Related topics: nasa · earth · magnetic field · spacecraft · solar wind

New space weather advisories serve aviation

A new international advisory system is working to keep aircraft crew and passengers safe from space weather impacts, thanks in part to the efforts of a team of CIRES and NOAA developers, forecasters, and scientists in Boulder, ...

Using big data to combat catastrophes

In March 1989, a tripped circuit in the Hydro-Québec power grid left 6 million people without electricity. A week earlier, an unusually harsh snowstorm had strained the region; the day before, a solar flare and accompanying ...

Nightside barrier gently brakes 'bursty' plasma bubbles

The solar wind that pummels the Earth's dayside magnetosphere causes turbulence, like air over a wing. Physicists at Rice University have developed new methods to characterize how that influences space weather on the nightside.

Revealing the physics of the Sun with Parker Solar Probe

Nearly a year and a half into its mission, Parker Solar Probe has returned gigabytes of data on the Sun and its atmosphere. Following the release of the very first science from the mission, five researchers presented additional ...

Detecting solar flares, more in real time

Computers can learn to find solar flares and other events in vast streams of solar images and help NOAA forecasters issue timely alerts, according to a new study. The machine-learning technique, developed by scientists at ...

NASA-NOAA satellite analyzes a strengthening Typhoon Kammuri

NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite provided forecasters with infrared and nighttime views of Typhoon Kammuri that showed the storm continued to strengthen. Satellite imagery provided a look at the clouds and storms over the ...

New model will help predict several solar phenomena

An international group of scientists, in cooperation with a research scientist from Skoltech, has developed a model to describe changes in solar plasma. This will help comprehend solar dynamics and gives clues to understanding ...

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Space weather

Space weather is the concept of changing environmental conditions in near-Earth space. It is distinct from the concept of weather within a planetary atmosphere, and deals with phenomena involving ambient plasma, magnetic fields, radiation and other matter in space. "Space weather" often implicitly means the conditions in near-Earth space within the magnetosphere, but it is also studied in interplanetary (and occasionally interstellar space).

Within our own solar system, space weather is greatly influenced by the speed and density of the solar wind and the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) carried by the solar wind plasma. A variety of physical phenomena are associated with space weather, including geomagnetic storms and substorms, energization of the Van Allen radiation belts, ionospheric disturbances and scintillation, aurora and geomagnetically induced currents at Earth's surface. Coronal Mass Ejections and their associated shock waves are also important drivers of space weather as they can compress the magnetosphere and trigger geomagnetic storms. Solar Energetic Particles, accelerated by coronal mass ejections or solar flares, are also an important driver of space weather as they can damage electronics onboard spacecraft through induced electric currents,[citation needed] and threaten the life of astronauts.

Space weather exerts a profound influence in several areas related to space exploration and development. Changing geomagnetic conditions can induce changes in atmospheric density causing the rapid degradation of spacecraft altitude in Low Earth orbit. Geomagnetic storms due to increased solar activity can potentially blind sensors aboard spacecraft, or interfere with on-board electronics. An understanding of space environmental conditions is also important in designing shielding and life support systems for manned spacecraft. There is also some concern that geomagnetic storms may also expose conventional aircraft flying at high latitudes to increased amounts of radiation.

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