Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Another giant solar explosion follows Tuesday’s enormous solar flare

31.10.2003


Since Tuesday 28 October, explosive events originating from the Sun have been bathing the Earth and its surroundings in high energy radiation.



Although 150 million kilometers away, the Sun is still capable of causing major disruption here on Earth to a range of systems that we depend on in everyday life. These include communication and navigation systems, aircraft and spacecraft operations and the distribution of electricity at high latitudes.

The activity started on Tuesday with a giant solar flare - the second biggest ever seen by SOHO, the ESA-NASA solar observatory that maintains a constant watch on the Sun, monitoring these events as they happen. A few minutes later, spacecraft circling the Earth began to detect high levels of energetic radiation, capable of blinding satellites and causing increased radiation levels down to normal aircraft cruising altitudes.


About 24 hours after the solar flare was observed, an accompanying coronal mass ejection - a giant cloud of magnetised plasma - reached the Earth, causing rapid changes in the Earth’s magnetic field and what is known as a geomagnetic storm. This storm caused widespread disruption to communications; both satellite-based and HF radio.

These events are truly sporadic and extremely difficult to predict. On Wednesday it appeared that radiation levels were decreasing. However, a second flare overnight has caused a further sharp increase in radiation levels. Here on Earth, the disruption continues today with a further coronal mass ejection expected to reach the Earth tomorrow in time for Halloween.

Solar eruptions of this type together with the associated increased radiation levels and electromagnetic disturbances around the Earth have real immediate and long-term economic impacts. During the last few days, space weather related problems have been detected on spacecraft operated by a range of agencies across the globe and operations teams are on alert. On Earth, telecommunication links have been disrupted and steps have been taken to safeguard aircraft, which including some changes in scheduling. Effects have also been detected in high latitude power grids and are being carefully monitored.

The increased dependency of our society on systems which are directly or indirectly influenced by solar and other events seen in space raises concerns about our ability to monitor and anticipate these events and the resulting changes collectively referred to as space weather. At the European Space Agency these issues are being handled jointly in the Electromagnetics and Space Environment Division by Dr Eamonn Daly’s group for the specifications of spacecraft protection and in the spacecraft operations teams.

In addition, Europe-wide coordination is currently being set up together with the European Union via its COST (Coordination in Science and Technology) programme and ESA’s General Studies Programme. This coordination aims to optimise our existing resources (together with our international partners) in order to develop an operational resource which will enable society to respond effectively to immediate as well as long-term changes in our space weather.

For further information, please contact :

ESA Media Relations Service
Tel: +33(0)1.53.69.7155
Fax: +33(0)1.53.69.7690

Franco Bonacina | ESA
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEM6N9WLDMD_Protecting_0.html

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: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>