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Latest Plasma physics Stories

Astronomers Discover Solar Wind Energy Source
2013-03-08 12:36:32

NASA Science Using data from an aging NASA spacecraft, researchers have found signs of an energy source in the solar wind that has caught the attention of fusion researchers. NASA will be able to test the theory later this decade when it sends a new probe into the sun for a closer look. The discovery was made by a group of astronomers trying to solve a decades-old mystery: What heats and accelerates the solar wind? The solar wind is a hot and fast flow of magnetized gas that streams...

Twin Peaks For Solar Cycle?
2013-03-02 07:29:34

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online While 2013 is supposed to be the year of Solar Max - the peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle - the relatively low solar activity recorded thus far has led experts to conclude that an unusual phenomenon has occurred. This most recent solar cycle has had not one but two peaks. According to NASA, sunspot numbers during the months of January and February 2013 were well below values recorded back in 2011. Furthermore, they report that...

Densest Artificial Ionospheric Plasma Clouds Produced Using HAARP
2013-02-26 10:34:33

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory U.S. Naval Research Laboratory research physicists and engineers from the Plasma Physics Division, working at the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) transmitter facility, Gakona, Alaska, successfully produced a sustained high density plasma cloud in Earth's upper atmosphere. "Previous artificial plasma density clouds have lifetimes of only ten minutes or less," said Paul Bernhardt, Ph.D., NRL Space Use and Plasma Section. "This higher...

Mysterious Math Of The Solar Wind Deciphered By NASA
2013-02-22 14:27:36

NASA Many areas of scientific research -- Earth's weather, ocean currents, the outpouring of magnetic energy from the sun -- require mapping out the large scale features of a complex system and its intricate details simultaneously. Describing such systems accurately, relies on numerous kinds of input, beginning with observations of the system, incorporating mathematical equations to approximate those observations, running computer simulations to attempt to replicate observations, and...

Scientists Use Radio Telescopes And GPS To Monitor Nuclear Tests
2013-02-20 19:02:30

Alan McStravick for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online The world was on edge earlier this month when North Korea detonated an underground nuclear explosion (UNE) meant to showcase to the world community the abilities of this beleaguered nation. In a recent story published in The Guardian, reports surfaced North Korea is planning two additional nuclear tests just this year. UNEs were once commonplace, giving the testing nation the knowledge surrounding their nuclear capability. The...

Flare, Ejection And Rain All Caught In Spectacular Solar Show
2013-02-20 15:40:05

[Watch Video: Fiery Looping Rain On The Sun] Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online An eruption on the sun can be a beautiful, monstrous event, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has helped to bring these dangerous, yet breathtaking events right to our computer screens. On July 19, 2012, the sun erupted in a solar flare, ejecting material called a coronal mass ejection (CME), creating a loop in the sun's atmosphere known as the corona. This moderately...

Fast-Growing Sunspot Observed By NASA's SDO
2013-02-20 14:28:12

NASA As magnetic fields on the sun rearrange and realign, dark spots known as sunspots can appear on its surface. Over the course of Feb. 19-20, 2013, scientists watched a giant sunspot form in under 48 hours. It has grown to over six Earth diameters across but its full extent is hard to judge since the spot lies on a sphere not a flat disk. The spot quickly evolved into what's called a delta region, in which the lighter areas around the sunspot, the penumbra, exhibit magnetic fields...

Cassini Catches Solar Wind, Helps NASA Study Particle Acceleration
2013-02-20 14:23:12

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online As it floats around the planet Saturn, the Cassini spacecraft recently got a front row seat to what NASA astronomers are calling an “unusual strong blast of solar wind.” Shortly after this “wind” blew by, Cassini began detecting particles which had been accelerated to ultra-high energies. Particles which are accelerated this much are usually found surrounding far away supernovas. This is good news for...

Alpha Centauri B May Shed Light On Our Own Sun’s Anomalies
2013-02-20 12:52:10

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online As it turns out, studying our Sun can be rather difficult. It´s not the distance so much that keeps scientists guessing — although that certainly doesn´t help. The Sun´s intense heat also keeps scientists at bay, leaving them to make some of their observations and predictions based purely on context and far away measurements. One thing astronomers have been able to observe is a significant difference in...

Understanding The Magnetosphere Better Than Ever With Help From THEMIS
2013-02-20 10:47:18

NASA On Earth, scientists can observe weather patterns, and more importantly can predict them, through the use of tens of thousands of weather observatories scattered around the globe. Up in the space surrounding Earth -- a space that seethes with its own space weather made of speeding charged particles and constantly changing magnetic fields that can impact satellites — there are only a handful of spacecraft to watch for solar and magnetic storms. The number of observatories has...


Latest Plasma physics Reference Libraries

Stellar Astrophysics
2014-01-12 00:00:00

The prominent feature that allows for the existence of life on Earth is the Sun. Radiation from our closest star provides heat and energy to our planet, driving biological processes and providing the necessary conditions for liquid water to naturally exist. But our Sun is only but one star in this vast Universe. And as it turns out, most stars are quite different than the one that illuminates our day. For this reason, scientists have, for hundreds of years, attempted to study the other...

How Solar Cycles Impact Our Weather Here On Earth
2013-01-13 09:10:34

Solar cycles: what are they and why should we care about them? Solar cycles are made up of what are known as solar minimums (min) and solar maximums (max). We refer to a solar min at the time when the sun is not active with many sunspots, while a solar max is just the opposite when we see a large increase in sunspot activity. So how long do solar cycles last? Typically they run on what is known as an 11 year cycle from the max to the min and then start over again anew. As of 2012 we...

Solar Physics
2012-05-02 19:16:53

Solar Physics is a journal for solar and solar-stellar research and the study of solar terrestrial physics. Founded in 1967 by solar physicist Cornelis de Jager and publisher D. Reidel, the journal treats all aspects of solar physics, ranging from the internal structure of the Sun and its evolution, to outer corona and solar wind in interplanetary space. Solar Physics has four more than forty years been the principal journal for publications of fundamental research on the Sun. It is...

45_7760ecc1c46f19cc327f8ce6904b6250
2013-03-16 00:00:00

Hannes Olof Gösta Alfvén (May 30, 1908 - April 2, 1995) was a Swedish plasma physicist born in Norrköping, Sweden. Alfvén received his PhD from the University of Uppsala in 1934. His thesis was titled "Investigations of the Ultra-short Electromagnetic Waves." He was originally trained as an electrical power engineer and later moved on to research and teaching in the fields of plasma physics. Alfvén made many contributions to plasma physics, including theories describing the...

Ring Current
2004-10-19 04:45:44

Ring Current -- A ring current is an electric current carried by charged particles trapped in a planet's magnetosphere. It is caused by the longitudinal drift of energetic (10-200 keV) particles. Earth's Ring Current Earth's ring current is responsible for geomagnetic storms. The ring current system consists of a band, at a distance of 3-5 RE(1), which lies in the equatorial plane and circulates clockwise around the Earth (when viewed from the north). The particles of this region...

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Word of the Day
malpais
  • The ragged surface of a lava-flow.
'Malpais' translates from Spanish as 'bad land.'