TIMED Watches Earth's Response to Strong Solar Storms in April 2002
January 30, 2013
Data from TIMED's SABER (Sounding of the Atmosphere Using Broadband Emission Radiometry) instrument, collected before a solar storm on April 10, 2002, and during a storm on April 18 2002, show nitric oxide levels at 110 km altitude changing dramatically from low values (indicated by green and blue on April 10th) to high levels (indicated in red on April 18th). The April 18th image shows effects of nitric oxide being transported from polar auroral regions toward the equator by upper atmospheric winds. Nitric oxide, an important cooling agent in the upper atmosphere, can be used to track upper atmospheric wind patterns. These data show the upper atmosphere's temperature structure and wind patterns were changed during these storms. Dr. James Russell, principal investigator for SABER at Hampton University, says, "The unprecedented nitric oxide radiance sensitivity provided by SABER is helping TIMED accomplish one of its most fundamental objectives to better understand Sun-Earth connections driven by solar high energy charged particle input to the atmosphere." SABER is a multi-channel infrared radiometer measuring heat emitted by the atmosphere over a broad altitude and spectral range. It also measures global temperature profiles and sources of atmospheric cooling such as the "air glow," which occurs when energy is radiated back into space. Hampton University, Hampton, Va., leads SABER's science team. The instrument's Payload Operations Center is located at NASA Langley Research Center, also in Hampton. Utah State University, Logan, Utah, built the instrument for and under the management of, the NASA Langley Research Center.
Topics: Environment, Technology Internet, Plasma physics, Astronomy, Planetary science, light sources, Airglow, TIMED, University of Colorado at Boulder, Space, Aurora, Atmosphere, Spaceflight, Physics