Tagged: Solar research Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 7:28 pm on January 23, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A New Map of the Sun’s Local Bubble", , , , , Solar research,   

    From The New York Times : “A New Map of the Sun’s Local Bubble” 

    From The New York Times

    Jan. 20, 2022
    Dennis Overbye

    1
    A view of the center of Milky Way from 2011. Scientists believe a series of supernova explosions 14 million years ago led to the creation of a 1,000-light-year-wide region bereft of the gas and dust needed to form new stars.Credit: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US).

    Just a bit too late for New Year celebrations, astronomers have discovered that the Milky Way galaxy, our home, is, like champagne, full of bubbles.

    As it happens, our solar system is passing through the center of one of these bubbles. Fourteen million years ago, according to the astronomers, a firecracker chain of supernova explosions drove off all the gas and dust from a region roughly 1,000 light-years wide, leaving it bereft of the material needed to produce new generations of stars.

    As a result, all the baby stars in our neighborhood can be found stuck on the edges of this bubble. There, the staccato force of a previous generation of exploding stars has pushed gas clouds together into forms dense enough to collapse under their own ponderous if diffuse gravity and condense enough to ignite, as baby stars. Our sun, 4.5 billion years old, drifts through the middle of this space in a coterie of aged stars.

    “This is really an origin story,” Catherine Zucker said in a news release from The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “For the first time, we can explain how all nearby star formation began.”

    Dr. Zucker, now at The Space Telescope Science Institute (US), led a team that mapped what they call the Local Bubble in remarkable detail. They used data from a number of sources, particularly Gaia, a European spacecraft, that has mapped and measured more than a billion stars, to pinpoint the locations of gas and dust clouds.

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) GAIA satellite.

    Last year, a group of scientists led by João Alves, an astrophysicist at The University of Vienna [Universität Wien](AT) announced the discovery of the Radcliffe Wave, an undulating string of dust and gas clouds 9,000 light-years long that might be the spine of our local arm of the galaxy. One section of the wave now appears to be part of our Local Bubble.

    2
    An artist’s illustration of the Local Bubble with star formation occurring on the bubble’s surface.Credit: Leah Hustak (STScI)/CfA.

    The same group of scientists published their latest findings in Nature, along with an elaborate animated map of the Local Bubble and its highlights.


    New Local Bubble Map. Credit: CfA

    The results, the astronomers write, provide “robust observational support” for a long-held theory that supernova explosions are important in triggering star formation, perhaps by jostling gas and dust clouds into collapsing and starting on the long road to thermonuclear luminosity.

    Astronomers have long recognized the Local Bubble. What is new, said Alyssa Goodman, a member of the team also from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, is the observation that all local star forming-regions lie on the Local Bubble’s surface. Researchers previously lacked the tools to map gas and dust clouds in three dimensions. “Thanks to 3-D dust-mapping, now we do,” Dr. Goodman said.

    According to the team’s calculations the Local Bubble began 14 million years ago with a massive supernova, the first of about 15; massive stars died and blew up. Their blast waves cleared out the region. As a result there are now no stars younger than 14 million years in the bubble, Dr. Goodman said.

    The bubble continues to grow at about 4 miles a second. “Still, more supernovae are expected to take place in the near future, like Antares, a red supergiant star near the edge of the bubble that could go any century now,” Dr. Alves said. “So the Local Bubble is not ‘done.’”

    With a score of well-known star-forming regions sitting on the surface of the bubble, the next generation of stars is securely on tap.

    The team plans to go on and map more bubbles in the our Milky Way flute of champagne. There must be more, Dr. Goodman said, because it would be too much of a coincidence for the sun to be smack in the middle of the only one.

    The sun’s presence in this one is nonetheless coincidental, Dr. Alves said. Our star wandered into the region only 5 million years ago, long after most of the action, and will exit about 5 million years from now.

    The motions of the stars are more irregular than commonly portrayed, as they are bumped gravitationally by other stars, clouds and the like, Dr. Alves said.

    “The sun is moving at a significantly different velocity than the average of the stars and gas in the solar neighborhood,” he noted. This would enable it to catch up and pass — or be passed by — the bubble.

    “It was a revelation,” Dr. Goodman said, “how kooky the sun’s path really is compared with a simple circle.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • richardmitnick 11:40 am on January 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Are we ready for the next big solar storm?", , , Solar research   

    From Astronomy Magazine : “Are we ready for the next big solar storm?” 

    From Astronomy Magazine

    January 4, 2022
    Joshua Rapp Learn

    The biggest geomagnetic storm in recorded history happened more than 150 years ago. Now, we’re entering yet another period of solar maximum.

    1
    Lia Koltyrina/Shutterstock.

    It was just another September night in 1859 when Richard Carrington and Richard Hodgson witnessed a remarkable event. The British astronomers weren’t together, but both happened to be peering at the Sun through telescopes at the precise moment that a massive ejection spewed from the fiery star. Within a few days, others on Earth noticed colorful aurora streaking across the skies and telegraph lines — the advanced technology of the day in Europe and North America — erupting in sparks.

    The solar flare came to be known as The Carrington Event, named after one of the two astronomers who first described it. Despite occurring more than 150 years ago, it still stands as the strongest known geomagnetic storm (though we lack measurements to say precisely how big it was).

    Earth has felt the effects of a few significant geomagnetic storms since then, all of which caused power blackouts and satellite damage. As a result, power companies and satellite manufacturers have built resistance into our technology. But what would happen if another Carrington Event-level solar flare occurred today? Would we be ready for it?

    According to Alexa Halford, an associate chief of the Heliophysics Science Division at The Goddard Space Flight Center-NASA (US), the answer is a cautious affirmative. “There’s still a lot to learn, she says, but we’ve had success.”

    Decades of learning

    Flares occur when electromagnetic radiation erupts from the Sun. These bursts often last a few minutes, though they are sometimes longer. They are sometimes associated with coronal mass ejections [CME’s], which blow out gas material and magnetic fields. But not every solar flare or coronal mass ejection will have an impact on Earth; it depends on both the size of the burst and the direction it’s heading. If a solar flare occurs on the far side of the Sun, for example, it’s unlikely to affect us.

    Even if it does happen on the near side, the direction of the burst often misses us — as we’re quite far away and a relatively small target compared to the Sun. This occurred in 2001, for example, when one of the largest solar flares in recorded history exploded into a coronal mass ejection at a speed of about 4.5 million miles per hour. Luckily, it swept by us on its way into space.

    Technology was relatively simple in 1859 when the Carrington Event occurred, but it still had a big impact on telegraph lines. At the time, people had to unplug the wires to stop the sparks erupting from them. But they remained partly functional, thanks to the particles ejected from the flare that struck the current in the lines. “They actually had to unplug them, and they still had enough energy and currents to run for a period of time,” Halford says.

    There have been earlier solar flares whose impacts were felt on Earth, of course. A Sun storm that occurred in 993 C.E. left evidence on tree trunks that archaeologists still use today to date ancient wood materials, such as the brief Viking settlement in the Americas. Another significant solar flare occurred during World War I. It wasn’t as large as the Carrington Event, but it still confused detection equipment. Technicians believed bombs were dropping when it was actually interference from the flare hitting the magnetosphere, Halford says.

    A large coronal mass ejection recently struck Earth in March 1989, and the resulting geomagnetic storm caused serious havoc on Earth. The flare knocked out the power grids in Quebec and parts of New England, as the utility company Hydro-Quebec was down for nine hours. Power transformers even melted due to an overloading of electricity in the grid.

    Safety measures

    That 1989 event finally got the attention of infrastructure planners. “Those are the kinds of things that we have really learned our lesson from,” Halford says. Power companies began building safety measures, such as tripwires, into the electricity grid to stop cascading failure. If power increases too quickly, these tripwires are programmed to switch off so that damage is limited and transformers don’t burn out as they did in 1989.

    Geomagnetic storms can also cause bit flips, surface charging or internal charging to satellites orbiting our planet — all things that occurred this October when a solar flare produced a coronal mass ejection and a geomagnetic storm that hit Earth. Satellites are particularly susceptible because they don’t benefit from the relative protection of our atmosphere. But most of the satellites launched in the past two decades have been built robustly enough that they are resistant to overcharging.

    The bit flips occur when ionized particles from the solar outbursts switch the function of memory bits. This can cause big problems for GPS satellites, which effect everything from navigation to precision drilling. Even banking relies on GPS satellite to dictate the timing of transactions. “That kind of failure would really hurt the economy,” Halford says. “It’s important and definitely something we should be worried about.”

    While satellites are now built more robustly, she adds that it’s unlikely a storm would take out enough GPS satellites to cause many larger problems, though. These problems can also sometimes be easily fixed by power cycling, or simply by restarting the affected device. The October flare caused some minor problems, but the Federal Aviation Administration didn’t report any major navigation issues, Halford says.

    Positive impacts

    Not all impacts of a large solar flare would necessarily be negative. When these events occur, they thicken the density of Earth’s upper atmosphere. In effect, the atmosphere rises in altitude for a short period. This can impact the orbits of satellites, potentially causing problems, but it can also affect the orbits of space debris floating around up there. The extra drag could cause this junk to fall into orbit and burn up.

    “You want some storms so we can naturally get rid of some of the debris,” Halford says. But it might be a double-edged sword, as the event could cause the orbital decay of operating equipment up there as well.

    Another potentially positive effect for Earthlings living closer to the equator is the increased visibility of aurora. Northern lights and southern lights are caused when solar particles enter the atmosphere and collide with gas particles. This usually happens at the poles, where the magnetic field is weaker. But during solar flares, more of the particles make it through the atmosphere. Aurora borealis was recently visible in New York during the October solar storm.

    These opportunities will only increase as we approach a period of solar maximum, which is when we see the greatest period of solar activity every 11 years or so. “The next few years should be really exciting because we will have a lot more chances to see the aurora,” Halford says.

    This might also be a likely time for another big solar flare to strike. According to Halford, it’ll be a chance to see how well our safety measures and precautions can deal with this influx of solar particles — but don’t hold your breath. A study published in 2019 [Scientific Reports] found the chance of a Carrington-like event occurring before 2029 is less than 1.9 percent. “A Carrington Event is one of those kinds of things that you kind of want to have happen,” Halford says, “because we think we can weather it.”

    See the full article here3 .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Astronomy is a magazine about the science and hobby of astronomy. Based near Milwaukee in Waukesha, Wisconsin, it is produced by Kalmbach Publishing. Astronomy’s readers include those interested in astronomy and those who want to know about sky events, observing techniques, astrophotography, and amateur astronomy in general.

    Astronomy was founded in 1973 by Stephen A. Walther, a graduate of The University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point (US) and amateur astronomer. The first issue, August 1973, consisted of 48 pages with five feature articles and information about what to see in the sky that month. Issues contained astrophotos and illustrations created by astronomical artists. Walther had worked part time as a planetarium lecturer at The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (US) and developed an interest in photographing constellations at an early age. Although even in childhood he was interested to obsession in Astronomy, he did so poorly in mathematics that his mother despaired that he would ever be able to earn a living. However he graduated in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, and as a senior class project he created a business plan for a magazine for amateur astronomers. With the help of his brother David, he was able to bring the magazine to fruition. He died in 1977.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:21 am on January 8, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Earth isn’t ‘super’ because the sun had rings before planets", Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, , , Solar research   

    From Rice University (US) : “Earth isn’t ‘super’ because the sun had rings before planets” 

    From Rice University (US)

    Jan. 4, 2022

    Jeff Falk
    713-348-6775
    jfalk@rice.edu

    Jade Boyd
    713-348-6778
    jadeboyd@rice.edu

    1
    The addition of false color to an image captured by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA, reveals a series of rings around a young star named HD163296. Image courtesy of Andrea Isella/Rice University.

    European Southern Observatory/National Radio Astronomy Observatory(US)/National Astronomical Observatory of Japan(JP) ALMA Observatory (CL).

    Before the solar system had planets, the sun had rings — bands of dust and gas similar to Saturn’s rings — that likely played a role in Earth’s formation, according to a new study.

    “In the solar system, something happened to prevent the Earth from growing to become a much larger type of terrestrial planet called a super-Earth ,” said Rice University astrophysicist André Izidoro, referring to the massive rocky planets seen around at least 30% of sun-like stars in our galaxy.

    Izidoro and colleagues used a supercomputer to simulate the solar system’s formation hundreds of times. Their model, which is described in a study published online in Nature Astronomy, produced rings like those seen around many distant, young stars. It also faithfully reproduced several features of the solar system missed by many previous models, including:

    An asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter containing objects from both the inner and outer solar system.

