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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 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.
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.
15 March 2017
Earth’s radiation belts were discovered over fifty years ago, but their behavior is still not completely understood. Now, a new study finds there typically isn’t as much radiation in the inner belt as previously assumed – good news for spacecraft flying in the region.
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.
5 November 2015
This is the latest in a series of dispatches from scientists and education officers aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s R/V Falkor. The crew is on 36-day research trip to study Tamu Massif, a massive underwater volcano, located 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) east of Japan in the Shatsky Rise. Read more posts here.
We are currently mapping our last survey line on Tamu Massif, and we will soon be ready to head out. The planetary Kp index, used to characterize the magnitude of geomagnetic storms, says the magnetic field is a little unsettled.
9 June 2015
Our sun is a volatile star: explosions of light, energy and solar materials regularly dot its surface. Sometimes an eruption is so large it hurls magnetized material into space, sending out clouds that can pass by Earth’s own magnetic fields, where the interactions can affect electronics on satellites, GPS communications or even utility grids on the ground.
12 December 2013
When whorls of plasma clouds erupt away from the sun in events known as coronal mass ejections, the portions that reach Earth can create terrestrial spectacles. These sun storms fuel stunning auroras in the night sky, but they can also foul up communication networks and Global Positioning Systems. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a method to better forecast these storms before they hit Earth.