Having marked its first anniversary on orbit, NASAs Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) satellite has hit its stride. In concert with other satellites, SORCEs observations of the suns brightness are helping researchers better understand climate change, climate prediction, atmospheric ozone, the sunburn-causing ultraviolet-B radiation and space weather.
SORCE maintains a 24-year legacy of solar output monitoring that should help explain and predict the effect of the Sun on the Earths atmosphere and climate. Credit: NASA / LASP
In fall 2003, SORCE was fortunate to see and measure exceptionally high levels of the suns activities. In late October and November the sun sent solar flares and coronal mass ejections hurtling Earthward, disrupting satellites and other transmissions, triggering an intense geomagnetic storm, and enabling sightings of the northern lights as far south as Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma.
The third most powerful solar flare ever observed in X-rays, high-energy photons with very short wavelengths, erupted from Sunspot 486 October 28, 2003, at approximately 6 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The same spot released a large X11 flare on the afternoon of October 29. As the sunspot moved across the face of the sun, total solar brightness decreased by 0.3 percent.
Lynn Chandler | GSFC
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University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
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Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
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