    ● The locations and stable, almost circular orbits of Earth, Mars, Venus and Mercury.

    ● The masses of the inner planets, including Mars, which many solar system models overestimate.

    ● The dichotomy between the chemical makeup of objects in the inner and outer solar system.

    ● A Kuiper belt region of comets, asteroids and small bodies beyond the orbit of Neptune.

    Kuiper Belt. Minor Planet Center.

    The study by astronomers, astrophysicists and planetary scientists from Rice, The University of Bordeaux [Université de Bordeaux](FR), The Southwest Research Institute (US), and The MPG Institute for Astronomy [MPG Institut für Astronomie](DE), draws on the latest astronomical research on infant star systems.

    Their model assumes three bands of high pressure arose within the young sun’s disk of gas and dust. Such “pressure bumps” have been observed in ringed stellar disks around distant stars, and the study explains how pressure bumps and rings could account for the solar system’s architecture, said lead author Izidoro, a Rice postdoctoral researchers who received his Ph.D. training at The São Paulo State University [Universidade Estadual Paulista “Júlio de Mesquita Filho”](BR).

    “If super-Earths are super-common, why don’t we have one in the solar system?” Izidoro said. “We propose that pressure bumps produced disconnected reservoirs of disk material in the inner and outer solar system and regulated how much material was available to grow planets in the inner solar system.”

    Pressure bumps

    For decades, scientists believed gas and dust in protoplanetary disks gradually became less dense, dropping smoothly as a function of distance from the star. But computer simulations show planets are unlikely to form in smooth-disk scenarios.

    “In a smooth disk, all solid particles — dust grains or boulders — should be drawn inward very quickly and lost in the star,” said astronomer and study co-author Andrea Isella , an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Rice. “One needs something to stop them in order to give them time to grow into planets.”

    When particles move faster than the gas around them, they “feel a headwind and drift very quickly toward the star,” Izidoro explained. At pressure bumps, gas pressure increases, gas molecules move faster and solid particles stop feeling the headwind. “That’s what allows dust particles to accumulate at pressure bumps,” he said.

    Isella said astronomers have observed pressure bumps and protoplanetary disk rings with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA [above], an enormous 66-dish radio telescope that came online in Chile in 2013.

    “ALMA is capable of taking very sharp images of young planetary systems that are still forming, and we have discovered that a lot of the protoplanetary disks in these systems are characterized by rings,” Isella said. “The effect of the pressure bump is that it collects dust particles, and that’s why we see rings. These rings are regions where you have more dust particles than in the gaps between rings.”

    Ring formation

    The model by Izidoro and colleagues assumed pressure bumps formed in the early solar system at three places where sunward-falling particles would have released large amounts of vaporized gas.

    “It’s just a function of distance from the star, because temperature is going up as you get closer to the star,” said geochemist and study co-author Rajdeep Dasgupta , the Maurice Ewing Professor of Earth Systems Science at Rice. “The point where the temperature is high enough for ice to be vaporized, for example, is a sublimation line we call the snow line .”

    In the Rice simulations, pressure bumps at the sublimation lines of silicate, water and carbon monoxide produced three distinct rings. At the silicate line, the basic ingredient of sand and glass, silicon dioxide, became vapor. This produced the sun’s nearest ring, where Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars would later form. The middle ring appeared at the snow line and the farthest ring at the carbon monoxide line.

    Rings birth planetesimals and planets

    2
    An illustration of three distinct, planetesimal-forming rings that could have produced the planets and other features of the solar system, according to a computational model from Rice University. The vaporization of solid silicates, water and carbon monoxide at “sublimation lines” (top) caused “pressure bumps” in the sun’s protoplanetary disk, trapping dust in three distinct rings. As the sun cooled, pressure bumps migrated sunward allowing trapped dust to accumulate into asteroid-sized planetesimals. The chemical composition of objects from the inner ring (NC) differs from the composition of middle- and outer-ring objects (CC). Inner-ring planetesimals produced the inner solar system’s planets (bottom), and planetesimals from the middle and outer rings produced the outer solar system planets and Kuiper Belt (not shown). The asteroid belt formed (top middle) from NC objects contributed by the inner ring (red arrows) and CC objects from the middle ring (white arrows). Image courtesy of Rajdeep Dasgupta.

    Protoplanetary disks cool with age, so sublimation lines would have migrated toward the sun. The study showed this process could allow dust to accumulate into asteroid-sized objects called planetesimals, which could then come together to form planets. Izidoro said previous studies assumed planetesimals could form if dust were sufficiently concentrated, but no model offered a convincing theoretical explanation of how dust might accumulate.

    “Our model shows pressure bumps can concentrate dust, and moving pressure bumps can act as planetesimal factories,” Izidoro said. “We simulate planet formation starting with grains of dust and covering many different stages, from small millimeter-sized grains to planetesimals and then planets.”

    Accounting for cosmochemical signatures, Mars’ mass and the asteroid belt

    Many previous solar system simulations produced versions of Mars as much as 10 times more massive than Earth. The model correctly predicts Mars having about 10% of Earth’s mass because “Mars was born in a low-mass region of the disk,” Izidoro said.

    Dasgupta said the model also provides a compelling explanation for two of the solar system’s cosmochemical mysteries: the marked difference between the chemical compositions of inner- and outer-solar system objects, and the presence of each of those objects in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

    Izidoro’s simulations showed the middle ring could account for the chemical dichotomy by preventing outer-system material from entering the inner system. The simulations also produced the asteroid belt in its correct location, and showed it was fed objects from both the inner and outer regions.

    “The most common type of meteorites we get from the asteroid belt are isotopically similar to Mars,” Dasgupta said. “Andre explains why Mars and these ordinary meteorites should have a similar composition. He’s provided a nuanced answer to this question.”

    Pressure-bump timing and super-Earths

    Izidoro said the delayed appearance of the sun’s middle ring in some simulations led to the formation of super-Earths, which points to the importance of pressure-bump timing.

    “By the time the pressure bump formed in those cases, a lot of mass had already invaded the inner system and was available to make super-Earths,” he said. “So the time when this middle pressure bump formed might be a key aspect of the solar system.”

    Izidoro is a postdoctoral research associate in Rice’s Department of Earth, Environment and Planetary Sciences. Additional co-authors include Sean Raymond of the University of Bordeaux, Rogerio Deienno of Southwest Research Institute and Bertram Bitsch of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. The research was supported by The National Aeronautics and Space Agency(US)(80NSSC18K0828, 80NSSC21K0387), The ERC: The European Research Council (EU) (757448-PAMDORA), The Brazilian Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education [CAPES- Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior](BR)(88887.310463/2018-00), the Welch Foundation (C-2035) and The National Centre for Scientific Research [Centre national de la recherche scientifique [CNRS](FR) National Planetology Program.

    See the full article here .


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


    Stem Education Coalition

    Rice University (US) [formally William Marsh Rice University] is a private research university in Houston, Texas. It is situated on a 300-acre campus near the Houston Museum District and is adjacent to the Texas Medical Center.
    Opened in 1912 after the murder of its namesake William Marsh Rice, Rice is a research university with an undergraduate focus. Its emphasis on education is demonstrated by a small student body and 6:1 student-faculty ratio. The university has a very high level of research activity. Rice is noted for its applied science programs in the fields of artificial heart research, structural chemical analysis, signal processing, space science, and nanotechnology. Rice has been a member of the Association of American Universities (US) since 1985 and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.
    The university is organized into eleven residential colleges and eight schools of academic study, including the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the School of Social Sciences, School of Architecture, Shepherd School of Music and the School of Humanities. Rice’s undergraduate program offers more than fifty majors and two dozen minors, and allows a high level of flexibility in pursuing multiple degree programs. Additional graduate programs are offered through the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business and the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. Rice students are bound by the strict Honor Code, which is enforced by a student-run Honor Council.
    Rice competes in 14 NCAA Division I varsity sports and is a part of Conference USA, often competing with its cross-town rival the University of Houston. Intramural and club sports are offered in a wide variety of activities such as jiu jitsu, water polo, and crew.
    The university’s alumni include more than two dozen Marshall Scholars and a dozen Rhodes Scholars. Given the university’s close links to National Aeronautics Space Agency (US), it has produced a significant number of astronauts and space scientists. In business, Rice graduates include CEOs and founders of Fortune 500 companies; in politics, alumni include congressmen, cabinet secretaries, judges, and mayors. Two alumni have won the Nobel Prize.

    Background

    Rice University’s history began with the demise of Massachusetts businessman William Marsh Rice, who had made his fortune in real estate, railroad development and cotton trading in the state of Texas. In 1891, Rice decided to charter a free-tuition educational institute in Houston, bearing his name, to be created upon his death, earmarking most of his estate towards funding the project. Rice’s will specified the institution was to be “a competitive institution of the highest grade” and that only white students would be permitted to attend. On the morning of September 23, 1900, Rice, age 84, was found dead by his valet, Charles F. Jones, and was presumed to have died in his sleep. Shortly thereafter, a large check made out to Rice’s New York City lawyer, signed by the late Rice, aroused the suspicion of a bank teller, due to the misspelling of the recipient’s name. The lawyer, Albert T. Patrick, then announced that Rice had changed his will to leave the bulk of his fortune to Patrick, rather than to the creation of Rice’s educational institute. A subsequent investigation led by the District Attorney of New York resulted in the arrests of Patrick and of Rice’s butler and valet Charles F. Jones, who had been persuaded to administer chloroform to Rice while he slept. Rice’s friend and personal lawyer in Houston, Captain James A. Baker, aided in the discovery of what turned out to be a fake will with a forged signature. Jones was not prosecuted since he cooperated with the district attorney, and testified against Patrick. Patrick was found guilty of conspiring to steal Rice’s fortune and he was convicted of murder in 1901 (he was pardoned in 1912 due to conflicting medical testimony). Baker helped Rice’s estate direct the fortune, worth $4.6 million in 1904 ($131 million today), towards the founding of what was to be called the Rice Institute, later to become Rice University. The board took control of the assets on April 29 of that year.

    In 1907, the Board of Trustees selected the head of the Department of Mathematics and Astronomy at Princeton University, Edgar Odell Lovett, to head the Institute, which was still in the planning stages. He came recommended by Princeton University (US)‘s president, Woodrow Wilson. In 1908, Lovett accepted the challenge, and was formally inaugurated as the Institute’s first president on October 12, 1912. Lovett undertook extensive research before formalizing plans for the new Institute, including visits to 78 institutions of higher learning across the world on a long tour between 1908 and 1909. Lovett was impressed by such things as the aesthetic beauty of the uniformity of the architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, a theme which was adopted by the Institute, as well as the residential college system at Cambridge University in England, which was added to the Institute several decades later. Lovett called for the establishment of a university “of the highest grade,” “an institution of liberal and technical learning” devoted “quite as much to investigation as to instruction.” [We must] “keep the standards up and the numbers down,” declared Lovett. “The most distinguished teachers must take their part in undergraduate teaching, and their spirit should dominate it all.”
    Establishment and growth

    In 1911, the cornerstone was laid for the Institute’s first building, the Administration Building, now known as Lovett Hall in honor of the founding president. On September 23, 1912, the 12th anniversary of William Marsh Rice’s murder, the William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Letters, Science, and Art began course work with 59 enrolled students, who were known as the “59 immortals,” and about a dozen faculty. After 18 additional students joined later, Rice’s initial class numbered 77, 48 male and 29 female. Unusual for the time, Rice accepted coeducational admissions from its beginning, but on-campus housing would not become co-ed until 1957.

    Three weeks after opening, a spectacular international academic festival was held, bringing Rice to the attention of the entire academic world.

    Per William Marsh Rice’s will and Rice Institute’s initial charter, the students paid no tuition. Classes were difficult, however, and about half of Rice’s students had failed after the first 1912 term. At its first commencement ceremony, held on June 12, 1916, Rice awarded 35 bachelor’s degrees and one master’s degree. That year, the student body also voted to adopt the Honor System, which still exists today. Rice’s first doctorate was conferred in 1918 on mathematician Hubert Evelyn Bray.

    The Founder’s Memorial Statue, a bronze statue of a seated William Marsh Rice, holding the original plans for the campus, was dedicated in 1930, and installed in the central academic quad, facing Lovett Hall. The statue was crafted by John Angel. In 2020, Rice students petitioned the university to take down the statue due to the founder’s history as slave owner.

    During World War II, Rice Institute was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program, which offered students a path to a Navy commission.

    The residential college system proposed by President Lovett was adopted in 1958, with the East Hall residence becoming Baker College, South Hall residence becoming Will Rice College, West Hall becoming Hanszen College, and the temporary Wiess Hall becoming Wiess College.

