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Latest Cluster mission Stories

Cluster Examines Thin Current Sheets In The Magnetosphere
2012-08-02 05:08:15

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online The Universe is filled with plasma, a charged gas consisting of ions and electrons. Thin sheets, or boundaries, with currents separate large plasma regions. These boundaries are where most of the exciting action in space happens. Scientists at the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) have measured the fundamental properties of one of the waves mixing and accelerating plasmas within these sheets. These thin current sheets are...

Waves In The Magnetosphere's Thin Boundaries Looked At By Cluster
2012-08-01 16:08:16

Exploiting a favorable configuration of ESA's Cluster mission spacecraft, scientists have detected and characterized lower hybrid drift waves, a special kind of plasma waves that develop in thin boundaries both in space and in the laboratory. The measurement of fundamental properties of these waves was possible when two of the spacecraft were flying very close to one another in the tail of Earth's magnetosphere. With wavelengths of about 60 km, these waves appear to play an important role in...

ESA Finds High-Energy Particles Charged In Polar Cusps
2012-06-08 04:46:56

Data gathered by several European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft suggests that high-energy particles which fill cavities within the Earth's magnetic field are accelerated locally within the cusps themselves as they cross through areas characterized by different electric potential, the organization announced earlier this week. In a Tuesday announcement, the ESA said that the information, which was gathered during the Cluster mission in February 2003, shows that the particles are accelerated...

Image 1 - Watching Space Weather Through The MAGIC Of CubeSat CINEMA
2012-03-27 04:29:04

A trio of CubeSats that will study the effects of space weather on the Earth´s radiation belts and magnetic field are being prepared for launch. TRIO-CINEMA is a collaboration between UC Berkeley, Kyung Hee University and Imperial College London. The first CINEMA CubeSat passed acceptance testing in January 2012 and will launch in mid-2012. Two more identical spacecraft will launch towards the end of the year. The mission will be presented by Professor Tim Horbury at the National...

Image 1 - Cluster Reveals Earth's Bow Shock Is Remarkably Thin
2011-11-17 05:07:47

A new study based on data from ESA's Cluster mission has revealed that the bow shock formed by the solar wind as it encounters Earth's magnetic field is remarkably thin: it measures only 17 kilometers across. Thin astrophysical shocks such as this are candidate sites for early phases of particle acceleration. The finding thus sheds new light on the much debated issue of particle injection in the context of cosmic ray acceleration. Most baryonic matter in the Universe consists of charged...

Mariner 5
2011-08-29 04:27:56

  Turbulence Doesn´t Go With The Flow Research led by astrophysicists at the University of Warwick has resolved a 40 year old problem with observations of turbulence in the solar wind first made by the probe Mariner Five. The research resolves an issue with what is by far the largest and most interesting natural turbulence lab accessible to researchers today. Our current understanding tells us that turbulence in the solar wind should not be affected by the speed and...

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2011-07-05 08:45:00

High speed plasma flows, often referred to as jets, are extremely common across the Universe. Such jets are observed in Earth's magnetosphere, in solar flares, and near various objects powered by black holes. New insights into the processes that modify these streams of ionized particles have been provided by rare in situ measurements of plasma flows made by ESA's Cluster spacecraft. Most visible matter in the Universe exists as plasma, an extremely hot gas in which atoms have been stripped of...

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2011-07-01 10:10:44

Using ingenuity and an unorthodox 'dirty hack', ESA has recovered the four-satellite Cluster mission from near loss. The drama began in March, when a crucial science package stopped responding to commands "“ one of a mission controller's worst fears. Since a pair of spectacular dual launches in 2000, the four Cluster satellites have been orbiting Earth in tightly controlled formation. Each of the 550 kg satellites carries an identical payload to investigate Earth's space environment and...

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2011-02-02 21:46:52

Auroras, more commonly known as the northern and southern lights, are one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring natural phenomena. New insights into the processes that generate Earth's auroras (and those of other planets) are now being provided by a flotilla of ESA satellites, known as the Cluster mission, as they sweep through the region of space where these colorful curtains of light are created. As they fly in formation above the planet's poles, the Cluster spacecraft are gathering the...


Word of the Day
mundungus
  • A stinking tobacco.
  • Offal; waste animal product; organic matter unfit for consumption.
This word comes from the Spanish 'mondongo,' tripe, entrails.