutgers ended the war and forced the return of the Little Cannon to Princeton. The protruding cannons are occasionally painted scarlet by Rutgers students who continue the traditional dispute.

    In years when the Princeton football team beats the teams of both Harvard University and Yale University in the same season, Princeton celebrates with a bonfire on Cannon Green. This occurred in 2012, ending a five-year drought. The next bonfire happened on November 24, 2013, and was broadcast live over the Internet.

    Landscape

    Princeton’s grounds were designed by Beatrix Farrand between 1912 and 1943. Her contributions were most recently recognized with the naming of a courtyard for her. Subsequent changes to the landscape were introduced by Quennell Rothschild & Partners in 2000. In 2005, Michael Van Valkenburgh was hired as the new consulting landscape architect for the campus. Lynden B. Miller was invited to work with him as Princeton’s consulting gardening architect, focusing on the 17 gardens that are distributed throughout the campus.

    Buildings

    Nassau Hall

    Nassau Hall is the oldest building on campus. Begun in 1754 and completed in 1756, it was the first seat of the New Jersey Legislature in 1776, was involved in the battle of Princeton in 1777, and was the seat of the Congress of the Confederation (and thus capitol of the United States) from June 30, 1783, to November 4, 1783. It now houses the office of the university president and other administrative offices, and remains the symbolic center of the campus. The front entrance is flanked by two bronze tigers, a gift of the Princeton Class of 1879. Commencement is held on the front lawn of Nassau Hall in good weather. In 1966, Nassau Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

    Residential colleges

    Princeton has six undergraduate residential colleges, each housing approximately 500 freshmen, sophomores, some juniors and seniors, and a handful of junior and senior resident advisers. Each college consists of a set of dormitories, a dining hall, a variety of other amenities—such as study spaces, libraries, performance spaces, and darkrooms—and a collection of administrators and associated faculty. Two colleges, First College and Forbes College (formerly Woodrow Wilson College and Princeton Inn College, respectively), date to the 1970s; three others, Rockefeller, Mathey, and Butler Colleges, were created in 1983 following the Committee on Undergraduate Residential Life (CURL) report, which suggested the institution of residential colleges as a solution to an allegedly fragmented campus social life. The construction of Whitman College, the university’s sixth residential college, was completed in 2007.

    Rockefeller and Mathey are located in the northwest corner of the campus; Princeton brochures often feature their Collegiate Gothic architecture. Like most of Princeton’s Gothic buildings, they predate the residential college system and were fashioned into colleges from individual dormitories.

    First and Butler, located south of the center of the campus, were built in the 1960s. First served as an early experiment in the establishment of the residential college system. Butler, like Rockefeller and Mathey, consisted of a collection of ordinary dorms (called the “New New Quad”) before the addition of a dining hall made it a residential college. Widely disliked for their edgy modernist design, including “waffle ceilings,” the dormitories on the Butler Quad were demolished in 2007. Butler is now reopened as a four-year residential college, housing both under- and upperclassmen.

    Forbes is located on the site of the historic Princeton Inn, a gracious hotel overlooking the Princeton golf course. The Princeton Inn, originally constructed in 1924, played regular host to important symposia and gatherings of renowned scholars from both the university and the nearby Institute for Advanced Study for many years. Forbes currently houses nearly 500 undergraduates in its residential halls.

    In 2003, Princeton broke ground for a sixth college named Whitman College after its principal sponsor, Meg Whitman, who graduated from Princeton in 1977. The new dormitories were constructed in the Collegiate Gothic architectural style and were designed by architect Demetri Porphyrios. Construction finished in 2007, and Whitman College was inaugurated as Princeton’s sixth residential college that same year.

    The precursor of the present college system in America was originally proposed by university president Woodrow Wilson in the early 20th century. For over 800 years, however, the collegiate system had already existed in Britain at University of Cambridge (UK) and University of Oxford (UK). Wilson’s model was much closer to Yale University’s present system, which features four-year colleges. Lacking the support of the trustees, the plan languished until 1968. That year, Wilson College was established to cap a series of alternatives to the eating clubs. Fierce debates raged before the present residential college system emerged. The plan was first attempted at Yale, but the administration was initially uninterested; an exasperated alumnus, Edward Harkness, finally paid to have the college system implemented at Harvard in the 1920s, leading to the oft-quoted aphorism that the college system is a Princeton idea that was executed at Harvard with funding from Yale.

    Princeton has one graduate residential college, known simply as the Graduate College, located beyond Forbes College at the outskirts of campus. The far-flung location of the GC was the spoil of a squabble between Woodrow Wilson and then-Graduate School Dean Andrew Fleming West. Wilson preferred a central location for the college; West wanted the graduate students as far as possible from the campus. Ultimately, West prevailed. The Graduate College is composed of a large Collegiate Gothic section crowned by Cleveland Tower, a local landmark that also houses a world-class carillon. The attached New Graduate College provides a modern contrast in architectural style.

