Latest Plasma physics Stories
On June 27, 2013, NASA's newest solar observatory was launched into orbit around Earth. The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, observes the low level of the sun's atmosphere -- a constantly moving area called the interface region -- in better detail than has ever been done before.
Space appears to be an endless vacuum void of sound, but it’s not. Electric activity not visible to the naked eye emerges from asteroids drifting through space, and NASA is now in the process of sending astronauts to an asteroid to explore its electrical environment.
Just like on Earth, the Sun has spells of bad weather, with high winds and showers of rain. But unlike the all-too-frequent storms of the UK and Ireland, rain on the Sun is made of electrically charged gas (plasma) and falls at around 200,000 kilometers an hour from the outer solar atmosphere, the corona, to the Sun's surface.
Astronomers using NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) have discovered that the atmosphere of solar particles surrounding the sun is larger than previously believed, extending out some five million miles above the surface.
Using the ESA’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have located a mysterious X-ray signal that could be produced by sterile neutrinos – particles that are a potential candidate for the abundant and essentially invisible substance known as dark matter.
A suite of Sun-gazing spacecraft, SOHO, STEREO and Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), have spotted an unusual series of eruptions in which a series of fast 'puffs' force the slow ejection of a massive burst of plasma from the Sun's corona.
Using data from four European Space Agency satellites that fly in formation in the Earth's magnetic field, researchers have uncovered new information on how the solar wind can break through the Earth’s magnetosphere and disrupt modern life.
The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 7:42 a.m. EDT on June 10, 2014. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) – which typically observes the entire sun 24 hours a day -- captured images of the flare.
The 1.6 meter telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) in California has given researchers unparalleled capability for investigating phenomena such as solar flares.
XMM-Newton has revealed a unique star. It is a celestial chimera with the body of a normal massive star yet the magnetic field of a dead, stellar dwarf. This makes it a singular object among the billions of known stars.
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...
- A small wooded valley; a dell.
- The protecting weather-shed built around the entrance to a house.
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