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NASA Science Update: Scientists Closer to Forecasting Periods of Calm Space Weather
08.16.05
 

Presenter #1 - Dr. Richard Fisher, Director of NASA Sun-Solar System Connection Division

Dr. Fisher will introduce the topic of space weather, the techniques and technology used to study it, and the implications of such weather.

Image from the TRACE Satellite Image of typical SOHO observations
Images Above: In terms of space weather forecasting, we're on par with terrestrial weather forecasting in the 1950s. Scientists study the complex patterns of solar magnetic field lines to predict storms, which is not always reliable. This new method combines computer models with images of the active solar surface and atmosphere (corona) from two spacecraft: 1) TRACE, and 2) SOHO. Click on the above images for movies (mpg). TRACE Credit: NASA/LMSAL; SOHO Credit: NASA/ESA
+ TRACE Image in High Resolution (.jpg)
+ SOHO Image in High Resolution (.jpg)
+ SOHO 640x480 movie (very large)

Presenter #2 - Dr. Karel Schrijver, LMSAL Astrophysicist

Image of a Coronal Mass Ejection
Image Above: Solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), associated giant clouds of plasma in space, are the largest explosions in the solar system. They are caused by the buildup and sudden release of magnetic stress in the solar atmosphere above the giant magnetic poles we see as sunspots. CMEs can cause magnetic storms affecting communication systems, power grids and astronauts in space. Click on the above image to play small animation (mpg) or download 640x480 version. Credit: NASA

Image of a solar flare
Image Above: To predict which regions in the solar atmosphere are most likely to produce strong storms, researchers used satellite data to watch for the strong electrical currents that drive solar flares. Future missions will provide a better way to observe these currents: by tracking sound waves inside the Sun, much like listening to earthquake rumbles prior to a volcanic eruption. Click on the above image to play animation (mpg). Credit: NASA
+ Still #1 in High Resolution (.tif)
+ Still #2 in High Resolution (.tif)
+ Still #3 in High Resolution (.tif)
+ Still #4 in High Resolution (.tif)
+ 640x480 .mpg movie

Presenter #3 - Dr. Marc DeRosa, LMSAL Astrophysicist

Image of a Quiet Region Image of an Active Region
Images Above: Large differences between the TRACE images of the Sun's corona and models of the magnetic field indicate the presence of large electrical currents. In this visualization, the SOHO magnetic maps (black and white) show the evolving field. When scientists use this to compute the computer model (red), they watch to see if it matches up with the TRACE images (gold); if it does, the region will be quiet (left image), but if not, expect stormy space weather (right image). Click on the above images for movies (mpg). Credit: NASA/ESA/LMSAL
+ Quiescent Region Still in High Resolution (.tif)
+ Active Region Still in High Resolution (.tif)
+ Quiescent Region 640x480 .mpg movie
+ Active Region 640x480 .mpg movie

Presenter #4 - Joseph Kunches, Chief of Forecast and Analysis Branch, NOAA Space Environment Center

Image of an Astronaut in space
Image Above: Solar flares and CMEs are the largest explosions in the solar system. They are caused by the buildup and sudden release of magnetic stress in the solar atmosphere above the giant magnetic poles we see as sunspots. CMEs can cause magnetic storms affecting communication systems, power grids and astronauts in space Credit: NASA
+ Astronaut Image in High Resolution (.jpg)

Additional Multimedia

+ STEREO Image Gallery

+ "Clear Space Weather" Press Page
+ Scientist Biographies
+ Feature Story
+ Scientific Paper