Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Magnetic Substorms From Ground And Space

01.04.2008
One of the most dynamic events in the interaction between the Sun and the Earth is a ‘substorm’, an explosive reshaping of the Earth’s outer magnetic field.

To better understand substorms, scientists in Europe and North America are studying them from space using the Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) satellites launched by NASA in 2007 and from the ground using a network of all-sky cameras. In her talk on Tuesday 1 April at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Belfast, University of Lancaster solar-terrestrial scientist Dr Emma Woodfield will present the first few months of results from the Rainbow cameras newly installed in southern Iceland that complement this network.

Best seen from within the Arctic and Antarctic Circles, the northern and southern lights (aurora borealis and aurora australis) are the most visible way in which the Sun affects the upper atmosphere and magnetic field of the Earth. More severe consequences of the interaction between the Sun and the Earth include disruption to radio communications, GPS systems and satellite electronics and overloaded power grids. This has made understanding ‘space weather’ a priority for physicists around the world.

Substorms result from a build up of energy deposited by the solar wind into the near-Earth environment and at their onset there is a dramatic increase in the intensity and activity of the aurora. The ground-based Rainbow cameras designed by the University of Calgary, Canada, track rapid changes in the aurora by taking full colour images of the whole sky through a fish-eye lens every 6 seconds.

To fully understand the nature of substorms and to distinguish between the main competing models describing the substorm process there has been a dramatic increase in the number of these ground instruments across Canada and the northern United States. This makes it possible to “join up the dots”, linking what goes on further out in space seen by the THEMIS satellites with the phenomena observed closer to home.

Scientists from Lancaster University have now put into place the first of three cameras that will bridge a gap in coverage between North America and mainland Europe. The ‘Rainbow’ camera was installed at a site maintained by the University of Leicester near Þykkvibær in southern Iceland in October 2007.

In her talk, Dr Woodfield will present images and movies from the Rainbow camera showing the dramatic changes in aurora structure following the onset of a substorm. She is upbeat about the results to date.

“We have had a wonderful first observing season. Now the hard work really begins as we sift through the data for vital clues to how a substorm really works.”

FURTHER INFORMATION (INCLUDING IMAGES AND MOVIES)

Movies and stills from the Rainbow camera:
http://www.dcs.lancs.ac.uk/~kavanage/rainbow.htm
Image caption “Rainbow camera image taken from just after substorm onset on 1 February 2008”, Image: Dr. James Wild, Lancaster University.

Movie caption “The Rainbow camera images captures a quiet auroral arc erupting rapidly at substorm onset, 1 February 2008”. Movie: Dr. James Wild, Lancaster University.

THEMIS mission home page
http://themis.ssl.berkeley.edu/index.shtml
THEMIS Public Outreach website
http://ds9.ssl.berkeley.edu/themis/no_flash.html
RAS National Astronomy Meeting
http://nam2008.qub.ac.uk
SPEARS group web pages, Lancaster University
http://www.dcs.lancs.ac.uk/iono/
RAS home page
http://www.ras.org.uk

Robert Massey | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ras.org.uk
http://nam2008.qub.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Significantly more productivity in USP lasers
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>