Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Stereo gives astronomers a first look at the space between the Earth and the Sun

17.04.2007
For the first time, an international team of astronomers have a side-on view as giant clouds of solar material leave the Sun and slam into the magnetic field of the Earth.

On Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 April at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Preston, Professor Richard Harrison and Dr Chris Davis of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory will present spectacular images and movies of these dramatic events taken by UK cameras mounted on the two STEREO spacecraft.

The two spacecraft that make up the NASA STEREO mission were launched last October. One probe is now travelling in an orbit ahead of the Earth while the other lags behind. Together the probes are imaging the Sun in 3D. They also have a unique perspective - they can view the space between the Sun and the Earth (the so-called Earth-Sun line), giving scientists their first views of this region of space.

The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Oxfordshire and the University of Birmingham led an international effort to develop two identical Heliospheric Imager (HI) instruments. One HI is mounted on each of the two spacecraft so astronomers can watch the Earth-Sun line. In particular, this view gives scientists a ringside seat when giant clouds of material (Coronal Mass Ejections or CMEs) travel from the Sun to the Earth.

CMEs can be made up of more than 1000 million tonnes of charged particles and travel at up to 1000 km per second. When a CME reaches the Earth it can have dramatic effects; compressing the terrestrial magnetic field, generating displays of the northern lights, disrupting radio communications, overloading power grids and damaging satellites.

The ability to track CMEs as they leave the Sun, to understand how they propagate and evolve and to predict their arrival at Earth are all goals of the unique HI system. As the STEREO spacecraft move into their orbits over the coming months we will see increasingly better views of the 3D Sun and the passage of Earth-directed clouds in space. However, the UK HI instruments have now made their first observations of CMEs in the inner solar system, showing spectacular images of these clouds and demonstrating that the instruments are operating flawlessly.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Professor Richard Harrison, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
HI/STEREO Principal Investigator
Tel: +44 (0)1235 446884
E-mail: r.harrison@rl.ac.uk
Dr Chris Davis, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
HI/STEREO Project Scientist
Tel: +44 (0)1235 446710
E-mail: c.j.davis@rl.ac.uk

Robert Massey | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ras.org.uk
http://www.nam2007.uclan.ac.uk/press.php

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab
15.08.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity
15.08.2018 | University of California - Riverside

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: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Staying in Shape

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Diving robots find Antarctic seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide in winter

16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Protein droplets keep neurons at the ready and immune system in balance

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>