    McCarter Theatre

    The Tony-award-winning McCarter Theatre was built by the Princeton Triangle Club, a student performance group, using club profits and a gift from Princeton University alumnus Thomas McCarter. Today, the Triangle Club performs its annual freshmen revue, fall show, and Reunions performances in McCarter. McCarter is also recognized as one of the leading regional theaters in the United States.

    Art Museum

    The Princeton University Art Museum was established in 1882 to give students direct, intimate, and sustained access to original works of art that complement and enrich instruction and research at the university. This continues to be a primary function, along with serving as a community resource and a destination for national and international visitors.

    Numbering over 92,000 objects, the collections range from ancient to contemporary art and concentrate geographically on the Mediterranean regions, Western Europe, China, the United States, and Latin America. There is a collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, including ceramics, marbles, bronzes, and Roman mosaics from faculty excavations in Antioch. Medieval Europe is represented by sculpture, metalwork, and stained glass. The collection of Western European paintings includes examples from the early Renaissance through the 19th century, with masterpieces by Monet, Cézanne, and Van Gogh, and features a growing collection of 20th-century and contemporary art, including iconic paintings such as Andy Warhol’s Blue Marilyn.

    One of the best features of the museums is its collection of Chinese art, with important holdings in bronzes, tomb figurines, painting, and calligraphy. Its collection of pre-Columbian art includes examples of Mayan art, and is commonly considered to be the most important collection of pre-Columbian art outside of Latin America. The museum has collections of old master prints and drawings and a comprehensive collection of over 27,000 original photographs. African art and Northwest Coast Indian art are also represented. The Museum also oversees the outdoor Putnam Collection of Sculpture.

    University Chapel

    The Princeton University Chapel is located on the north side of campus, near Nassau Street. It was built between 1924 and 1928, at a cost of $2.3 million [approximately $34.2 million in 2020 dollars]. Ralph Adams Cram, the University’s supervising architect, designed the chapel, which he viewed as the crown jewel for the Collegiate Gothic motif he had championed for the campus. At the time of its construction, it was the second largest university chapel in the world, after King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. It underwent a two-year, $10 million restoration campaign between 2000 and 2002.

    Measured on the exterior, the chapel is 277 feet (84 m) long, 76 feet (23 m) wide at its transepts, and 121 feet (37 m) high. The exterior is Pennsylvania sandstone, with Indiana limestone used for the trim. The interior is mostly limestone and Aquia Creek sandstone. The design evokes an English church of the Middle Ages. The extensive iconography, in stained glass, stonework, and wood carvings, has the common theme of connecting religion and scholarship.

    The Chapel seats almost 2,000. It hosts weekly ecumenical Christian services, daily Roman Catholic mass, and several annual special events.

    Murray-Dodge Hall

    Murray-Dodge Hall houses the Office of Religious Life (ORL), the Murray Dodge Theater, the Murray-Dodge Café, the Muslim Prayer Room and the Interfaith Prayer Room. The ORL houses the office of the Dean of Religious Life, Alison Boden, and a number of university chaplains, including the country’s first Hindu chaplain, Vineet Chander; and one of the country’s first Muslim chaplains, Sohaib Sultan.

    Sustainability

    Published in 2008, Princeton’s Sustainability Plan highlights three priority areas for the University’s Office of Sustainability: reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; conservation of resources; and research, education, and civic engagement. Princeton has committed to reducing its carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020: Energy without the purchase of offsets. The University published its first Sustainability Progress Report in November 2009. The University has adopted a green purchasing policy and recycling program that focuses on paper products, construction materials, lightbulbs, furniture, and electronics. Its dining halls have set a goal to purchase 75% sustainable food products by 2015. The student organization “Greening Princeton” seeks to encourage the University administration to adopt environmentally friendly policies on campus.

    Organization

    The Trustees of Princeton University, a 40-member board, is responsible for the overall direction of the University. It approves the operating and capital budgets, supervises the investment of the University’s endowment and oversees campus real estate and long-range physical planning. The trustees also exercise prior review and approval concerning changes in major policies, such as those in instructional programs and admission, as well as tuition and fees and the hiring of faculty members.

    With an endowment of $26.1 billion, Princeton University is among the wealthiest universities in the world. Ranked in 2010 as the third largest endowment in the United States, the university had the greatest per-student endowment in the world (over $2 million for undergraduates) in 2011. Such a significant endowment is sustained through the continued donations of its alumni and is maintained by investment advisers. Some of Princeton’s wealth is invested in its art museum, which features works by Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol among other prominent artists.