    In 1959, the Rice Institute Computer went online. 1960 saw Rice Institute formally renamed William Marsh Rice University. Rice acted as a temporary intermediary in the transfer of land between Humble Oil and Refining Company and NASA, for the creation of NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center (now called Johnson Space Center) in 1962. President John F. Kennedy then made a speech at Rice Stadium reiterating that the United States intended to reach the moon before the end of the decade of the 1960s, and “to become the world’s leading space-faring nation”. The relationship of NASA with Rice University and the city of Houston has remained strong to the present day.

    The original charter of Rice Institute dictated that the university admit and educate, tuition-free, “the white inhabitants of Houston, and the state of Texas”. In 1963, the governing board of Rice University filed a lawsuit to allow the university to modify its charter to admit students of all races and to charge tuition. Ph.D. student Raymond Johnson became the first black Rice student when he was admitted that year. In 1964, Rice officially amended the university charter to desegregate its graduate and undergraduate divisions. The Trustees of Rice University prevailed in a lawsuit to void the racial language in the trust in 1966. Rice began charging tuition for the first time in 1965. In the same year, Rice launched a $33 million ($268 million) development campaign. $43 million ($283 million) was raised by its conclusion in 1970. In 1974, two new schools were founded at Rice, the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management and the Shepherd School of Music. The Brown Foundation Challenge, a fund-raising program designed to encourage annual gifts, was launched in 1976 and ended in 1996 having raised $185 million. The Rice School of Social Sciences was founded in 1979.

    On-campus housing was exclusively for men for the first forty years, until 1957. Jones College was the first women’s residence on the Rice campus, followed by Brown College. According to legend, the women’s colleges were purposefully situated at the opposite end of campus from the existing men’s colleges as a way of preserving campus propriety, which was greatly valued by Edgar Odell Lovett, who did not even allow benches to be installed on campus, fearing that they “might lead to co-fraternization of the sexes”. The path linking the north colleges to the center of campus was given the tongue-in-cheek name of “Virgin’s Walk”. Individual colleges became coeducational between 1973 and 1987, with the single-sex floors of colleges that had them becoming co-ed by 2006. By then, several new residential colleges had been built on campus to handle the university’s growth, including Lovett College, Sid Richardson College, and Martel College.

    Late twentieth and early twenty-first century

    The Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations was held at Rice in 1990. Three years later, in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy was created. In 1997, the Edythe Bates Old Grand Organ and Recital Hall and the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, renamed in 2005 for the late Nobel Prize winner and Rice professor Richard E. Smalley, were dedicated at Rice. In 1999, the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology was created. The Rice Owls baseball team was ranked #1 in the nation for the first time in that year (1999), holding the top spot for eight weeks.

    In 2003, the Owls won their first national championship in baseball, which was the first for the university in any team sport, beating Southwest Missouri State (US) in the opening game and then the University of Texas and Stanford University twice each en route to the title. In 2008, President David Leebron issued a ten-point plan titled “Vision for the Second Century” outlining plans to increase research funding, strengthen existing programs, and increase collaboration. The plan has brought about another wave of campus constructions, including the erection the newly renamed BioScience Research Collaborative building (intended to foster collaboration with the adjacent Texas Medical Center), a new recreational center and the renovated Autry Court basketball stadium, and the addition of two new residential colleges, Duncan College and McMurtry College.

    Beginning in late 2008, the university considered a merger with Baylor College of Medicine, though the merger was ultimately rejected in 2010. Rice undergraduates are currently guaranteed admission to Baylor College of Medicine upon graduation as part of the Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars program. According to History Professor John Boles’ recent book University Builder: Edgar Odell Lovett and the Founding of the Rice Institute, the first president’s original vision for the university included hopes for future medical and law schools.

    In 2018, the university added an online MBA program, MBA@Rice.

    In June 2019, the university’s president announced plans for a task force on Rice’s “past in relation to slave history and racial injustice”, stating that “Rice has some historical connections to that terrible part of American history and the segregation and racial disparities that resulted directly from it”.

    Campus

    Rice’s campus is a heavily wooded 285-acre (115-hectare) tract of land in the museum district of Houston, located close to the city of West University Place.

    Five streets demarcate the campus: Greenbriar Street, Rice Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, Main Street, and University Boulevard. For most of its history, all of Rice’s buildings have been contained within this “outer loop”. In recent years, new facilities have been built close to campus, but the bulk of administrative, academic, and residential buildings are still located within the original pentagonal plot of land. The new Collaborative Research Center, all graduate student housing, the Greenbriar building, and the Wiess President’s House are located off-campus.

    Rice prides itself on the amount of green space available on campus; there are only about 50 buildings spread between the main entrance at its easternmost corner, and the parking lots and Rice Stadium at the West end. The Lynn R. Lowrey Arboretum, consisting of more than 4000 trees and shrubs (giving birth to the legend that Rice has a tree for every student), is spread throughout the campus.
    The university’s first president, Edgar Odell Lovett, intended for the campus to have a uniform architecture style to improve its aesthetic appeal. To that end, nearly every building on campus is noticeably Byzantine in style, with sand and pink-colored bricks, large archways and columns being a common theme among many campus buildings. Noteworthy exceptions include the glass-walled Brochstein Pavilion, Lovett College with its Brutalist-style concrete gratings, Moody Center for the Arts with its contemporary design, and the eclectic-Mediterranean Duncan Hall. In September 2011, Travel+Leisure listed Rice’s campus as one of the most beautiful in the United States.

    The university and Houston Independent School District jointly established The Rice School-a kindergarten through 8th grade public magnet school in Houston. The school opened in August 1994. Through Cy-Fair ISD Rice University offers a credit course based summer school for grades 8 through 12. They also have skills based classes during the summer in the Rice Summer School.

    Innovation District

    In early 2019 Rice announced the site where the abandoned Sears building in Midtown Houston stood along with its surrounding area would be transformed into the “The Ion” the hub of the 16-acre South Main Innovation District. President of Rice David Leebron stated “We chose the name Ion because it’s from the Greek ienai, which means ‘go’. We see it as embodying the ever-forward motion of discovery, the spark at the center of a truly original idea.”

    Students of Rice and other Houston-area colleges and universities making up the Student Coalition for a Just and Equitable Innovation Corridor are advocating for a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA)-a contractual agreement between a developer and a community coalition. Residents of neighboring Third Ward and other members of the Houston Coalition for Equitable Development Without Displacement (HCEDD) have faced consistent opposition from the City of Houston and Rice Management Company to a CBA as traditionally defined in favor of an agreement between the latter two entities without a community coalition signatory.

    Organization

    Rice University is chartered as a non-profit organization and is governed by a privately appointed board of trustees. The board consists of a maximum of 25 voting members who serve four-year terms. The trustees serve without compensation and a simple majority of trustees must reside in Texas including at least four within the greater Houston area. The board of trustees delegates its power by appointing a president to serve as the chief executive of the university. David W. Leebron was appointed president in 2004 and succeeded Malcolm Gillis who served since 1993. The provost six vice presidents and other university officials report to the president. The president is advised by a University Council composed of the provost, eight members of the Faculty Council, two staff members, one graduate student, and two undergraduate students. The president presides over a Faculty Council which has the authority to alter curricular requirements, establish new degree programs, and approve candidates for degrees.

    The university’s academics are organized into several schools. Schools that have undergraduate and graduate programs include:

    The Rice University School of Architecture
    The George R. Brown School of Engineering
    The School of Humanities
    The Shepherd School of Music
    The Wiess School of Natural Sciences
    The Rice University School of Social Sciences

    Two schools have only graduate programs:

    The Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management
    The Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies

    Rice’s undergraduate students benefit from a centralized admissions process which admits new students to the university as a whole, rather than a specific school (the schools of Music and Architecture are decentralized). Students are encouraged to select the major path that best suits their desires; a student can later decide that they would rather pursue study in another field or continue their current coursework and add a second or third major. These transitions are designed to be simple at Rice with students not required to decide on a specific major until their sophomore year of study.

    Rice’s academics are organized into six schools which offer courses of study at the graduate and undergraduate level, with two more being primarily focused on graduate education, while offering select opportunities for undergraduate students. Rice offers 360 degrees in over 60 departments. There are 40 undergraduate degree programs, 51 masters programs, and 29 doctoral programs.

    Faculty members of each of the departments elect chairs to represent the department to each School’s dean and the deans report to the Provost who serves as the chief officer for academic affairs.

    Rice Management Company

    The Rice Management Company manages the $6.5 billion Rice University endowment (June 2019) and $957 million debt. The endowment provides 40% of Rice’s operating revenues. Allison Thacker is the President and Chief Investment Officer of the Rice Management Company, having joined the university in 2011.

    Academics

    Rice is a medium-sized highly residential research university. The majority of enrollments are in the full-time four-year undergraduate program emphasizing arts & sciences and professions. There is a high graduate coexistence with the comprehensive graduate program and a very high level of research activity. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (US) as well as the professional accreditation agencies for engineering, management, and architecture.

    Each of Rice’s departments is organized into one of three distribution groups, and students whose major lies within the scope of one group must take at least 3 courses of at least 3 credit hours each of approved distribution classes in each of the other two groups, as well as completing one physical education course as part of the LPAP (Lifetime Physical Activity Program) requirement. All new students must take a Freshman Writing Intensive Seminar (FWIS) class, and for students who do not pass the university’s writing composition examination (administered during the summer before matriculation), FWIS 100, a writing class, becomes an additional requirement.

    The majority of Rice’s undergraduate degree programs grant B.S. or B.A. degrees. Rice has recently begun to offer minors in areas such as business, energy and water sustainability, and global health.

    Student body

    As of fall 2014, men make up 52% of the undergraduate body and 64% of the professional and post-graduate student body. The student body consists of students from all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, two U.S. Territories, and 83 foreign countries. Forty percent of degree-seeking students are from Texas.

    Research centers and resources

    Rice is noted for its applied science programs in the fields of nanotechnology, artificial heart research, structural chemical analysis, signal processing and space science.

    Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship – supports entrepreneurs and early-stage technology ventures in Houston and Texas through education, collaboration, and research, ranked No. 1 among university business incubators.
    Baker Institute for Public Policy – a leading nonpartisan public policy think-tank
    BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC) – interdisciplinary, cross-campus, and inter-institutional resource between Rice University and Texas Medical Center
    Boniuk Institute – dedicated to religious tolerance and advancing religious literacy, respect and mutual understanding
    Center for African and African American Studies – fosters conversations on topics such as critical approaches to race and racism, the nature of diasporic histories and identities, and the complexity of Africa’s past, present and future
    Chao Center for Asian Studies – research hub for faculty, students and post-doctoral scholars working in Asian studies
    Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality (CSWGS) – interdisciplinary academic programs and research opportunities, including the journal Feminist Economics
    Data to Knowledge Lab (D2K) – campus hub for experiential learning in data science
    Digital Signal Processing (DSP) – center for education and research in the field of digital signal processing
    Ethernest Hackerspace – student-run hackerspace for undergraduate engineering students sponsored by the ECE department and the IEEE student chapter
    Humanities Research Center (HRC) – identifies, encourages, and funds innovative research projects by faculty, visiting scholars, graduate, and undergraduate students in the School of Humanities and beyond
    Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB) – facilitates the translation of interdisciplinary research and education in biosciences and bioengineering
    Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology – advances applied interdisciplinary research in the areas of computation and information technology
    Kinder Institute for Urban Research – conducts the Houston Area Survey, “the nation’s longest running study of any metropolitan region’s economy, population, life experiences, beliefs and attitudes”
    Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP) – a resource for education and research breakthroughs and advances in the broad, multidisciplinary field of nanophotonics
    Moody Center for the Arts – experimental arts space featuring studio classrooms, maker space, audiovisual editing booths, and a gallery and office space for visiting national and international artists
    OpenStax CNX (formerly Connexions) and OpenStax – an open source platform and open access publisher, respectively, of open educational resources
    Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK) – space for undergraduate students to design, prototype and deploy solutions to real-world engineering challenges
    Rice Cinema – an independent theater run by the Visual and Dramatic Arts department at Rice which screens documentaries, foreign films, and experimental cinema and hosts film festivals and lectures since 1970
    Rice Center for Engineering Leadership (RCEL) – inspires, educates, and develops ethical leaders in technology who will excel in research, industry, non-engineering career paths, or entrepreneurship
    Religion and Public Life Program (RPLP) – a research, training and outreach program working to advance understandings of the role of religion in public life
    Rice Design Alliance (RDA) – outreach and public programs of the Rice School of Architecture
    Rice Center for Quantum Materials (RCQM) – organization dedicated to research and higher education in areas relating to quantum phenomena
    Rice Neuroengineering Initiative (NEI) – fosters research collaborations in neural engineering topics
    Rice Space Institute (RSI) – fosters programs in all areas of space research
    Smalley-Curl Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (SCI) – the nation’s first nanotechnology center
    Welch Institute for Advanced Materials – collaborative research institute to support the foundational research for discoveries in materials science, similar to the model of Salk Institute and Broad Institute
    Woodson Research Center Special Collections & Archives – publisher of print and web-based materials highlighting the department’s primary source collections such as the Houston African American, Asian American, and Jewish History Archives, University Archives, rare books, and hip hop/rap music-related materials from the Swishahouse record label and Houston Folk Music Archive, etc.

