NASA reported on Wednesday that Orbital Sciences Corp., a commercial spaceflight company on a cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station, had called off its rocket launch that day from the agency's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia because of the unusually high levels of radiation.
"This was a huge event, with the CME now classified as an R-type for its rarity, with an estimated speed much higher than we have recently seen because of the massive release of energy," commented Andrew Gerrard, an NJIT professor of physics and deputy director of the university's Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research.
"Eruptions of this magnitude can cause circulation changes in the upper atmosphere, communications disruptions in space and on the ground, and other potential electrical anomalies. We can lose track of space craft, whose orbits can be disrupted by these in these events. It's like driving through molasses."
NJIT is continuing to measure the solar explosion's impact from space with its instruments on the Van Allen Probes, NASA space craft that travel through the inner magnetosphere, and on the ground through instruments like those in the NATION Fabry-Perot systems in North America, which measure thermospheric winds and temperatures, and in systems across the Antarctic plateau that measure geomagnetic variability.
"This is a beautiful opportunity to look at how this material from the sun is injected into the radiation belts, inner magnetosphere, and upper atmosphere," Gerrard said. "We may not see anything like this for another decade."
NJIT's Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research also operates the university's Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) in California, which is home to the world's most powerful ground-based telescope dedicated to solar research. NJIT professors at BBSO in Big Bear have obtained new and remarkably detailed photos of the Sun with the New Solar Telescope (NST).
The flare, a giant burst of radiation designated as X-class for the most intense flares, is centered over a giant sunspot AR1944 located at the center of the sun. By Wednesday, the solar radiation storm had intensified to an S3 or strong event, while the coronal mass ejection was forecast to set off G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storm activity through January 9 and 10, NASA said.
Solar flares and coronal mass ejections regularly send bursts of charged particles and high energy radiation in Earth's direction at nearly the speed of light. Upon reaching our atmosphere within minutes, solar radiation can destroy the electronic systems in satellites used in telecommunications, weather forecasting and GPS systems, among other services, as well as devices on the ground, such as transformers.
In 1989, for example, a solar storm brought down the Hydro-Quebec grid within minutes, blacking out the entire province as well as parts of the Northern United States for several hours.
For further information about the solar event and its terrestrial impacts, please contact Andrew Gerrard at 732-357-5230 or email@example.com.
NJIT, New Jersey's science and technology university, enrolls 10,000 students pursuing bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 120 programs.
The university consists of six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, College of Computing Sciences and Albert Dorman Honors College. U.S. News & World Report's 2011 Annual Guide to America's Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities. NJIT is internationally recognized for being at the edge in knowledge in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning.
Many courses and certificate programs, as well as graduate degrees, are available online through the Division of Continuing Professional Education.
Andrew Gerrard | EurekAlert!
Active pits on Rosetta’s comet
03.07.2015 | Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen
Researchers find the macroscopic Brownian motion phenomena of self-powered liquid metal motors
02.07.2015 | Science China Press
Wind turbines could be installed under some of the biggest bridges on the road network to produce electricity. So it is confirmed by calculations carried out by a European researchers team, that have taken a viaduct in the Canary Islands as a reference. This concept could be applied in heavily built-up territories or natural areas with new constructions limitations.
The Juncal Viaduct, in Gran Canaria, has served as a reference for Spanish and British researchers to verify that the wind blowing between the pillars on this...
New technique combines electron microscopy and synchrotron X-rays to track chemical reactions under real operating conditions
A new technique pioneered at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory reveals atomic-scale changes during catalytic reactions in real...
Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and a half billion years ago.
Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and...
A team of scientists including PhD student Friedrich Schuler from the Laboratory of MEMS Applications at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of...
The three-year clinical trial results of the retinal implant popularly known as the "bionic eye," have proven the long-term efficacy, safety and reliability of...
25.06.2015 | Event News
16.06.2015 | Event News
11.06.2015 | Event News
03.07.2015 | Press release
03.07.2015 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
03.07.2015 | Health and Medicine