    Academics

    Undergraduates fulfill general education requirements, choose among a wide variety of elective courses, and pursue departmental concentrations and interdisciplinary certificate programs. Required independent work is a hallmark of undergraduate education at Princeton. Students graduate with either the Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) or the Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.).

    The graduate school offers advanced degrees spanning the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. Doctoral education is available in most disciplines. It emphasizes original and independent scholarship whereas master’s degree programs in architecture, engineering, finance, and public affairs and public policy prepare candidates for careers in public life and professional practice.

    The university has ties with the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton Theological Seminary and the Westminster Choir College of Rider University.

    Undergraduate

    Undergraduate courses in the humanities are traditionally either seminars or lectures held 2 or 3 times a week with an additional discussion seminar that is called a “precept.” To graduate, all A.B. candidates must complete a senior thesis and, in most departments, one or two extensive pieces of independent research that are known as “junior papers.” Juniors in some departments, including architecture and the creative arts, complete independent projects that differ from written research papers. A.B. candidates must also fulfill a three or four semester foreign language requirement and distribution requirements (which include, for example, classes in ethics, literature and the arts, and historical analysis) with a total of 31 classes. B.S.E. candidates follow a parallel track with an emphasis on a rigorous science and math curriculum, a computer science requirement, and at least two semesters of independent research including an optional senior thesis. All B.S.E. students must complete at least 36 classes. A.B. candidates typically have more freedom in course selection than B.S.E. candidates because of the fewer number of required classes. Nonetheless, in the spirit of a liberal arts education, both enjoy a comparatively high degree of latitude in creating a self-structured curriculum.

    Undergraduates agree to adhere to an academic integrity policy called the Honor Code, established in 1893. Under the Honor Code, faculty do not proctor examinations; instead, the students proctor one another and must report any suspected violation to an Honor Committee made up of undergraduates. The Committee investigates reported violations and holds a hearing if it is warranted. An acquittal at such a hearing results in the destruction of all records of the hearing; a conviction results in the student’s suspension or expulsion. The signed pledge required by the Honor Code is so integral to students’ academic experience that the Princeton Triangle Club performs a song about it each fall. Out-of-class exercises fall under the jurisdiction of the Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline. Undergraduates are expected to sign a pledge on their written work affirming that they have not plagiarized the work.

    Graduate

    The Graduate School has about 2,600 students in 42 academic departments and programs in social sciences; engineering; natural sciences; and humanities. These departments include the Department of Psychology; Department of History; and Department of Economics.

    In 2017–2018, it received nearly 11,000 applications for admission and accepted around 1,000 applicants. The University also awarded 319 Ph.D. degrees and 170 final master’s degrees. Princeton has no medical school, law school, business school, or school of education. (A short-lived Princeton Law School folded in 1852.) It offers professional graduate degrees in architecture; engineering; finance and public policy- the last through the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs founded in 1930 as the School of Public and International Affairs and renamed in 1948 after university president (and U.S. president) Woodrow Wilson, and most recently renamed in 2020.

    Libraries

    The Princeton University Library system houses over eleven million holdings including seven million bound volumes. The main university library, Firestone Library, which houses almost four million volumes, is one of the largest university libraries in the world. Additionally, it is among the largest “open stack” libraries in existence. Its collections include the autographed manuscript of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and George F. Kennan’s Long Telegram. In addition to Firestone library, specialized libraries exist for architecture, art and archaeology, East Asian studies, engineering, music, public and international affairs, public policy and university archives, and the sciences. In an effort to expand access, these libraries also subscribe to thousands of electronic resources.

    Institutes

    High Meadows Environmental Institute

    The High Meadows Environmental Institute is an “interdisciplinary center of environmental research, education, and outreach” at the university. The institute was started in 1994. About 90 faculty members at Princeton University are affiliated with it.

    The High Meadows Environmental Institute has the following research centers:

    Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI): This is a 15-year-long partnership between PEI and British Petroleum with the goal of finding solutions to problems related to climate change. The Stabilization Wedge Game has been created as part of this initiative.
    Center for BioComplexity (CBC)
    Cooperative Institute for Climate Science (CICS): This is a collaboration with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.
    Energy Systems Analysis Group
    Grand Challenges

     
  • richardmitnick 8:28 am on April 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Highlights from the test campaign of the Smile payload module in Europe", Smile: Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer, Solar research,   

    From The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU): “Highlights from the test campaign of the Smile payload module in Europe” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency – United Space in Europe (EU)

    From The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)

    4.21.22


    Highlights from the test campaign of the Smile payload module in Europe
    © ESA/Airbus/Lightcurve Films; original soundtrack: Ilse de Ziah and Ian Date.