    Residential colleges

    In 1957, Rice University implemented a residential college system, which was proposed by the university’s first president, Edgar Odell Lovett. The system was inspired by existing systems in place at University of Oxford (UK) and University of Cambridge (UK) and at several other universities in the United States, most notably Yale University (US). The existing residences known as East, South, West, and Wiess Halls became Baker, Will Rice, Hanszen, and Wiess Colleges, respectively.

    Student-run media

    Rice has a weekly student newspaper (The Rice Thresher), a yearbook (The Campanile), college radio station (KTRU Rice Radio), and now defunct, campus-wide student television station (RTV5). They are based out of the RMC student center. In addition, Rice hosts several student magazines dedicated to a range of different topics; in fact, the spring semester of 2008 saw the birth of two such magazines, a literary sex journal called Open and an undergraduate science research magazine entitled Catalyst.

    The Rice Thresher is published every Wednesday and is ranked by Princeton Review as one of the top campus newspapers nationally for student readership. It is distributed around campus, and at a few other local businesses and has a website. The Thresher has a small, dedicated staff and is known for its coverage of campus news, open submission opinion page, and the satirical Backpage, which has often been the center of controversy. The newspaper has won several awards from the College Media Association, Associated Collegiate Press and Texas Intercollegiate Press Association.

    The Rice Campanile was first published in 1916 celebrating Rice’s first graduating class. It has published continuously since then, publishing two volumes in 1944 since the university had two graduating classes due to World War II. The website was created sometime in the early to mid 2000s. The 2015 won the first place Pinnacle for best yearbook from College Media Association.

    KTRU Rice Radio is the student-run radio station. Though most DJs are Rice students, anyone is allowed to apply. It is known for playing genres and artists of music and sound unavailable on other radio stations in Houston, and often, the US. The station takes requests over the phone or online. In 2000 and 2006, KTRU won Houston Press’ Best Radio Station in Houston. In 2003, Rice alum and active KTRU DJ DL’s hip-hip show won Houston PressBest Hip-hop Radio Show. On August 17, 2010, it was announced that Rice University had been in negotiations to sell the station’s broadcast tower, FM frequency and license to the University of Houston System to become a full-time classical music and fine arts programming station. The new station, KUHA, would be operated as a not-for-profit outlet with listener supporters. The FCC approved the sale and granted the transfer of license to the University of Houston System on April 15, 2011, however, KUHA proved to be an even larger failure and so after four and a half years of operation, The University of Houston System announced that KUHA’s broadcast tower, FM frequency and license were once again up for sale in August 2015. KTRU continued to operate much as it did previously, streaming live on the Internet, via apps, and on HD2 radio using the 90.1 signal. Under student leadership, KTRU explored the possibility of returning to FM radio for a number of years. In spring 2015, KTRU was granted permission by the FCC to begin development of a new broadcast signal via LPFM radio. On October 1, 2015, KTRU made its official return to FM radio on the 96.1 signal. While broadcasting on HD2 radio has been discontinued, KTRU continues to broadcast via internet in addition to its LPFM signal.

    RTV5 is a student-run television network available as channel 5 on campus. RTV5 was created initially as Rice Broadcast Television in 1997; RBT began to broadcast the following year in 1998, and aired its first live show across campus in 1999. It experienced much growth and exposure over the years with successful programs like Drinking with Phil, The Meg & Maggie Show, which was a variety and call-in show, a weekly news show, and extensive live coverage in December 2000 of the shut down of KTRU by the administration. In spring 2001, the Rice undergraduate community voted in the general elections to support RBT as a blanket tax organization, effectively providing a yearly income of $10,000 to purchase new equipment and provide the campus with a variety of new programming. In the spring of 2005, RBT members decided the station needed a new image and a new name: Rice Television 5. One of RTV5’s most popular shows was the 24-hour show, where a camera and couch placed in the RMC stayed on air for 24 hours. One such show is held in fall and another in spring, usually during a weekend allocated for visits by prospective students. RTV5 has a video on demand site at rtv5.rice.edu. The station went off the air in 2014 and changed its name to Rice Video Productions. In 2015 the group’s funding was threatened, but ultimately maintained. In 2016 the small student staff requested to no longer be a blanket-tax organization. In the fall of 2017, the club did not register as a club.

    The Rice Review, also known as R2, is a yearly student-run literary journal at Rice University that publishes prose, poetry, and creative nonfiction written by undergraduate students, as well as interviews. The journal was founded in 2004 by creative writing professor and author Justin Cronin.

    The Rice Standard was an independent, student-run variety magazine modeled after such publications as The New Yorker and Harper’s. Prior to fall 2009, it was regularly published three times a semester with a wide array of content, running from analyses of current events and philosophical pieces to personal essays, short fiction and poetry. In August 2009, The Standard transitioned to a completely online format with the launch of their redesigned website, http://www.ricestandard.org. The first website of its kind on Rice’s campus, The Standard featured blog-style content written by and for Rice students. The Rice Standard had around 20 regular contributors, and the site features new content every day (including holidays). In 2017 no one registered The Rice Standard as a club within the university.

    Open, a magazine dedicated to “literary sex content,” predictably caused a stir on campus with its initial publication in spring 2008. A mixture of essays, editorials, stories and artistic photography brought Open attention both on campus and in the Houston Chronicle. The third and last annual edition of Open was released in spring of 2010.

    Athletics

    Rice plays in NCAA Division I athletics and is part of Conference USA. Rice was a member of the Western Athletic Conference before joining Conference USA in 2005. Rice is the second-smallest school, measured by undergraduate enrollment, competing in NCAA Division I FBS football, only ahead of Tulsa.

    The Rice baseball team won the 2003 College World Series, defeating Stanford, giving Rice its only national championship in a team sport. The victory made Rice University the smallest school in 51 years to win a national championship at the highest collegiate level of the sport. The Rice baseball team has played on campus at Reckling Park since the 2000 season. As of 2010, the baseball team has won 14 consecutive conference championships in three different conferences: the final championship of the defunct Southwest Conference, all nine championships while a member of the Western Athletic Conference, and five more championships in its first five years as a member of Conference USA. Additionally, Rice’s baseball team has finished third in both the 2006 and 2007 College World Series tournaments. Rice now has made six trips to Omaha for the CWS. In 2004, Rice became the first school ever to have three players selected in the first eight picks of the MLB draft when Philip Humber, Jeff Niemann, and Wade Townsend were selected third, fourth, and eighth, respectively. In 2007, Joe Savery was selected as the 19th overall pick.

    Rice has been very successful in women’s sports in recent years. In 2004–05, Rice sent its women’s volleyball, soccer, and basketball teams to their respective NCAA tournaments. The women’s swim team has consistently brought at least one member of their team to the NCAA championships since 2013. In 2005–06, the women’s soccer, basketball, and tennis teams advanced, with five individuals competing in track and field. In 2006–07, the Rice women’s basketball team made the NCAA tournament, while again five Rice track and field athletes received individual NCAA berths. In 2008, the women’s volleyball team again made the NCAA tournament. In 2011 the Women’s Swim team won their first conference championship in the history of the university. This was an impressive feat considering they won without having a diving team. The team repeated their C-USA success in 2013 and 2014. In 2017, the women’s basketball team, led by second-year head coach Tina Langley, won the Women’s Basketball Invitational, defeating UNC-Greensboro 74–62 in the championship game at Tudor Fieldhouse. Though not a varsity sport, Rice’s ultimate frisbee women’s team, named Torque, won consecutive Division III national championships in 2014 and 2015.

    In 2006, the football team qualified for its first bowl game since 1961, ending the second-longest bowl drought in the country at the time. On December 22, 2006, Rice played in the New Orleans Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana against the Sun Belt Conference champion, Troy. The Owls lost 41–17. The bowl appearance came after Rice had a 14-game losing streak from 2004–05 and went 1–10 in 2005. The streak followed an internally authorized 2003 McKinsey report that stated football alone was responsible for a $4 million deficit in 2002. Tensions remained high between the athletic department and faculty, as a few professors who chose to voice their opinion were in favor of abandoning the football program. The program success in 2006, the Rice Renaissance, proved to be a revival of the Owl football program, quelling those tensions. David Bailiff took over the program in 2007 and has remained head coach. Jarett Dillard set an NCAA record in 2006 by catching a touchdown pass in 13 consecutive games and took a 15-game overall streak into the 2007 season.

    In 2008, the football team posted a 9-3 regular season, capping off the year with a 38–14 victory over Western Michigan University (US) in the Texas Bowl. The win over Western Michigan marked the Owls’ first bowl win in 45 years.

    Rice Stadium also serves as the performance venue for the university’s Marching Owl Band, or “MOB.” Despite its name, the MOB is a scatter band that focuses on performing humorous skits and routines rather than traditional formation marching.

    Rice Owls men’s basketball won 10 conference titles in the former Southwest Conference (1918, 1935*, 1940, 1942*, 1943*, 1944*, 1945, 1949*, 1954*, 1970; * denotes shared title). Most recently, guard Morris Almond was drafted in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. Rice named former Cal Bears head coach Ben Braun as head basketball coach to succeed Willis Wilson, fired after Rice finished the 2007–2008 season with a winless (0-16) conference record and overall record of 3-27.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:13 pm on January 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Bringing the Sun into the lab", Alfvén waves: solar plasma waves, , At 15 million degrees Celsius the center of our Sun is unimaginably hot., At the Sun’s surface it emits its light in photons at a comparatively moderate 6000 degrees Celsius., Conditions of the magnetic canopy-considered crucial for corona heating-remained inaccessible to experimenters until now., , It is astonishing that temperatures of several million degrees suddenly prevail again in the overlying Sun's corona., Just below the Sun's corona lies the so-called magnetic canopy-a layer in which magnetic fields are aligned largely parallel to the solar surface., , , Solar research, That magnetic fields play a dominant role in heating the Sun's corona is now widely accepted in solar physics., The phenomenon of corona heating remains one of the great mysteries of solar physics., Why the Sun's corona reaches temperatures of several million degrees Celsius is one of the great mysteries of solar physics.   

    From Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) : “Bringing the Sun into the lab” 

    From Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR)

    HZDR is a member of theHelmholtz Association of German Research Centres [Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren] (DE)

    January 3, 2022

    Dr. Frank Stefani
    Institute of Fluid Dynamics at HZDR
    Phone: +49 351 260 3069
    f.stefani@hzdr.de

    Media contact:

    Simon Schmitt | Head
    Communications and Media Relations at HZDR
    Phone: +49 351 260 3400
    s.schmitt@hzdr.de

    Liquid-metal experiment provides insight into the heating mechanism of the Sun’s corona.

    Coronal mass ejections. Credit: National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/Goddard Space Flight Center (US)/ Solar Dynamics Observatory(US).

    1
    A plasma ejection during a solar flare. Immediately after the eruption, cascades of magnetic loops form over the eruption area as the magnetic fields attempt to reorganize.
    Source: NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration Solar Dynamics Observatory(US)

    Why the Sun’s corona reaches temperatures of several million degrees Celsius is one of the great mysteries of solar physics. A “hot” trail to explain this effect leads to a region of the solar atmosphere just below the corona, where sound waves and certain plasma waves travel at the same speed. In an experiment using the molten alkali metal rubidium and pulsed high magnetic fields, a team from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) has developed a laboratory model and for the first time experimentally confirmed the theoretically predicted behavior of these plasma waves – so-called Alfvén waves – as the researchers report in the journal Physical Review Letters.

    At 15 million degrees Celsius the center of our Sun is unimaginably hot. At its surface, it emits its light at a comparatively moderate 6000 degrees Celsius. “It is all the more astonishing that temperatures of several million degrees suddenly prevail again in the overlying Sun’s corona,” says Dr. Frank Stefani. His team conducts research at the HZDR Institute of Fluid Dynamics on the physics of celestial bodies – including our central star. For Stefani, the phenomenon of corona heating remains one of the great mysteries of solar physics, one that keeps running through his mind in the form of a very simple question: “Why is the pot warmer than the stove?”

