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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion
16.11.2018 | University of New Hampshire
NASA keeps watch over space explosions
16.11.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
19.11.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.11.2018 | Information Technology
19.11.2018 | Life Sciences