    This video shows the payload module for the Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer (Smile) undergoing a series of different environmental tests at both Airbus Madrid, Spain, and the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC)[below] in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

    1
    ESA Smile.

    These milestones include integration of the Soft X-ray Imager and ultraviolet instruments on the payload module (October 2021, Airbus Madrid); preparing and completing thermal testing of the payload module (11–24 Jan 2022, ESA/ESTEC); deploying the 3 m-long magnetometer boom under helium-filled balloons to simulate the weightlessness of space (27 Jan 2022, ESA/ESTEC); vibration testing (Feb 2022, Airbus Madrid); and finally preparing the payload module for transport to China (17 Mar, 2022).

    The payload module has now arrived in Shanghai, China. It will now be integrated on the Smile platform, beginning in April-May 2022. Once the satellite is complete, it will be subjected to a comprehensive five-month-long qualification test campaign including thermal, mechanical and electromagnetic compatibility testing, and magnetic, deployment and functional tests at system level.

    Smile is a joint mission between ESA and The Chinese Academy of Sciences [中国科学院](CN), and will aim to build a more complete understanding of the Sun-Earth connection by measuring the solar wind and its dynamic interaction with the magnetosphere.

    Smile factsheet

    2
    Solar mass ejection reaches Earth.

    The Smile mission
    3.5.2019

    Smile – the Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer – aims to form an accurate picture of solar-terrestrial magnetospheric physics.

    From its vantage point, Smile will observe the solar wind interaction with the magnetosphere, gathering simultaneous images and video of the dayside magnetopause (where Earth’s magnetosphere meets the solar wind, indicated in pink), the polar cusps (a region in each hemisphere where particles from the solar wind have direct access to Earth’s ionosphere, indicated in green), and the auroral oval (the region around each geomagnetic pole where auroras most often occur).
    The mission will be implemented by ESA’s Science Programme and the Chinese National Space Science Centre (NSSC) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). © ESA/ATG medialab.

    Overview of the Smile mission

    Name: Smile (Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer)

    Status: Following its adoption by the ESA Science Programme Committee (SPC) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the mission is currently in implementation, and the payload and spacecraft are being built, tested and integrated

    Mission objectives: Smile will study Earth’s magnetic environment (its magnetosphere) on a global scale, building a more complete understanding of the Sun-Earth connection. It will do this by observing the flow of charged particles streaming out from the Sun into interplanetary space (the solar wind) and exploring how these interact with the space around our planet

    Collaboration: Smile is a joint European-Chinese mission. ESA is responsible for the Payload Module, the launch vehicle, one of the scientific instruments and part of the science operations. The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is responsible for three scientific instruments, the platform, and the mission and science operations

    Launch: Scheduled for launch in late 2024 or early 2025 from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou (launch dimensions compatible with either an Ariane 6 or Vega-C launcher)

    Nominal mission lifetime: 3 years to achieve its science goals

    How is Smile unique?: Although numerous spacecraft observe the Sun and its effect on Earth’s environment, these missions largely study localised processes and individual weather events. Smile will be able to view the full Sun-Earth connection, filling an essential gap in Solar System science.

    Our understanding of the Sun-Earth connection has been limited by the financial and technical constraints on developing the multi-satellite missions needed to obtain a global perspective of Earth’s environment. However, recent discoveries have shown that Earth’s outer magnetosphere can be imaged another way, which will be utilised by Smile (based on a process known as ‘solar wind charge exchange’ – detected when solar wind particles interact with neutral particles in Earth’s upper atmosphere). This technique has been successfully demonstrated by ESA’s XMM-Newton in recent years, and Smile will gather the data needed to apply it to Earth’s magnetic environment.

    Key question(s): Smile will address a key theme of ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2025: How does the Solar System work? Within this theme, Smile will specifically improve our understanding of space weather and solar storms – essential to protect both space-based technology and the lives of any humans in orbit around the Earth

    More specifically, Smile will address three fundamental queries that remain unclear due to a lack of available data:

    -How, when and where do energy and charged particles enter Earth’s magnetosphere?
    -What defines the activity cycle, timing and severity of substorms (disturbances in Earth’s magnetosphere that allow energetic particles to enter Earth’s atmosphere from space)?
    -How and why do space weather threats arise – specifically, geomagnetic storms driven by coronal mass ejections (CMEs) – and how are they related to substorms?

    See the full article here .


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    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU), 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 (NL) 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.

    ESA’s space flight programme includes human spaceflight (mainly through participation in the International Space Station program); the launch and operation of uncrewed exploration missions to other planets and the Moon; Earth observation, science and telecommunication; designing launch vehicles; and maintaining a major spaceport, the The Guiana Space Centre [Centre Spatial Guyanais; CSG also called Europe’s Spaceport) at Kourou, French Guiana. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle. The agency is also working with NASA to manufacture the Orion Spacecraft service module that will fly on the Space Launch System.