    That magnetic fields play a dominant role in heating the Sun’s corona is now widely accepted in solar physics. However, it remains controversial whether this effect is mainly due to a sudden change in magnetic field structures in the solar plasma or to the dampening of different types of waves. The new work of the Dresden team focuses on the so-called Alfvén waves that occur below the corona in the hot plasma of the solar atmosphere, which is permeated by magnetic fields. The magnetic fields acting on the ionized particles of the plasma resemble a guitar string, whose playing triggers a wave motion. Just as the pitch of a strummed string increases with its tension, the frequency and propagation speed of the Alfvén wave increases with the strength of the magnetic field.

    “Just below the Sun’s corona lies the so-called magnetic canopy-a layer in which magnetic fields are aligned largely parallel to the solar surface. Here, sound and Alfvén waves have roughly the same speed and can therefore easily morph into each other. We wanted to get to exactly this magic point – where the shock-like transformation of the magnetic energy of the plasma into heat begins,” says Stefani, outlining his team’s goal.

    A dangerous experiment?

    Soon after their prediction in 1942, the Alfvén waves had been detected in first liquid-metal experiments and later studied in detail in elaborate plasma physics facilities. Only the conditions of the magnetic canopy-considered crucial for corona heating- remained inaccessible to experimenters until now. On the one hand, in large plasma experiments the Alfvén speed is typically much higher than the speed of sound. On the other hand, in all liquid-metal experiments to date, it has been significantly lower. The reason for this: the relatively low magnetic field strength of common superconducting coils with constant field of about 20 tesla.

    But what about pulsed magnetic fields, such as those that can be generated at the HZDR’s Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory (HLD) with maximum values of almost 100 tesla? This corresponds to about two million times the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field: Would these extremely high fields allow Alfvén waves to break through the sound barrier? By looking at the properties of liquid metals, it was known in advance that the alkali metal rubidium actually reaches this magic point already at 54 tesla.

    But rubidium ignites spontaneously in air and reacts violently with water. The team therefore initially had doubts as to whether such a dangerous experiment was advisable at all. The doubts were quickly dispelled, recalls Dr. Thomas Herrmannsdörfer of the HLD: “Our energy supply system for operating the pulse magnets converts 50 megajoules in a fraction of a second – with that, we could theoretically get a commercial airliner to take off in a fraction of a second. When I explained to my colleagues that a thousandth of this amount of chemical energy of the liquid rubidium does not worry me very much, their facial expressions visibly brightened.”

    Pulsed through the magnetic sound barrier

    Nevertheless, it was still a rocky road to the successful experiment. Because of the pressures of up to fifty times the atmospheric air pressure generated in the pulsed magnetic field, the rubidium melt had to be enclosed in a sturdy stainless steel container, which an experienced chemist, brought out of retirement, was to fill. By injecting alternating current at the bottom of the container while simultaneously exposing it to the magnetic field, it was finally possible to generate Alfvén waves in the melt, whose upward motion was measured at the expected speed.

    The novelty: while up to the magic field strength of 54 tesla all measurements were dominated by the frequency of the alternating current signal, exactly at this point a new signal with halved frequency appeared. This sudden period doubling was in perfect agreement with the theoretical predictions. The Alfvén waves of Stefani’s team had broken through the sound barrier for the first time. Although not all observed effects can yet be explained so easily, the work contributes an important detail to solving the puzzle of the Sun’s corona heating. For the future, the researchers are planning detailed numerical analyses and further experiments.

    Research on the heating mechanism of the Sun’s corona is also being carried out elsewhere: the Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter space probes are about to gain new insights at close range.

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

    NASA Parker Solar Probe schematic The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab(US)annotated.

    See the full article here.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    HIF_Hauptgebäude

    Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR)(DE) is a Dresden-based research laboratory. It conducts research in three of the Helmholtz Association’s areas: materials, health, and energy. HZDR is a member of theHelmholtz Association of German Research Centres [Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren](DE).

    The Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres (DE) is the largest scientific organisation in Germany. It is a union of 18 scientific-technical and biological-medical research centers. The official mission of the Association is “solving the grand challenges of science, society and industry”. Scientists at Helmholtz therefore focus research on complex systems which affect human life and the environment. The namesake of the association is the German physiologist and physicist Hermann von Helmholtz.

    The annual budget of the Helmholtz Association amounts to €4.56 billion, of which about 72% is raised from public funds. The remaining 28% of the budget is acquired by the 19 individual Helmholtz Centres in the form of contract funding. The public funds are provided by the federal government (90%) and the rest by the States of Germany (10%).

    The Helmholtz Association was ranked #8 in 2015 and #7 in 2017 by the Nature Index, which measures the largest contributors to papers published in 82 leading journals.

    Members of the Helmholtz Association are:

    Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung, AWI), Bremerhaven
    Helmholtz Center for Information Security, CISPA, Saarbrücken
    German Electron Synchrotron (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron, DESY), Hamburg
    German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ), Heidelberg
    German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR), Cologne
    German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen; DZNE), Bonn
    Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) Jülich Research Center, Jülich
    Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, KIT), (formerly Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe), Karlsruhe
    Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, (Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung, HZI), Braunschweig
    GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences (Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam – Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ, Potsdam
    Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon Geesthacht, formerly known as Gesellschaft für Kernenergieverwertung in Schiffbau und Schiffahrt mbH (GKSS)
    Helmholtz München German Research Centre for Environmental Health (HMGU), Neuherberg
    GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research (GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung), Darmstadt
    Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin for Materials and Energy (Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie, HZB), Berlin
    Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung, UFZ), Leipzig
    Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics (Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, IPP), Garching
    Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin in der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft, MDC), Berlin-Buch
    Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) formerly known as Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (FZD) changed 2011 from the Leibniz Association to the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers,[6] Dresden
    Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR) formerly known as Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR)

    Helmholtz Institutes are partnerships between a Helmholtz Center and a university (the institutes are not members of the Helmholtz Association themselves). Examples of Helmholtz Institutes include:

    Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI), Würzburg, established in 2017.

    Programme structure

    The works of the centers are categorised into programmes, which are divided into six research groups. The Helmholtz centers are grouped according to which research group they belong to:

    Energy includes contributions from DLR, KIT, FZJ, GFZ, HZB, HZDR, IPP.
    Topics are Renewable energies, energy efficient conversion, nuclear fusion and nuclear safety.
    Earth and environment is studied at AWI, DLR, FZJ, KIT, HZI, GEOMAR, GFZ, HZG, HMGU, UFZ. Topics are the changing earth, marine, coastal and polar systems, atmosphere and climate, biogeosystems and the topic terrestrial environment.
    Health is studied at the DKFZ, FZJ, KIT, HZI, DZNE HZG, HMGU, GSI, HZB, HZDR, MDC, and UFZ. This includes cancer research, cardio-vascular and metabolic disease research, nervous system, infection and immunity, environmental health studies, comparative genomics for human health.
    Key Technologies are studied at FZJ, KIT, HZG. In a single topic there is cooperations of the HZB.
    Structure of Matter is studied at DESY, FZJ, KIT, HZG, GSI, HZB, HZDR. Topics are elementary and astroparticle physics, hadrons and nuclear physics, PNI-research (research with Photons, Neutrons and Ions), aeronautics, space and transport research.
    Aeronautics, Space and Transport is studied at DLR. Major research topics are mobility, information systems and communication.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:28 pm on December 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Coronal rain on a cold star?", Solar research, The Eberly College of Science (US)   

    From The Eberly College of Science at The Pennsylvania State University (US) : “Coronal rain on a cold star?” 

    From The Eberly College of Science (US)

    2

    at

    Penn State Bloc

    The Pennsylvania State University (US)

    December 17, 2021

    Suvrath Mahadevan
    suvrath@astro.psu.edu
    Work Phone: +1 814-865-0261

    Sam Sholtis
    sjs144@psu.edu
    Work Phone: 814-865-1390

    Observations of a distant stellar flare could contain the first evidence of coronal rain on a cool, small M-dwarf star.

    2
    Coronal rain on the sun with Earth superimposed for scale. New high-resolution spectrographic observations of a flare on a faint distant star using the Penn State Habitable-zone Planet Finder could contain the first evidence of a similar phenomenon on an ultracool, small M-dwarf star. Credit: NASA/SDO. All Rights Reserved.

    NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory

    High-resolution spectroscopic observations of a stellar flare on a small, cool star indicate the possibility of coronal rain, a phenomenon that has been observed on our sun but not yet confirmed on a star of this size. This faint star, known as vB 10, which is about a tenth the size of the sun and produces less than 1% of the sun’s energy, was studied using the Penn State Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF) at the large Hobby Eberly Telescope (with its 10 m mirror).

    U Texas McDonald Observatory Hobby-Eberly 9.1 meter Telescope, Altitude 2,070 m (6,790 ft)

    These observations with the HPF spectrograph allowed researchers to measure a shift in the wavelength of certain atomic lines from the flare that are consistent with hot plasma raining back down on the star’s surface and are similar to observations of coronal rain from the sun.

    A paper describing the observations, by a team led by Penn State scientists, includes a time-series analysis of the flare and could help astronomers put constraints on the energy and frequency of such events. The paper has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.

    “As the name suggests, the Habitable-zone Planet Finder was designed to detect planets by looking for shifts in the light spectra from M-dwarf stars that result from the star ‘wobbling’ under the gravitational pull of orbiting planets,” said Larry Ramsey, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State and an author of the paper. “But we knew from the start that we might learn more about stellar activity from these spectra than we do about planets.”

    The star is classified as an “ultracool dwarf” — it is close in size to Jupiter — and is among the smallest stars that can still fuse hydrogen to helium. It was observed by HPF as part of its normal, planet-hunting operations but subsequent analysis revealed a huge spike in the star’s emissions consistent with a stellar flare.

    Flares are short-lived, intense eruptions of energy on stellar surfaces. Astronomers don’t know exactly what causes them, but the current best hypothesis is that when magnetic field lines on stellar surfaces rupture and reconnect they release a lot of energy, some of which is converted to thermal energy which accelerates ions and electrons on the star to extreme speeds. Some of the gas near the event rushes back toward the star’s surface and some is shot out above the flare.

    “Stellar flares are common on M-dwarf stars,” said Shubham Kanodia, a graduate student at Penn State and lead author of the paper. “But because of the high-resolution of the HPF spectrograph, we were able to detect some unusual characteristics in the spectra from this flare.”

    HPF detected emission from several atoms that were excited to high energy states by the flare. In particular, emission lines from the atomic transitions of helium atoms showed a slight shift toward longer wavelengths, known as a “red shift.” This shift shows that the excited atoms that emitted this light, were falling towards the star with a velocity of about 70 kilometers per second.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Penn State Campus

    The Eberly College of Science is the science college of Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1859 by Jacob S. Whitman, professor of natural science. The College offers baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in the basic sciences. It was named after Robert E. Eberly.

    Academics
    Eberly College of Science offers sixteen majors in four disciplines: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Mathematical Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies.[2]
    • The Life Sciences: Biology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Biotechnology, Microbiology
    • The Physical Sciences: Astronomy & Astrophysics, Chemistry, Physics, Planetary Science and Astronomy
    • The Mathematical Sciences: Mathematics, Statistics, Data Sciences
    • Interdisciplinary Programs: General Science, Forensic Science, Premedicine, Integrated Premedical-Medical, Science BS/MBA

    The Pennsylvania State University (US) is a public state-related land-grant research university with campuses and facilities throughout Pennsylvania. Founded in 1855 as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania, Penn State became the state’s only land-grant university in 1863. Today, Penn State is a major research university which conducts teaching, research, and public service. Its instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education offered through resident instruction and online delivery. In addition to its land-grant designation, it also participates in the sea-grant, space-grant, and sun-grant research consortia; it is one of only four such universities (along with Cornell University(US), Oregon State University(US), and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa(US)). Its University Park campus, which is the largest and serves as the administrative hub, lies within the Borough of State College and College Township. It has two law schools: Penn State Law, on the school’s University Park campus, and Dickinson Law, in Carlisle. The College of Medicine is in Hershey. Penn State is one university that is geographically distributed throughout Pennsylvania. There are 19 commonwealth campuses and 5 special mission campuses located across the state. The University Park campus has been labeled one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

    Annual enrollment at the University Park campus totals more than 46,800 graduate and undergraduate students, making it one of the largest universities in the United States. It has the world’s largest dues-paying alumni association. The university offers more than 160 majors among all its campuses.

