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3 February 2023
When Christa Peters-Lidard cold-called the head of NASA’s hydrology lab as an undergrad, she wasn’t thinking she’d eventually land that very position. Now as the Acting Director for Sciences and Exploration at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Christa oversees several critical programs – either orbiting, like the James Webb Telescope, or currently in development – by ensuring scientists have the resources they need for a successful mission.
14 October 2022
With a heliophysics career spanning across nearly five decades, Thomas Earle Moore has always been fascinated by the Sun’s relationship with the Earth and how that relationship affects life on our planet.
7 April 2020
Researchers have just published a theory of what powers the celestial phenomenon known as STEVE, the aurora-like glow amateur sky-watchers brought to scientists’ attention in 2016. Scientists first thought STEVE was a new kind of aurora, but previous research shows its light is not produced the same way. Researchers are still unsure of what generates STEVE’s light, but a group of space physicists now suspect STEVE lights up when fast-flowing rivers of plasma jumpstart certain chemical reactions high in the atmosphere.
4 October 2019
New research in AGU’s journal Space Weather indicates storms like the 1859 Carrington Event are not as rare as scientists thought and could happen every few decades, seriously damaging modern communication and navigation systems around the globe.
19 August 2019
In 1972, in the waning years of the Vietnam War, U.S. military pilots flying south of Haiphong harbor in North Vietnam saw something unexpected. Without explanation, and without warning, over two dozen sea mines suddenly exploded. While the phenomenon was never officially explained, it piqued the interest of space scientist Delores Knipp.
12 November 2018
A strong solar storm in 1972 caused widespread disturbances to satellites and spacecraft, and may have led to the detonation of mines during the Vietnam War, according to new research showing the event may have been a more devastating solar storm than previously thought. In a new study, researchers pieced together data and historical records related to the solar activity of 1972 to better understand the nature of the solar storm. In the process, they uncovered an incident where sea mines off the coast of Vietnam were detonated by the solar event.
18 October 2018
High school students listening to audio tracks of NOAA satellite data have identified the sounds of solar storms buffeting Earth’s magnetic field. The results of a UK-led citizen science project suggest that the approach of converting physical data into sound signals could help NOAA and other scientists make sense of massive amounts of data from satellites and other instruments.
17 September 2018
Check out this clip that didn’t make it into our recent episode, Inside the Boiling Center of the Solar System, with Dan Seaton, about what the sun actually sounds like! [thirdpodfromthesun id=37648878] Transcript Shane Hanlon: Hi, Nanci. Nanci Bompey: Hey, Shane. Shane Hanlon: So, we’re back for a bonus clip, and it’s all about the Sun. And we obviously look at the Sun every day, or hopefully, if …
17 August 2018
New technology that detects radiation from the Sun in real time and immediately predicts subsequent health risks could protect astronauts on future deep-space missions, according to a new study. Astronauts face dangers during solar energetic particle, or SEP, events, which occur when an eruption in the Sun’s atmosphere hurls high-energy protons out into space. These protons can penetrate the walls of a spacecraft and enter the human body. This radiation can cause immediate effects such as nausea, performance degradation and other acute radiation syndromes, while long-term effects can include cancer, degenerative tissue damage, heart disease and damage to the central nervous system.
17 May 2018
A new study in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres observes rare terrestrial gamma ray flashes produced by lightning strikes.
21 March 2018
The unusual trajectory the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took when delivering a Taiwanese satellite into orbit last August created an atmospheric shock wave four times bigger than the area of California, a new study finds.
16 March 2018
As future missions look to travel back to the moon or even to Mars, new research cautions that the exposure to radiation is much higher than previously thought and could have serious implications on both astronauts and satellite technology.
18 December 2017
Speeding through the atmosphere high above Jupiter’s equator is an east–west jet stream that reverses course on a schedule almost as predictable as a Tokyo train’s. Now, a NASA-led team has identified which type of wave forces this jet to change direction.
19 September 2017
Could the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Costa Rica set off a hurricane in California? The question has been scrutinized by chaos theorists, stock-market analysts and weather forecasters for decades. For most people, this hypothetical scenario may be difficult to imagine on Earth – particularly when a real disaster strikes.
25 July 2017
In April of 1815, the volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia caused a global decrease in temperatures for the following few years, and 1816 came to be known as the “year without a summer.” New England states were particularly hard hit by these temperature changes, which significantly affected agriculture production and quality of life. Alongside his journal entries, Reverend Jonathan Fisher of Blue Hill, Maine sketched the sunspots during the summer of 1816, thinking they might be responsible for the cold summer temperatures.
24 July 2017
The space surrounding our planet is full of restless charged particles and roiling electric and magnetic fields, which create waves around Earth. One type of wave, plasmaspheric hiss, is particularly important for removing charged particles from the Van Allen radiation belts, a seething coil of particles encircling Earth, which can interfere with satellites and telecommunications. A new study in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, used data from NASA’s Van Allen Probes spacecraft to discover that hiss is more complex than previously understood.
4 April 2017
Aircrews and frequent fliers may soon experience an uptick in radiation exposure due to the upcoming low point in the solar cycle, when weak solar activity provides less protection against cosmic rays entering the atmosphere.
3 April 2017
New observations of Uranus being buffeted by shock waves from the sun have revealed auroral activity and fresh clues to the workings of the seventh planet’s unusual magnetosphere, the region of space dominated by its magnetic field.
3 March 2017
In a new study, scientists from NASA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research find the warning signs of one type of space weather event can be detected tens of minutes earlier than with current forecasting techniques – critical extra time that could help protect astronauts in space.
3 November 2016
Scientists’ keen detective work may have solved one of Venus’s oldest secrets: why the planet’s atmosphere absorbs ultraviolet light of a specific frequency. The new findings could help scientists better understand Venus’s thick atmosphere and its heat-trapping clouds, according to the study’s authors.