    The agency’s facilities are distributed among the following centres:

    ESA European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) (NL) in Noordwijk, Netherlands;
    ESA Centre for Earth Observation [ESRIN] (IT) in Frascati, Italy;
    ESA Mission Control ESA European Space Operations Center [ESOC](DE) is in Darmstadt, Germany;
    ESA -European Astronaut Centre [EAC] trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany;
    European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) (UK), a research institute created in 2009, is located in Harwell, England;
    ESA – European Space Astronomy Centre [ESAC] (ES) is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain.
    European Space Agency Science Programme is a long-term programme of space science and space exploration missions.

    Foundation

    After World War II, many European scientists left Western Europe in order to work with the United States. Although the 1950s boom made it possible for Western European countries to invest in research and specifically in space-related activities, Western European scientists realized solely national projects would not be able to compete with the two main superpowers. In 1958, only months after the Sputnik shock, Edoardo Amaldi (Italy) and Pierre Auger (France), two prominent members of the Western European scientific community, met to discuss the foundation of a common Western European space agency. The meeting was attended by scientific representatives from eight countries, including Harrie Massey (United Kingdom).

    The Western European nations decided to have two agencies: one concerned with developing a launch system, ELDO (European Launch Development Organization), and the other the precursor of the European Space Agency, ESRO (European Space Research Organisation). The latter was established on 20 March 1964 by an agreement signed on 14 June 1962. From 1968 to 1972, ESRO launched seven research satellites.

    ESA in its current form was founded with the ESA Convention in 1975, when ESRO was merged with ELDO. ESA had ten founding member states: Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These signed the ESA Convention in 1975 and deposited the instruments of ratification by 1980, when the convention came into force. During this interval the agency functioned in a de facto fashion. ESA launched its first major scientific mission in 1975, Cos-B, a space probe monitoring gamma-ray emissions in the universe, which was first worked on by ESRO.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Later activities

    ESA collaborated with National Aeronautics Space Agency on the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE), the world’s first high-orbit telescope, which was launched in 1978 and operated successfully for 18 years.

    ESA Infrared Space Observatory.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration Solar Orbiter annotated.

    A number of successful Earth-orbit projects followed, and in 1986 ESA began Giotto, its first deep-space mission, to study the comets Halley and Grigg–Skjellerup. Hipparcos, a star-mapping mission, was launched in 1989 and in the 1990s SOHO, Ulysses and the Hubble Space Telescope were all jointly carried out with NASA. Later scientific missions in cooperation with NASA include the Cassini–Huygens space probe, to which ESA contributed by building the Titan landing module Huygens.

    ESA/Huygens Probe from Cassini landed on Titan.

    As the successor of ELDO, ESA has also constructed rockets for scientific and commercial payloads. Ariane 1, launched in 1979, carried mostly commercial payloads into orbit from 1984 onward. The next two versions of the Ariane rocket were intermediate stages in the development of a more advanced launch system, the Ariane 4, which operated between 1988 and 2003 and established ESA as the world leader in commercial space launches in the 1990s. Although the succeeding Ariane 5 experienced a failure on its first flight, it has since firmly established itself within the heavily competitive commercial space launch market with 82 successful launches until 2018. The successor launch vehicle of Ariane 5, the Ariane 6, is under development and is envisioned to enter service in the 2020s.

    The beginning of the new millennium saw ESA become, along with agencies like National Aeronautics Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Indian Space Research Organisation, the Canadian Space Agency(CA) and Roscosmos(RU), one of the major participants in scientific space research. Although ESA had relied on co-operation with NASA in previous decades, especially the 1990s, changed circumstances (such as tough legal restrictions on information sharing by the United States military) led to decisions to rely more on itself and on co-operation with Russia. A 2011 press issue thus stated:

    “Russia is ESA’s first partner in its efforts to ensure long-term access to space. There is a framework agreement between ESA and the government of the Russian Federation on cooperation and partnership in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and cooperation is already underway in two different areas of launcher activity that will bring benefits to both partners.”

    Notable ESA programmes include SMART-1, a probe testing cutting-edge space propulsion technology, the Mars Express and Venus Express missions, as well as the development of the Ariane 5 rocket and its role in the ISS partnership. ESA maintains its scientific and research projects mainly for astronomy-space missions such as Corot, launched on 27 December 2006, a milestone in the search for exoplanets.

    On 21 January 2019, ArianeGroup and Arianespace announced a one-year contract with ESA to study and prepare for a mission to mine the Moon for lunar regolith.