    Annually, the university hosts the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), which is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy. This event is held at the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus. The university’s athletics teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Penn State Nittany Lions, competing in the Big Ten Conference for most sports. Penn State students, alumni, faculty and coaches have received a total of 54 Olympic medals.

    Early years

    The school was sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society and founded as a degree-granting institution on February 22, 1855, by Pennsylvania’s state legislature as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania. The use of “college” or “university” was avoided because of local prejudice against such institutions as being impractical in their courses of study. Centre County, Pennsylvania, became the home of the new school when James Irvin of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, donated 200 acres (0.8 km2) of land – the first of 10,101 acres (41 km^2) the school would eventually acquire. In 1862, the school’s name was changed to the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania, and with the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Acts, Pennsylvania selected the school in 1863 to be the state’s sole land-grant college. The school’s name changed to the Pennsylvania State College in 1874; enrollment fell to 64 undergraduates the following year as the school tried to balance purely agricultural studies with a more classic education.

    George W. Atherton became president of the school in 1882, and broadened the curriculum. Shortly after he introduced engineering studies, Penn State became one of the ten largest engineering schools in the nation. Atherton also expanded the liberal arts and agriculture programs, for which the school began receiving regular appropriations from the state in 1887. A major road in State College has been named in Atherton’s honor. Additionally, Penn State’s Atherton Hall, a well-furnished and centrally located residence hall, is named not after George Atherton himself, but after his wife, Frances Washburn Atherton. His grave is in front of Schwab Auditorium near Old Main, marked by an engraved marble block in front of his statue.

    Early 20th century

    In the years that followed, Penn State grew significantly, becoming the state’s largest grantor of baccalaureate degrees and reaching an enrollment of 5,000 in 1936. Around that time, a system of commonwealth campuses was started by President Ralph Dorn Hetzel to provide an alternative for Depression-era students who were economically unable to leave home to attend college.

    In 1953, President Milton S. Eisenhower, brother of then-U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, sought and won permission to elevate the school to university status as The Pennsylvania State University. Under his successor Eric A. Walker (1956–1970), the university acquired hundreds of acres of surrounding land, and enrollment nearly tripled. In addition, in 1967, the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, a college of medicine and hospital, was established in Hershey with a $50 million gift from the Hershey Trust Company.

    Modern era

    In the 1970s, the university became a state-related institution. As such, it now belongs to the Commonwealth System of Higher Education. In 1975, the lyrics in Penn State’s alma mater song were revised to be gender-neutral in honor of International Women’s Year; the revised lyrics were taken from the posthumously-published autobiography of the writer of the original lyrics, Fred Lewis Pattee, and Professor Patricia Farrell acted as a spokesperson for those who wanted the change.

    In 1989, the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport joined ranks with the university, and in 2000, so did the Dickinson School of Law. The university is now the largest in Pennsylvania. To offset the lack of funding due to the limited growth in state appropriations to Penn State, the university has concentrated its efforts on philanthropy.

    Research

    Penn State is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. Over 10,000 students are enrolled in the university’s graduate school (including the law and medical schools), and over 70,000 degrees have been awarded since the school was founded in 1922.

    Penn State’s research and development expenditure has been on the rise in recent years. For fiscal year 2013, according to institutional rankings of total research expenditures for science and engineering released by the National Science Foundation (US), Penn State stood second in the nation, behind only Johns Hopkins University (US) and tied with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), in the number of fields in which it is ranked in the top ten. Overall, Penn State ranked 17th nationally in total research expenditures across the board. In 12 individual fields, however, the university achieved rankings in the top ten nationally. The fields and sub-fields in which Penn State ranked in the top ten are materials (1st), psychology (2nd), mechanical engineering (3rd), sociology (3rd), electrical engineering (4th), total engineering (5th), aerospace engineering (8th), computer science (8th), agricultural sciences (8th), civil engineering (9th), atmospheric sciences (9th), and earth sciences (9th). Moreover, in eleven of these fields, the university has repeated top-ten status every year since at least 2008. For fiscal year 2011, the National Science Foundation reported that Penn State had spent $794.846 million on R&D and ranked 15th among U.S. universities and colleges in R&D spending.

    For the 2008–2009 fiscal year, Penn State was ranked ninth among U.S. universities by the National Science Foundation, with $753 million in research and development spending for science and engineering. During the 2015–2016 fiscal year, Penn State received $836 million in research expenditures.

    The Applied Research Lab (ARL), located near the University Park campus, has been a research partner with the Department of Defense (US) since 1945 and conducts research primarily in support of the United States Navy. It is the largest component of Penn State’s research efforts statewide, with over 1,000 researchers and other staff members.

    The Materials Research Institute was created to coordinate the highly diverse and growing materials activities across Penn State’s University Park campus. With more than 200 faculty in 15 departments, 4 colleges, and 2 Department of Defense research laboratories, MRI was designed to break down the academic walls that traditionally divide disciplines and enable faculty to collaborate across departmental and even college boundaries. MRI has become a model for this interdisciplinary approach to research, both within and outside the university. Dr. Richard E. Tressler was an international leader in the development of high-temperature materials. He pioneered high-temperature fiber testing and use, advanced instrumentation and test methodologies for thermostructural materials, and design and performance verification of ceramics and composites in high-temperature aerospace, industrial, and energy applications. He was founding director of the Center for Advanced Materials (CAM), which supported many faculty and students from the College of Earth and Mineral Science, the Eberly College of Science, the College of Engineering, the Materials Research Laboratory and the Applied Research Laboratories at Penn State on high-temperature materials. His vision for Interdisciplinary research played a key role in creating the Materials Research Institute, and the establishment of Penn State as an acknowledged leader among major universities in materials education and research.

    The university was one of the founding members of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), a partnership that includes 17 research-led universities in the United States, Asia, and Europe. The network provides funding, facilitates collaboration between universities, and coordinates exchanges of faculty members and graduate students among institutions. Former Penn State president Graham Spanier is a former vice-chair of the WUN.

    The Pennsylvania State University Libraries were ranked 14th among research libraries in North America in the 2003–2004 survey released by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The university’s library system began with a 1,500-book library in Old Main. In 2009, its holdings had grown to 5.2 million volumes, in addition to 500,000 maps, five million microforms, and 180,000 films and videos.

    The university’s College of Information Sciences and Technology is the home of CiteSeerX, an open-access repository and search engine for scholarly publications. The university is also the host to the Radiation Science & Engineering Center, which houses the oldest operating university research reactor. Additionally, University Park houses the Graduate Program in Acoustics, the only freestanding acoustics program in the United States. The university also houses the Center for Medieval Studies, a program that was founded to research and study the European Middle Ages, and the Center for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE), one of the first centers established to research postsecondary education.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:56 pm on December 14, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Spacecraft enters sun’s corona for the first time in history", A key instrument onboard the probe: the Solar Probe Cup. The cup collects particles from the sun’s atmosphere that helped scientists verify that the spacecraft had indeed crossed into the corona., , Solar research, The Alfvén point is when solar winds exceed a critical speed and can break free of the corona and the sun’s magnetic fields., The Alfvén point: the outer boundary, , The Parker Solar Probe   

    From The Harvard Gazette (US) : “Spacecraft enters sun’s corona for the first time in history” 

    From The Harvard Gazette (US)

    At

    Harvard University (US)

    December 14, 2021
    Nadia Whitehead

    1
    Artist’s conception of The Parker Solar Probe | NASA (US) spacecraft approaching the sun. Credit: Steve Gribben The National Aeronautics and Space Agency(US)/The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (US)/

    Harvard-led team engineered key instrument to verify craft crossed over into the 2 million degrees F environment

    A spacecraft launched by NASA has done what was once thought impossible. On April 28, the Parker Solar Probe successfully entered the corona of the sun — an extreme environment that’s roughly 2 million degrees Fahrenheit.

    The historic moment was achieved thanks to a large collaboration of scientists and engineers, including members of The Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (US) who built and monitor a key instrument onboard the probe: the Solar Probe Cup. The cup collects particles from the sun’s atmosphere that helped scientists verify that the spacecraft had indeed crossed into the corona.

    “The goal of this entire mission is to learn how the sun works. We can accomplish this by flying into the solar atmosphere,” says Michael Stevens, an astrophysicist at the CfA who helps monitor the cup. “The only way to do that is for the spacecraft to cross the outer boundary, which scientists call the Alfvén point. So, a basic part of this mission is to be able to measure whether or not we crossed this critical point.”

    The corona is the outermost layer of the sun’s atmosphere where strong magnetic fields bind plasma and prevent turbulent solar winds from escape. The Alfvén point is when solar winds exceed a critical speed and can break free of the corona and the sun’s magnetic fields. Prior to April 28, the spacecraft had been flying just beyond this point.

    “If you look at close-up pictures of the sun, sometimes you’ll see these bright loops or hairs that seem to break free from the sun but then reconnect with it,” Stevens explains. “That’s the region we’ve flown into — an area where the plasma, atmosphere and wind are magnetically stuck and interacting with the sun.”

    “The goal of this entire mission is to learn how the sun works. We can accomplish this by flying into the solar atmosphere,” says Michael Stevens, an astrophysicist at the CfA who helps monitor the cup. “The only way to do that is for the spacecraft to cross the outer boundary, which scientists call the Alfvén point. So, a basic part of this mission is to be able to measure whether or not we crossed this critical point.”

    The corona is the outermost layer of the sun’s atmosphere where strong magnetic fields bind plasma and prevent turbulent solar winds from escape. The Alfvén point is when solar winds exceed a critical speed and can break free of the corona and the sun’s magnetic fields. Prior to April 28, the spacecraft had been flying just beyond this point.

    “If you look at close-up pictures of the sun, sometimes you’ll see these bright loops or hairs that seem to break free from the sun but then reconnect with it,” Stevens explains. “That’s the region we’ve flown into — an area where the plasma, atmosphere and wind are magnetically stuck and interacting with the sun.”

    According to data collected by the cup, the spacecraft entered the corona three times on April 28, at one point for up to five hours. A scientific paper describing the milestone has been accepted for publication in the Physical Review Letters.

    CfA astrophysicist Anthony Case, the instrument scientist for the Solar Probe Cup, says the instrument itself is an incredible feat of engineering.

    “The amount of light hitting the Parker Solar Probe determines how hot the spacecraft will get,” Case explains. “While much of the probe is protected by a heat shield, our cup is one of only two instruments that stick out and have no protection. It’s directly exposed to the sunlight and operating at a very high temperature while it’s making these measurements; it’s literally red-hot, with parts of the instrument at more than 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit [1,000 degrees Celsius], and glowing red-orange.”

    To avoid degradation, the device is constructed of materials that have high melting points, like tungsten, niobium, molybdenum and sapphire.

    But the success of the Parker Solar Probe represents much more than technological innovation. There are many mysteries about Earth’s closest star that scientists are hoping the probe can help solve.

    For example, “We don’t actually know why the outer atmosphere of the Sun is so much hotter than the sun itself,” Stevens says. “The sun is 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit [5,500 degrees Celsius], but its atmosphere is about 3.6 million degrees Fahrenheit [2 million degrees Celsius].”

    He adds, “We know that the energy comes from the churning magnetic fields bubbling up through the surface of the sun, but we do not know how the sun’s atmosphere absorbs this energy.”

    In addition, outbursts from the Sun, like solar flares and high-speed solar winds, can have a direct impact on Earth, disrupting power grids and radio communication.

    The Parker Solar Probe can help better understand all these phenomena as it continues to orbit the sun and take measurements and data for scientists to analyze here on Earth.

    Case says, “The plasma around the Sun can act as a laboratory that teaches us about processes taking place in almost every astronomical object across the entire universe.”

    The historic achievement of the Parker Solar Probe was announced at a press conference on Tuesday at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The press conference panel included former CfA scientist Justin Kasper and Kelly Korreck who is currently on rotation at NASA headquarters. Both worked on the probe during their tenure at the CfA.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Harvard University campus

    Harvard University (US) is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s bestknown landmark.

    Harvard University (US) has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.

    The Massachusetts colonial legislature, the General Court, authorized Harvard University (US)’s founding. In its early years, Harvard College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy, although it has never been formally affiliated with any denomination. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century, Harvard University (US) had emerged as the central cultural establishment among the Boston elite. Following the American Civil War, President Charles William Eliot’s long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900. James B. Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II; he liberalized admissions after the war.

    The university is composed of ten academic faculties plus the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Arts and Sciences offers study in a wide range of academic disciplines for undergraduates and for graduates, while the other faculties offer only graduate degrees, mostly professional. Harvard has three main campuses: the 209-acre (85 ha) Cambridge campus centered on Harvard Yard; an adjoining campus immediately across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston; and the medical campus in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. Harvard University (US)’s endowment is valued at $41.9 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution. Endowment income helps enable the undergraduate college to admit students regardless of financial need and provide generous financial aid with no loans The Harvard Library is the world’s largest academic library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding about 20.4 million items.

