Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists weather a space storm to find its origin

03.08.2005


A team of researchers from the UK and France used SOHO, ACE and the four Cluster spacecraft to study a huge eruption on the Sun, tracing its progress from birth to when it reached Earth.



The team, led by scientists from University College London, identified the source of a ‘coronal mass ejection’ (CME) and analysed how its magnetic field changes on its path to Earth.

Triggered by a massive explosion on the Sun with millions of times more energy than a nuclear bomb, these CMEs are blasts of gas that could engulf Earth. CMEs are caused by the collision of loop-like magnetic field lines with different polarities on the Sun’s surface.


“There’s been much speculation about the shape of the magnetic field and how it might change on its journey from the Sun to Earth. Using complementary satellites we have been able to see that the magnetic field changes very little on its journey,” said Dr Louise Harra, of UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory.

Earth’s magnetic field, forming the magnetosphere, protects the planet from the full brunt of these blasts, but when the CME’s fields collide directly with it they can excite geomagnetic storms. In extreme cases they cause electrical power outages and damage to communications networks and satellites.

“If we are to successfully predict storms we need to be able to identify an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection as it leaves the Sun and work out how it evolves,” said Dr Harra.

The CME was detected on 20 January 2004 by the ESA/NASA SOHO spacecraft which was used to identify the source of the ejection.

Two days later, on its journey to Earth, the ejected magnetic field passed ESA’s four Cluster spacecraft. Their tetrahedral formation allowed the sampling of the speed and direction of the field. Similar measurements were made by NASA’s ACE spacecraft.

“SOHO and Cluster spacecraft are ideally suited to working together - SOHO ’sees’ the explosions from the Sun and Cluster ’feels’ them. Our next step is to predict the eruption of storms on the Sun,” said Dr Harra.

This direct measurement by SOHO, ACE and Cluster confirms previous Earth-bound predictions and takes researchers a step closer to forecasting these geomagnetic storms.

Bernhard Fleck | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEM5TK808BE_index_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Observing and controlling ultrafast processes with attosecond resolution
20.02.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Unconventional superconductor may be used to create quantum computers of the future
19.02.2018 | Chalmers University of Technology

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: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New tech for commercial Lithium-ion batteries finds they can be charged 5 times fast

20.02.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Hidden talents: Converting heat into electricity with pencil and paper

20.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

Rare find from the deep sea

20.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>