    Mission

    The treaty establishing the European Space Agency reads:

    The purpose of the Agency shall be to provide for and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems…

    ESA is responsible for setting a unified space and related industrial policy, recommending space objectives to the member states, and integrating national programs like satellite development, into the European program as much as possible.

    Jean-Jacques Dordain – ESA’s Director General (2003–2015) – outlined the European Space Agency’s mission in a 2003 interview:

    “Today space activities have pursued the benefit of citizens, and citizens are asking for a better quality of life on Earth. They want greater security and economic wealth, but they also want to pursue their dreams, to increase their knowledge, and they want younger people to be attracted to the pursuit of science and technology. I think that space can do all of this: it can produce a higher quality of life, better security, more economic wealth, and also fulfill our citizens’ dreams and thirst for knowledge, and attract the young generation. This is the reason space exploration is an integral part of overall space activities. It has always been so, and it will be even more important in the future.”

    Activities

    According to the ESA website, the activities are:

    Observing the Earth
    Human Spaceflight
    Launchers
    Navigation
    Space Science
    Space Engineering & Technology
    Operations
    Telecommunications & Integrated Applications
    Preparing for the Future
    Space for Climate

    Programmes

    Copernicus Programme
    Cosmic Vision
    ExoMars
    FAST20XX
    Galileo
    Horizon 2000
    Living Planet Programme
    Mandatory

    Every member country must contribute to these programmes:

    Technology Development Element Programme
    Science Core Technology Programme
    General Study Programme
    European Component Initiative

    Optional

    Depending on their individual choices the countries can contribute to the following programmes, listed according to:

    Launchers
    Earth Observation
    Human Spaceflight and Exploration
    Telecommunications
    Navigation
    Space Situational Awareness
    Technology

    ESA_LAB@

    ESA has formed partnerships with universities. ESA_LAB@ refers to research laboratories at universities. Currently there are ESA_LAB@

    Technische Universität Darmstadt (DE)
    École des hautes études commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris) (FR)
    Université de recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres (FR)
    The University of Central Lancashire (UK)

    Membership and contribution to ESA

    By 2015, ESA was an intergovernmental organization of 22 member states. Member states participate to varying degrees in the mandatory (25% of total expenditures in 2008) and optional space programmes (75% of total expenditures in 2008). The 2008 budget amounted to €3.0 billion whilst the 2009 budget amounted to €3.6 billion. The total budget amounted to about €3.7 billion in 2010, €3.99 billion in 2011, €4.02 billion in 2012, €4.28 billion in 2013, €4.10 billion in 2014 and €4.33 billion in 2015. English is the main language within ESA. Additionally, official documents are also provided in German and documents regarding the Spacelab are also provided in Italian. If found appropriate, the agency may conduct its correspondence in any language of a member state.

    Non-full member states
    Slovenia
    Since 2016, Slovenia has been an associated member of the ESA.

    Latvia
    Latvia became the second current associated member on 30 June 2020, when the Association Agreement was signed by ESA Director Jan Wörner and the Minister of Education and Science of Latvia, Ilga Šuplinska in Riga. The Saeima ratified it on July 27. Previously associated members were Austria, Norway and Finland, all of which later joined ESA as full members.

    Canada
    Since 1 January 1979, Canada has had the special status of a Cooperating State within ESA. By virtue of this accord, The Canadian Space Agency [Agence spatiale canadienne, ASC] (CA) takes part in ESA’s deliberative bodies and decision-making and also in ESA’s programmes and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programmes. The accord has a provision ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada. The most recent Cooperation Agreement was signed on 15 December 2010 with a term extending to 2020. For 2014, Canada’s annual assessed contribution to the ESA general budget was €6,059,449 (CAD$8,559,050). For 2017, Canada has increased its annual contribution to €21,600,000 (CAD$30,000,000).

    Enlargement

    After the decision of the ESA Council of 21/22 March 2001, the procedure for accession of the European states was detailed as described the document titled The Plan for European Co-operating States (PECS). Nations that want to become a full member of ESA do so in 3 stages. First a Cooperation Agreement is signed between the country and ESA. In this stage, the country has very limited financial responsibilities. If a country wants to co-operate more fully with ESA, it signs a European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement. The ECS Agreement makes companies based in the country eligible for participation in ESA procurements. The country can also participate in all ESA programmes, except for the Basic Technology Research Programme. While the financial contribution of the country concerned increases, it is still much lower than that of a full member state. The agreement is normally followed by a Plan For European Cooperating State (or PECS Charter). This is a 5-year programme of basic research and development activities aimed at improving the nation’s space industry capacity. At the end of the 5-year period, the country can either begin negotiations to become a full member state or an associated state or sign a new PECS Charter.