    Harvard University (US) has more alumni, faculty, and researchers who have won Nobel Prizes (161) and Fields Medals (18) than any other university in the world and more alumni who have been members of the U.S. Congress, MacArthur Fellows, Rhodes Scholars (375), and Marshall Scholars (255) than any other university in the United States. Its alumni also include eight U.S. presidents and 188 living billionaires, the most of any university. Fourteen Turing Award laureates have been Harvard affiliates. Students and alumni have also won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 108 Olympic medals (46 gold), and they have founded many notable companies.

    Colonial

    Harvard University (US) was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1638, it acquired British North America’s first known printing press. In 1639, it was named Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge(UK) who had left the school £779 and his library of some 400 volumes. The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.

    A 1643 publication gave the school’s purpose as “to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.” It trained many Puritan ministers in its early years and offered a classic curriculum based on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge—but conformed to the tenets of Puritanism. Harvard University (US) has never affiliated with any particular denomination, though many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches.

    Increase Mather served as president from 1681 to 1701. In 1708, John Leverett became the first president who was not also a clergyman, marking a turning of the college away from Puritanism and toward intellectual independence.

    19th century

    In the 19th century, Enlightenment ideas of reason and free will were widespread among Congregational ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties. When Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and President Joseph Willard died a year later, a struggle broke out over their replacements. Henry Ware was elected to the Hollis chair in 1805, and the liberal Samuel Webber was appointed to the presidency two years later, signaling the shift from the dominance of traditional ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas.

    Charles William Eliot, president 1869–1909, eliminated the favored position of Christianity from the curriculum while opening it to student self-direction. Though Eliot was the crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions influenced by William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    20th century

    In the 20th century, Harvard University (US)’s reputation grew as a burgeoning endowment and prominent professors expanded the university’s scope. Rapid enrollment growth continued as new graduate schools were begun and the undergraduate college expanded. Radcliffe College, established in 1879 as the female counterpart of Harvard College, became one of the most prominent schools for women in the United States. Harvard University (US) became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.

    The student body in the early decades of the century was predominantly “old-stock, high-status Protestants, especially Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians.” A 1923 proposal by President A. Lawrence Lowell that Jews be limited to 15% of undergraduates was rejected, but Lowell did ban blacks from freshman dormitories.

    President James B. Conant reinvigorated creative scholarship to guarantee Harvard University (US)’s preeminence among research institutions. He saw higher education as a vehicle of opportunity for the talented rather than an entitlement for the wealthy, so Conant devised programs to identify, recruit, and support talented youth. In 1943, he asked the faculty to make a definitive statement about what general education ought to be, at the secondary as well as at the college level. The resulting Report, published in 1945, was one of the most influential manifestos in 20th century American education.

    Between 1945 and 1960, admissions were opened up to bring in a more diverse group of students. No longer drawing mostly from select New England prep schools, the undergraduate college became accessible to striving middle class students from public schools; many more Jews and Catholics were admitted, but few blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, Harvard became more diverse.

    Harvard University (US)’s graduate schools began admitting women in small numbers in the late 19th century. During World War II, students at Radcliffe College (which since 1879 had been paying Harvard University (US) professors to repeat their lectures for women) began attending Harvard University (US) classes alongside men. Women were first admitted to the medical school in 1945. Since 1971, Harvard University (US) has controlled essentially all aspects of undergraduate admission, instruction, and housing for Radcliffe women. In 1999, Radcliffe was formally merged into Harvard University (US).

    21st century

    Drew Gilpin Faust, previously the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, became Harvard University (US)’s first woman president on July 1, 2007. She was succeeded by Lawrence Bacow on July 1, 2018.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:47 pm on November 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , "Study suggests Sun is likely an unaccounted source of the Earth's water", , , , Solar research   

    From Curtin University (AU) via phys.org : “Study suggests Sun is likely an unaccounted source of the Earth’s water” 

    From Curtin University (AU)

    via

    phys.org

    1
    Graphic of the sun, solar winds and itokawa. Credit: Curtin University.

    A University of Glasgow (SCT)-led international team of researchers including those from Curtin’s Space Science and Technology Center (SSTC) found the solar wind, comprised of charged particles from the Sun largely made of hydrogen ions, created water on the surface of dust grains carried on asteroids that smashed into the Earth during the early days of the Solar System.

    Solar winds-Sun’s coronal holes release solar winds towards Earth. National Geophysical Data Cantre.

    SSTC Director, John Curtin Distinguished Professor Phil Bland said the Earth was very water-rich compared to other rocky planets in the Solar System, with oceans covering more than 70 percent of its surface, and scientists had long puzzled over the exact source of it all.

    “An existing theory is that water was carried to Earth in the final stages of its formation on C-type asteroids, however previous testing of the isotopic ‘fingerprint’ of these asteroids found they, on average, didn’t match with the water found on Earth meaning there was at least one other unaccounted for source,” Professor Bland said.

    “Our research suggests the solar wind created water on the surface of tiny dust grains and this isotopically lighter water likely provided the remainder of the Earth’s water.

    “This new solar wind theory is based on meticulous atom-by-atom analysis of miniscule fragments of an S-type near-Earth asteroid known as Itokawa, samples of which were collected by the Japanese space probe Hayabusa and returned to Earth in 2010.

    Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) (国立研究開発法人宇宙航空研究開発機構](JP) Hayabusa2

    “Our world-class atom probe tomography system here at Curtin University allowed us to take an incredibly detailed look inside the first 50 nanometres or so of the surface of Itokawa dust grains, which we found contained enough water that, if scaled up, would amount to about 20 liters for every cubic meter of rock.”

    Curtin graduate Dr. Luke Daly, now of the University of Glasgow, said the research not only gives scientists a remarkable insight into the past source of Earth’s water, but could also help future space missions.

    “How astronauts would get sufficient water, without carrying supplies, is one of the barriers of future space exploration,” Dr. Daly said.

    “Our research shows that the same space weathering process which created water on Itokawa likely occurred on other airless planets, meaning astronauts may be able to process fresh supplies of water straight from the dust on a planet’s surface, such as the Moon.”

    The paper was published in Nature Astronomy.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Curtin University (AU) (formerly known as Curtin University of Technology and Western Australian Institute of Technology) is an Australian public research university based in Bentley and Perth, Western Australia. The university is named after the 14th Prime Minister of Australia, John Curtin, and is the largest university in Western Australia, with over 58,000 students (as of 2016).

    Curtin would like to pay respect to the indigenous members of our community by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which the Perth campus is located, the Wadjuk people of the Nyungar Nation; and on our Kalgoorlie campus, the Wongutha people of the North-Eastern Goldfields.

    Curtin was conferred university status after legislation was passed by the Parliament of Western Australia in 1986. Since then, the university has been expanding its presence and has campuses in Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai and Mauritius. It has ties with 90 exchange universities in 20 countries. The University comprises five main faculties with over 95 specialists centres. The University formerly had a Sydney campus between 2005 & 2016. On 17 September 2015, Curtin University Council made a decision to close its Sydney campus by early 2017.

    Curtin University is a member of Australian Technology Network (ATN), and is active in research in a range of academic and practical fields, including Resources and Energy (e.g., petroleum gas), Information and Communication, Health, Ageing and Well-being (Public Health), Communities and Changing Environments, Growth and Prosperity and Creative Writing.

    It is the only Western Australian university to produce a PhD recipient of the AINSE gold medal, which is the highest recognition for PhD-level research excellence in Australia and New Zealand.

    Curtin has become active in research and partnerships overseas, particularly in mainland China. It is involved in a number of business, management, and research projects, particularly in supercomputing, where the university participates in a tri-continental array with nodes in Perth, Beijing, and Edinburgh. Western Australia has become an important exporter of minerals, petroleum and natural gas. The Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited the Woodside-funded hydrocarbon research facility during his visit to Australia in 2005.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:19 pm on November 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Solar Flare Warning-Geomagnetic Storm Could Reach Earth and Peak Sunday. Second Coronal Hole a Possibility", , , Solar research   

    From Science Times : “Solar Flare Warning-Geomagnetic Storm Could Reach Earth and Peak Sunday. Second Coronal Hole a Possibility” 

    Science Times

    From Science Times

    Nov 26, 2021
    Margaret Davis

    A solar flare, also known as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), was spotted on November 24 that is thought to have delivered a “glancing blow,” Science Times previously reported.

    Solar winds-Sun’s coronal holes release solar winds towards Earth. National Geophysical Data Cantre.

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

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US) Solar Dynamics Observatory(US)

    Solar flares are common, although not all of them travel towards Earth. However, once they do, they can be disruptive to satellites and power grids.

    According to NOAA / The NWS Space Weather Prediction Center (US), some solar flares can be massive and could travel at speeds between 155mi-1864mi (250km-3,000km) a second. They likened it to a 50,000-mile-long canyon with towering red hot plasma.

    When Will the Solar Storm Hit Earth?

    Experts warned that the CME unleashed by the Sun is expected to make a sideswipe on the planet’s magnetic field, The Mirror reported. More so, minor storms could affect some equipment on Earth and possibly make aurora visible in some places in the northern hemisphere, hence the name northern lights.

    Despite the imminent danger that may cause damage to satellites and power grids, experts said that there is no reason to worry and noted that any effects are likely to be very limited and are expected to cause minor disruption.

    The Met Office-Weather and climate change (UK), the UK’s national weather service, said that the CME would likely arrive late on Saturday and peak on early Sunday.

    Scientists Expect a Second Coronal Hole That Will Bring Minimal Disruptions

    Scientists measure the intensity of solar storms on a G-scale in which the stronger the storm, the more likely northern lights will be seen even further in the southern hemisphere. The recent solar storm from the Sun that released a canyon of hot plasma is thought to have a 30% chance of becoming a minor G1 class solar storm, according to a report by The Independent.

    G1 class storms could cause minor disruptions, such as disruptions in satellite operations. The next level is the G2 class that is twice as powerful as the G1, and so on.

    Some solar storms could even reach up to G5 class, the strongest geomagnetic storm classification. It could occur four times within 11 years or equivalent to one solar cycle and cause complete blackouts and degrading of satellite navigation. One event with the G5 class was recorded in 1859 that burned down telephone lines and caused aurora or Northern lights visible as far down as the Caribbean.

    The Met Office warns that there could be some more geomagnetic activity than expected if there is a second coronal hole that could cause similar effects sometime in the future. Although, they said that it is still unclear how likely and when it will arrive on the planet. On the other hand, they expect its effects to be minimal, just like the current solar storm.


    What If a Massive Solar Storm Hit the Earth?

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    About Us

    The Science Hub For The Internet…

    Sciencetimes.com prides itself in providing a complete informational and content package for science enthusiasts in the web who aim to remain updated and well-informed regarding a wide array of topics of their interest.

    We provide credible news & info., in-depth reference material about diverse subjects that matter to everyone. We are a source for original and timely science and research information as well as breaking news in the various fields we represent.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:03 am on November 19, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Solar Orbiter returns to Earth before starting its main science mission", Solar research,   

    From The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) : “Solar Orbiter returns to Earth before starting its main science mission” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency – United Space in Europe (EU)

    From The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)

    18/11/2021

    Solar Orbiter [below] is returning to Earth for a flyby before starting its main science mission to explore the Sun and its connection to ‘space weather’. During the flyby Solar Orbiter must pass through the clouds of space debris that surround our planet, making this maneuver the riskiest flyby yet for a science mission.

    Navigating risk

    Solar Orbiter’s Earth flyby takes place on 27 November. At 04:30 GMT (05:30 CET) on that day, the spacecraft will be at its closest approach, just 460 km above North Africa and the Canary Islands. This is almost as close as the orbit of the International Space Station.

    The maneuver is essential to decrease the energy of the spacecraft and line it up for its next close pass of the Sun but it comes with a risk. The spacecraft must pass through two orbital regions, each of which is populated with space debris.

    1
    Artist impression of Solar Orbiter’s Earth flyby through the two clouds of space debris in Low Earth Orbit and Geostationary orbit.
    A more detailed and annotated version of this infographic is available
    here.
    © ESA

    3
    Solar Orbiter’s riskiest flyby.

    The first is the geostationary ring of satellites at 36 000 km, and the second is the collection of low Earth orbits at around 400 km. As a result, there is a small risk of a collision. Solar Orbiter’s operations team are monitoring the situation very closely and will alter the spacecraft’s trajectory if it appears to be in any danger.

