NASA spacecraft provides scientists with 3D view of powerful solar explosions.Byline: ANI
Washington, April 15 (ANI): Twin NASA NASA: see National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
in full National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Independent U.S. spacecraft have provided scientists with their first view of the speed, trajectory, and three-dimensional shape of powerful explosions from the sun known as coronal mass ejections coronal mass ejection
A large eruption of plasma from the sun's corona that extends 8,000,000 kilometers (5,000,000 miles) into space.
coronal mass ejection , or CMEs.
This new capability will dramatically enhance scientists' ability to predict if and how these solar tsunamis could affect Earth.
When directed toward our planet, these ejections can be breathtakingly beautiful and yet potentially cause damaging effects worldwide.
The brightly colored phenomena known as auroras - more commonly called Northern or Southern Lights - are examples of Earth's upper atmosphere harmlessly being disturbed by a CME CME
See: Chicago Mercantile Exchange
See Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). .
However, ejections can produce a form of solar cosmic rays cosmic rays, charged particles moving at nearly the speed of light reaching the earth from outer space. Primary cosmic rays consist mostly of protons (nuclei of hydrogen atoms), some alpha particles (helium nuclei), and lesser amounts of nuclei of carbon, nitrogen, that can be hazardous to spacecraft, astronauts and technology on Earth.
Space weather produces disturbances in electromagnetic fields electromagnetic field
Property of space caused by the motion of an electric charge. A stationary charge produces an electric field in the surrounding space. If the charge is moving, a magnetic field is also produced. A changing magnetic field also produces an electric field. on Earth that can induce extreme currents in wires, disrupting power lines and causing wide-spread blackouts.
These sun storms can interfere with communications between ground controllers and satellites and with airplane pilots flying near Earth's poles.
These ejections carry billions of tons of plasma into space at thousands of miles per hour.
This plasma, which carries with it some of the magnetic field from the corona, can create a large, moving disturbance in space that produces a shock wave.
NASA's twin Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, spacecraft are providing the unique scientific tool to study these ejections as never before.
Launched in October 2006, STEREO's nearly identical observatories can make simultaneous observations of these ejections of plasma and magnetic energy that originate from the sun's outer atmosphere, or corona.
The spacecraft are stationed at different vantage points. One leads Earth in its orbit around the sun, while the other trails the planet.
Using three-dimensional observations, solar physicists can examine a CME's structure, velocity, mass, and direction in the corona while tracking it through interplanetary in·ter·plan·e·tar·y
Existing or occurring between planets.
of or linking planets
Adj. 1. space.
These measurements can help determine when a CME will reach Earth and predict how much energy it will deliver to our magnetosphere magnetosphere: see Van Allen radiation belts.
Region around a planet (such as Earth) or a natural satellite that possesses a magnetic field (see , which is Earth's protective magnetic shield.
"Before this unique mission, measurements and the subsequent data of a CME observed near the sun had to wait until the ejections arrived at Earth three to seven days later," said Angelos Vourlidas, a solar physicist at the Naval Research Laboratory Noun 1. Naval Research Laboratory - the United States Navy's defense laboratory that conducts basic and applied research for the Navy in a variety of scientific and technical disciplines
NRL in Washington.
"Now, we can see a CME from the time it leaves the solar surface until it reaches Earth, and we can reconstruct the event in 3D directly from the images," he added. (ANI)
Copyright 2009 Asian News International The Asian News International (ANI) agency provides multimedia news to China and 50 bureaus in India. It covers virtually all of South Asia since its foundation and presently claims, on its official website, to be the leading South Asia-wide news agency. (ANI) - All Rights Reserved.
Provided by Syndigate.info an Albawaba.com company