Latest Plasma physics Stories
NASA's IRIS mission has provided scientists with five new findings into how the sun’s atmosphere, or corona, is heated far hotter than its surface, what causes the sun’s constant outflow of particles called the solar wind, and what mechanisms accelerate particles that power solar flares.
Astronomers have found a pulsating, dead star beaming with the energy of about 10 million suns.
The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 3:01 p.m. EDT on Oct. 2, 2014. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun 24-hours a day, captured images of the flare.
A snaking, extended filament of solar material currently lies on the front of the sun -- some 1 million miles across from end to end.
The strongest, hottest and longest-lasting sequence of stellar flares ever seen from a nearby red dwarf star was detected by NASA's Swift satellite on April 23.
The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 10:58 p.m. EDT on Sept. 27, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event.
Those who study Earth's weather have a luxury of data points to study. Compared to this, the study of space weather – including CMEs – is a much younger science, with far fewer observatories available.
On July 23, 2012, a massive cloud of solar material erupted off the sun's right side, zooming out into space. It soon passed one of NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, spacecraft, which clocked the CME as traveling between 1,800 and 2,200 miles per second as it left the sun.
Strong solar flares can bring down communications and power grids on Earth. By demonstrating how these gigantic eruptions are caused, ETH physicists are laying the foundations for future predictions.
Looking across the Mars landscape presents a bleak image: a barren, dry rocky view as far as the eye can see. But scientists think the vista might once have been quite different. It may have teemed with water and even been hospitable to microbial life. What changed?
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...
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 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...
Hannes Olof GÃ¶sta AlfvÃ©n (May 30, 1908 - April 2, 1995) was a Swedish plasma physicist born in NorrkÃ¶ping, Sweden. AlfvÃ©n 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. AlfvÃ©n made many contributions to plasma physics, including theories describing the...
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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