    Earth science opportunity

    On the plus side, the flyby offers a unique opportunity to study the Earth’s magnetic field. This is a subject of intense interest because the magnetic field is our atmosphere’s interface with the solar wind, the constant ‘wind’ of particles given off by the Sun. Not only can particles from the solar wind penetrate the magnetic field and spark the aurora in our skies, but atoms from our atmosphere can also be lost into space.

    The details of these interactions are being studied by two ESA missions: Cluster’s four satellites at 60 000 km in altitude and Swarm’s three spacecraft at 400 km.

    ESA/Cluster quartet.

    ESA/Swarm

    Multiple spacecraft are needed to break the so-called space-time ambiguity. This is the name given to the uncertainty over whether a change has taken place because a spacecraft has flown into a different region with different conditions (a change in space) or is flying through a region that changes its conditions (a change in time).


    Solar Orbiter’s Earth flyby

    Solar Orbiter’s flyby offers a unique opportunity to take even more data. It will sweep into the Earth’s magnetic field from out beyond Clusters orbit, approach Swarm’s orbit at closest approach and then fly back out again. This will provide even more data points from which to reconstruct the condition and behaviour of Earth’s magnetic field during the flyby.

    “This flyby is exciting: seeing what Solar Orbiter sees in our part of space, and how that compares to what we are seeing, and if there are surprises, what are they?” says Anja Strømme, Swarm Mission Manager.

    Cruise phase complete

    The flyby marks a major milestone for Solar Orbiter. From its launch in February 2020 to July of that year, the spacecraft was in its commissioning phase, during which the scientists and engineers tested out the spacecraft and its instruments. From July 2020 to now, Solar Orbiter has been in the cruise phase. During this time, the in-situ instruments have been taking measurements of the solar wind and other conditions around the spacecraft, while the remote sensing instruments designed to look at the Sun have been in their extended calibration and characterisation mode.

    Despite Solar Orbiter not yet being in full science mode, a lot of science has been produced.

    “Scientifically, this exceeded our expectations by a large margin,” says Daniel Müller, Solar Orbiter Project Scientist. He explains that an upgrade to the ESA Ground Station Network allowed Solar Orbiter to send more data than expected back to Earth, and the mission’s scientists have been quick to take advantage. More than fifty papers detailing Solar Orbiter’s cruise phase science results are to be published in December by the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    Closer to the Sun

    Now, however, it is time to start operating the two sets of instruments together as the mission shifts into the main science phase, and the anticipation is palpable. In March, Solar Orbiter will make a close pass to the Sun, called perihelion. Its first perihelion took place in June 2020, with the spacecraft closing to 77 million kilometres. This time, Solar Orbiter will draw to within 50 million kilometres – providing a significant boost to the science that can be done.

    “This will be at a third of the distance between the Sun and Earth. So compared to all the interesting high resolution images that we’ve already gotten everything now will be zoomed in by about a factor of two,” says Daniel.

    This includes new views of the enigmatic ‘campfires’ that Solar Orbiter saw at the first perihelion. The campfires could hold clues about how the Sun’s outer atmosphere has a temperature of millions of degrees, while the surface has a temperature of thousands – which seemingly defies physics because heat should not be able to flow from a colder to a hotter object.

    And while Solar Orbiter is not going as close to the Sun as NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, this is by design because it allows Solar Orbiter to not only measure what is happening in the solar wind, but to also carry telescopes that can look at the Sun without being destroyed by the heat.

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

    The two data sets can then be compared to link activity on the Sun’s surface to the space weather around the spacecraft.

    “This linkage science is what I find most exciting,” says Yannis Zouganelis, Solar Orbiter Deputy Project Scientist.

    Observing challenge

    But before any of this takes place, Solar Orbiter must complete its flyby of Earth. And this presents an opportunity for eagle-eyed sky watchers to bid a final farewell to the spacecraft before it heads forever into deep space.

    In the moments leading up to closest approach, skywatchers in the Canaries and North Africa could catch a brief glimpse of the spacecraft speeding through the sky. It will be travelling at about 0.3 degrees per second, which is just over half the apparent diameter of the Moon every second. For most observers it will be too faint to spot with the unaided eye, and too fast for telescopes to track, so binoculars should provide the best chance of catching a glimpse.

    When Solar Orbiter re-emerges from the Earth’s shadow it will be on course for its rendezvous with the Sun and the never-before-seen solar polar regions. The science phase of this ambition mission will have begun.

    3
    Solar Orbiter: Answering the big questions

    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 [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 [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US) 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(US), 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
    École des hautes études commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris)
    Université de recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres
    University of Central Lancashire

    Membership and contribution to ESA

    By 2015, ESA was an intergovernmental organisation 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 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 organisations

    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(US)

    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(US)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/ASI Italian Space Agency [Agenzia Spaziale Italiana](IT) Cassini Spacecraft.

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Integral spacecraft

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) SOHO satellite. Launched in 1995.

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

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)/European Space Agency [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(USA)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] 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 [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US) 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(CN) has sought international partnerships. ESA is, beside the Russian Space Agency, 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 [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.
    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 11:11 am on November 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NASA selects CubeSat to assess the origins of hot plasma in the Sun's corona", , A solar flare happens because the magnetic field in that active region has become so twisted and tangled that it basically 'snaps' back into a less tangled shape., , CubIXSS will determine the origins of hot plasma—highly ionized gas—in solar flares and active regions., Measuring the elemental composition of multimillion-degree plasmas in the Sun's corona—its outermost atmosphere., Solar research, The Southwest Research Institute (US), The SwRI-designed CubeSat Imaging X-Ray Solar Spectrometer (CubIXSS)   

    From The Southwest Research Institute (US) via phys.org : “NASA selects CubeSat to assess the origins of hot plasma in the Sun’s corona” 

    SwRI bloc

    From The Southwest Research Institute (US)

    via

    phys.org

    November 1, 2021

    1
    Simulations of what the CubIXSS imaging spectrometer will see during one minute of a solar flare (top) and over one hour from an active region. At the top of the detector, four images of the Sun are taken through different filters that block different X-ray wavelengths (“colors”). At the bottom of the detector, the entire X-ray spectrum from each point on the Sun spreads out sideways, allowing a detailed measurement of the temperature and composition of plasma at each point in the corona. (The solar images are rotated so the solar north pole points to the right.). Credit: SwRI.

    2
    The CubeSat Imaging X-ray Solar Spectrometer (CubIXSS) Mission Concept.

    3
    The layout of the SwRI-designed CubeSat Imaging X-Ray Solar Spectrometer (CubIXSS), which has been selected by NASA as an upcoming space mission. CubIXSS will measure the abundances of elements in the Sun’s corona to determine the origins of hot plasma in solar flares and active regions. Credit: SwRI.

    The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (US) has selected the CubeSat Imaging X-Ray Solar Spectrometer (CubIXSS), led by The Southwest Research Institute (US), to measure the elemental composition of multimillion-degree plasmas in the Sun’s corona—its outermost atmosphere. The nanosatellite is expected to be launched in 2024 as a secondary payload on another satellite launch. CubIXSS will determine the origins of hot plasma—highly ionized gas—in solar flares and active regions.

    Concentrations of strong and complicated magnetic fields at the surface of the Sun are called “active regions.” These regions frequently spawn strong solar activity including explosive “solar storms” such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs).

    “A solar flare happens because the magnetic field in that active region has become so twisted and tangled that it basically ‘snaps’ back into a less tangled shape,” said SwRI Principal Scientist Dr. Amir Caspi, the mission’s leader. “That snap releases a lot of energy, which we see as a solar flare.”

    The solar flare heats the Sun’s plasma in that region to heat up to tens of millions of degrees Celsius. That is considerably hotter than the rest of the Sun’s corona, which typically ranges from 1 to a few million degrees, and much hotter than the Sun’s surface, which is only about 6000 degrees.

    “One of the interesting things we don’t really know is how much plasma in solar flares is heated directly in the corona, and how much is heated in the Sun’s lower atmosphere and then transported up to the corona,” Caspi said. “CubIXSS will measure the X-rays that come from these phenomena, to allow us to unravel this mystery.”

    A standard CubeSat is a 10-centimeter cube with a one-liter volume, referred to as “1U.” CubIXSS takes up six of these units, or 6U, about the size of a shoebox or two loaves of bread. It will carry multiple spectrometers to measure different wavelengths, or “colors,” of X-rays from the Sun, including a new kind of X-ray imaging spectrometer to determine the amounts of certain key elements in the Sun’s corona, which will in turn allow Caspi to identify where that plasma was heated.

    “Some elemental species—certain ions—can only exist in a specific range of temperatures, so seeing which elements are more prevalent helps us to create a temperature map,” Caspi said. “Previous observations have shown a higher proportion of certain elements in the corona than other regions of the Sun. By measuring the abundances of these elements at each temperature, we’ll be able to tell where the heated plasma came from.”

    CubIXSS will be the first device of its kind to routinely measure certain wavelengths of solar X-ray emissions, which not only help to determine the abundances of solar elements but also have a direct impact on the Earth. X-rays from the Sun can contribute to expansion of Earth’s upper atmosphere, which can cause increased drag on satellites in low orbits and alter their trajectories. They also cause changes in Earth’s ionosphere, a charged region in the upper atmosphere, that can affect radio communications.

    “Even though it might seem like what we’re doing is very academic, studying the Sun is very important for people living on Earth. It drives almost everything that happens on our planet,” Caspi said. “CMEs and solar flares can impact satellites and radio frequencies, disrupting communications both on Earth and to satellites in space. Understanding how these things happen is very important to understanding why they happen, which will help us predict these ‘space weather’ events and mitigate their effects.”

    Work is set to begin on CubIXSS in late 2021, with a projected launch date of late 2024.

    Heliophysics from SWRI.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SwRI Campus

    The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) (US) is an independent, nonprofit applied research and development organization. The staff of nearly 2,800 specializes in the creation and transfer of technology in engineering and the physical sciences. SwRI’s technical divisions offer a wide range of technical expertise and services in such areas as engine design and development, emissions certification testing, fuels and lubricants evaluation, chemistry, space science, nondestructive evaluation, automation, mechanical engineering, electronics, and more.

    Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is one of the oldest and largest independent, nonprofit, applied research and development (R&D) organizations in the United States. Founded in 1947 by oil businessman Tom Slick, SwRI provides contract research and development services to government and industrial clients.

    The institute consists of nine technical divisions that offer multidisciplinary, problem-solving services in a variety of areas in engineering and the physical sciences. The Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, also operates on the SwRI grounds. More than 4,000 projects are active at the institute at any given time. These projects are funded almost equally between the government and commercial sectors. At the close of fiscal year 2019, the staff numbered approximately 3,000 employees and research volume was almost $674 million. The institute provided more than $8.7 million to fund innovative research through its internally sponsored R&D program.

    A partial listing of research areas includes space science and engineering; automation; robotics and intelligent systems; avionics and support systems; bioengineering; chemistry and chemical engineering; corrosion and electrochemistry; earth and planetary sciences; emissions research; engineering mechanics; fire technology; fluid systems and machinery dynamics; and fuels and lubricants. Additional areas include geochemistry and mining engineering; hydrology and geohydrology; materials sciences and fracture mechanics; modeling and simulation; nondestructive evaluation; oil and gas exploration; pipeline technology; surface modification and coatings; and vehicle, engine, and powertrain design, research and development. In 2019, staff members published 673 papers in the technical literature; made 618 presentations at technical conferences, seminars and symposia around the world; submitted 48 invention disclosures; filed 33 patent applications; and received 41 U.S. patent awards.

    SwRI research scientists have led several National Aeronautics Space Agency(USA) missions, including the New Horizons mission to Pluto; the Juno mission to Jupiter; and the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission(US) to study the Earth’s magnetosphere.

    SwRI initiates contracts with clients based on consultations and prepares a formal proposal outlining the scope of work. Subject to client wishes, programs are kept confidential. As part of a long-held tradition, patent rights arising from sponsored research are often assigned to the client. SwRI generally retains the rights to institute-funded advancements.

    The institute’s headquarters occupy more than 2.3 million square feet of office and laboratory space on more than 1,200 acres in San Antonio. SwRI has technical offices and laboratories in Boulder, Colorado; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Warner-Robins, Georgia; Ogden, Utah; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Rockville, Maryland; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Beijing, China; and other locations.

    Technology Today, SwRI’s technical magazine, is published three times each year to spotlight the research and development projects currently underway. A complementary Technology Today podcast offers a new way to listen and learn about the technology, science, engineering, and research impacting lives and changing our world.

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