Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA & NSF create unprecedented view of upper atmosphere

07.12.2005


Looking at atmospheric disturbances during space storms



Scientists from NASA and the National Science Foundation discovered a way to combine ground and space observations to create an unprecedented view of upper atmosphere disturbances during space storms.

Large, global-scale disturbances resemble weather cold fronts. They form in the Earth’s electrified upper atmosphere during space storms. The disturbances result from plumes of electrified plasma that form in the ionosphere. When the plasma plumes pass overhead, they impede low and high frequency radio communications and delay Global Positioning System navigation signals.


"Previously, they seemed like random events," said John Foster, associate director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Haystack Observatory. He is principal investigator of the Foundation supported Millstone Hill Observatory, Wesford, Mass.

"People knew there was a space storm that must have disrupted their system, but they had no idea why," said Tony Mannucci, group supervisor of Ionospheric and Atmospheric Remote Sensing at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Now we know it’s not just chaos; there is cause and effect. We are beginning to put together the full picture, which will ultimately let us predict space storms."

Predicting space weather is a primary goal of the National Space Weather Program involving NASA, the foundation and several other federal agencies. The view researchers created allowed them to link movement of the plumes to processes that release plasma into space. "Discovering this link is like discovering the movement of cold fronts is responsible for sudden thunderstorms," said Jerry Goldstein, principal scientist at the Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio.

Since the occurrence of plasma plumes in the ionosphere disrupts GPS signals, they provide a continuous monitor of these disturbances. Researchers discovered a link between GPS data and satellite images of the plasmasphere. The plasmasphere is a plasma cloud surrounding Earth above the ionosphere. It is being observed from NASA’s Imager for Magnetopause to Aurora Global Exploration satellite. The researchers discovered the motion of the ionospheric plumes corresponded to the ejection of plasma from the plasmasphere during space storms.

The combined observations allowed construction of an underlying picture of the processes during space storms, when the Earth’s magnetic field is buffeted by hot plasma from the sun. As the solar plasma blows by, it generates an electric field that is transmitted to the plasmasphere and ionosphere. This electric field propels the ionospheric and the plasmaspheric plasma out into space. For the first time, scientists can directly connect the plasma observed in the ionosphere with the plasmasphere plumes that extend many thousand of kilometers into space.

"We also know these disturbances occur most often between noon and dusk, and between mid to high latitudes, due to the global structure of the electric and magnetic fields during space storms," said Anthea Coster of the Haystack Observatory. "Ground and space based, and in situ measurements are allowing scientists to understand the ionosphere-thermosphere-magnetosphere as a coupled system."

The plumes degrade GPS signals in two primary ways. First, they cause position error by time delaying the propagation of GPS signals. Second, the turbulence they generate causes receivers to lose the signal through an effect known as scintillation. It is similar to the apparent twinkling of stars caused by atmospheric turbulence.

Bill Steigerwald | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht MEMS chips get metatlenses
21.02.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht International team publishes roadmap to enhance radioresistance for space colonization
21.02.2018 | Biogerontology Research Foundation

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

Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

The “Holy Grail” of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected

21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>