    During the Ministerial Meeting in December 2014, ESA ministers approved a resolution calling for discussions to begin with Israel, Australia and South Africa on future association agreements. The ministers noted that “concrete cooperation is at an advanced stage” with these nations and that “prospects for mutual benefits are existing”.

    A separate space exploration strategy resolution calls for further co-operation with the United States, Russia and China on “LEO” exploration, including a continuation of ISS cooperation and the development of a robust plan for the coordinated use of space transportation vehicles and systems for exploration purposes, participation in robotic missions for the exploration of the Moon, the robotic exploration of Mars, leading to a broad Mars Sample Return mission in which Europe should be involved as a full partner, and human missions beyond LEO in the longer term.”

    Relationship with the European Union

    The political perspective of the European Union (EU) was to make ESA an agency of the EU by 2014, although this date was not met. The EU member states provide most of ESA’s funding, and they are all either full ESA members or observers.

    History

    At the time ESA was formed, its main goals did not encompass human space flight; rather it considered itself to be primarily a scientific research organisation for uncrewed space exploration in contrast to its American and Soviet counterparts. It is therefore not surprising that the first non-Soviet European in space was not an ESA astronaut on a European space craft; it was Czechoslovak Vladimír Remek who in 1978 became the first non-Soviet or American in space (the first man in space being Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union) – on a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft, followed by the Pole Mirosław Hermaszewski and East German Sigmund Jähn in the same year. This Soviet co-operation programme, known as Intercosmos, primarily involved the participation of Eastern bloc countries. In 1982, however, Jean-Loup Chrétien became the first non-Communist Bloc astronaut on a flight to the Soviet Salyut 7 space station.

    Because Chrétien did not officially fly into space as an ESA astronaut, but rather as a member of the French CNES astronaut corps, the German Ulf Merbold is considered the first ESA astronaut to fly into space. He participated in the STS-9 Space Shuttle mission that included the first use of the European-built Spacelab in 1983. STS-9 marked the beginning of an extensive ESA/NASA joint partnership that included dozens of space flights of ESA astronauts in the following years. Some of these missions with Spacelab were fully funded and organizationally and scientifically controlled by ESA (such as two missions by Germany and one by Japan) with European astronauts as full crew members rather than guests on board. Beside paying for Spacelab flights and seats on the shuttles, ESA continued its human space flight co-operation with the Soviet Union and later Russia, including numerous visits to Mir.

    During the latter half of the 1980s, European human space flights changed from being the exception to routine and therefore, in 1990, the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany was established. It selects and trains prospective astronauts and is responsible for the co-ordination with international partners, especially with regard to the International Space Station. As of 2006, the ESA astronaut corps officially included twelve members, including nationals from most large European countries except the United Kingdom.

    In the summer of 2008, ESA started to recruit new astronauts so that final selection would be due in spring 2009. Almost 10,000 people registered as astronaut candidates before registration ended in June 2008. 8,413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. Of the applicants, 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing, which narrowed down the field to 192. After two-stage psychological tests and medical evaluation in early 2009, as well as formal interviews, six new members of the European Astronaut Corps were selected – five men and one woman.

    Cooperation with other countries and organizations

    ESA has signed co-operation agreements with the following states that currently neither plan to integrate as tightly with ESA institutions as Canada, nor envision future membership of ESA: Argentina, Brazil, China, India (for the Chandrayan mission), Russia and Turkey.

    Additionally, ESA has joint projects with the European Union, NASA of the United States and is participating in the International Space Station together with the United States (NASA), Russia and Japan (JAXA).

    European Union
    ESA and EU member states
    ESA-only members
    EU-only members

    ESA is not an agency or body of the European Union (EU), and has non-EU countries (Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) as members. There are however ties between the two, with various agreements in place and being worked on, to define the legal status of ESA with regard to the EU.

    There are common goals between ESA and the EU. ESA has an EU liaison office in Brussels. On certain projects, the EU and ESA co-operate, such as the upcoming Galileo satellite navigation system. Space policy has since December 2009 been an area for voting in the European Council. Under the European Space Policy of 2007, the EU, ESA and its Member States committed themselves to increasing co-ordination of their activities and programmes and to organising their respective roles relating to space.

    The Lisbon Treaty of 2009 reinforces the case for space in Europe and strengthens the role of ESA as an R&D space agency. Article 189 of the Treaty gives the EU a mandate to elaborate a European space policy and take related measures, and provides that the EU should establish appropriate relations with ESA.

    Former Italian astronaut Umberto Guidoni, during his tenure as a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009, stressed the importance of the European Union as a driving force for space exploration, “…since other players are coming up such as India and China it is becoming ever more important that Europeans can have an independent access to space. We have to invest more into space research and technology in order to have an industry capable of competing with other international players.”

    The first EU-ESA International Conference on Human Space Exploration took place in Prague on 22 and 23 October 2009. A road map which would lead to a common vision and strategic planning in the area of space exploration was discussed. Ministers from all 29 EU and ESA members as well as members of parliament were in attendance.

    National space organisations of member states:

    The Centre National d’Études Spatiales(FR) (CNES) (National Centre for Space Study) is the French government space agency (administratively, a “public establishment of industrial and commercial character”). Its headquarters are in central Paris. CNES is the main participant on the Ariane project. Indeed, CNES designed and tested all Ariane family rockets (mainly from its centre in Évry near Paris)
    The UK Space Agency is a partnership of the UK government departments which are active in space. Through the UK Space Agency, the partners provide delegates to represent the UK on the various ESA governing bodies. Each partner funds its own programme.
    The Italian Space Agency A.S.I. – Agenzia Spaziale Italiana was founded in 1988 to promote, co-ordinate and conduct space activities in Italy. Operating under the Ministry of the Universities and of Scientific and Technological Research, the agency cooperates with numerous entities active in space technology and with the president of the Council of Ministers. Internationally, the ASI provides Italy’s delegation to the Council of the European Space Agency and to its subordinate bodies.
    The German Aerospace Center (DLR)[Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.] is the national research centre for aviation and space flight of the Federal Republic of Germany and of other member states in the Helmholtz Association. Its extensive research and development projects are included in national and international cooperative programmes. In addition to its research projects, the centre is the assigned space agency of Germany bestowing headquarters of German space flight activities and its associates.
    The Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA)(ES) (National Institute for Aerospace Technique) is a Public Research Organization specialised in aerospace research and technology development in Spain. Among other functions, it serves as a platform for space research and acts as a significant testing facility for the aeronautic and space sector in the country.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency

    ESA has a long history of collaboration with NASA. Since ESA’s astronaut corps was formed, the Space Shuttle has been the primary launch vehicle used by ESA’s astronauts to get into space through partnership programmes with NASA. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Spacelab programme was an ESA-NASA joint research programme that had ESA develop and manufacture orbital labs for the Space Shuttle for several flights on which ESA participate with astronauts in experiments.

    In robotic science mission and exploration missions, NASA has been ESA’s main partner. Cassini–Huygens was a joint NASA-ESA mission, along with the Infrared Space Observatory, INTEGRAL, SOHO, and others.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/ASI Italian Space Agency [Agenzia Spaziale Italiana](IT) Cassini Spacecraft.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Integral spacecraft

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation] (EU)/National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationSOHO satellite. Launched in 1995.

    Also, the Hubble Space Telescope is a joint project of NASA and ESA.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration/European Space Agency[La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Hubble Space Telescope

    Future ESA-NASA joint projects include the James Webb Space Telescope and the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation]Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA) James Webb Space Telescope annotated. Scheduled for launch in December 2021.

    Gravity is talking. Lisa will listen. Dialogos of Eide.

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration eLISA space based, the future of gravitational wave research.

    NASA has committed to provide support to ESA’s proposed MarcoPolo-R mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth for further analysis. NASA and ESA will also likely join together for a Mars Sample Return Mission. In October 2020 the ESA entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NASA to work together on the Artemis program, which will provide an orbiting lunar gateway and also accomplish the first manned lunar landing in 50 years, whose team will include the first woman on the Moon.

    NASA ARTEMIS spacecraft depiction.

    Cooperation with other space agencies

    Since China has started to invest more money into space activities, the Chinese Space Agency[中国国家航天局] (CN) has sought international partnerships. ESA is, beside, The Russian Federal Space Agency Государственная корпорация по космической деятельности «Роскосмос»](RU) one of its most important partners. Two space agencies cooperated in the development of the Double Star Mission. In 2017, ESA sent two astronauts to China for two weeks sea survival training with Chinese astronauts in Yantai, Shandong.

    ESA entered into a major joint venture with Russia in the form of the CSTS, the preparation of French Guiana spaceport for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets and other projects. With India, ESA agreed to send instruments into space aboard the ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. ESA is also co-operating with Japan, the most notable current project in collaboration with JAXA is the BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency [国立研究開発法人宇宙航空研究開発機構](JP) Bepicolumbo in flight illustration. Artist’s impression of BepiColombo – ESA’s first mission to Mercury. ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be operated from ESOC Germany.

    ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be operated from ESOC Germany.

    Speaking to reporters at an air show near Moscow in August 2011, ESA head Jean-Jacques Dordain said ESA and Russia’s Roskosmos space agency would “carry out the first flight to Mars together.”

     
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