Latest Solar wind Stories

2008-10-20 14:45:00

NASA is sending a small spacecraft on a two-year mission that will give scientists their first view of the outermost reaches of our solar system.The Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, satellite launched into high-Earth orbit on Sunday from a site at Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific, where it will study a chaotic region in space where the solar wind from the sun clashes with cold gases from interstellar space.The solar wind, a stream of electrically conducting gas continuously moving...

2008-10-19 20:25:00

GREENBELT, Md. -- NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer mission, or IBEX, successfully launched from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean at 1:47 p.m. EDT, Sunday. IBEX will be the first spacecraft to image and map dynamic interactions taking place in the outer solar system. The spacecraft separated from the third stage of its Pegasus launch vehicle at 1:53 p.m. and immediately began powering up components necessary to control onboard systems. The operations team is continuing to check...

2008-09-23 15:05:00

Data from the Ulysses spacecraft, a joint NASA-European Space Agency mission, show the sun has reduced its output of solar wind to the lowest levels since accurate readings became available. The sun's current state could reduce the natural shielding that envelops our solar system. "The sun's million mile-per-hour solar wind inflates a protective bubble, or heliosphere, around the solar system. It influences how things work here on Earth and even out at the boundary of our solar system where...

2008-09-08 10:28:31

Next April, for a grand total of 8 minutes, NASA astronomers are going to glimpse a secret layer of the sun. Researchers call it "the transition region." It is a place in the sun's atmosphere, about 5000 km above the stellar surface, where magnetic fields overwhelm the pressure of matter and seize control of the sun's gases. It's where solar flares explode, where coronal mass ejections begin their journey to Earth, where the solar wind is mysteriously accelerated to a million mph. It is, in...

2008-08-28 09:45:00

Oxygen is constantly leaking out of Earth's atmosphere and into space. Now, ESA's formation-flying quartet of satellites, Cluster, has discovered the physical mechanism that is driving the escape. It turns out that the Earth's own magnetic field is accelerating the oxygen away. The new work uses data collected by Cluster from 2001 to 2003. During this time, Cluster amassed information about beams of electrically charged oxygen atoms, known as ions, flowing outwards from the polar regions into...

2008-08-21 07:25:00

What if you woke up one morning and found your whole planet had been swallowed by the atmosphere of a star? Get out of bed, look out the window. Auroras are dancing along the horizon. Dark sunspots crackle overhead"”each little 'pop' more powerful than a nuclear bomb. On TV, a weather forecaster warns astronauts, "a solar flare is sure to erupt," although he can't say exactly when. Moments later, the satellite signal begins to flicker. Where is this place? Welcome to planet Earth. "It's...

2008-08-01 05:30:00

Long ago, someone stood alone on a sandy shore and gazed longingly out at the seemingly endless expanse of ocean, over a horizon suffused softly with ocean mist, musing "I wonder, what's out there?" Then, they fashioned a boat, rigged it with a large cloth to catch the wind, and set sail. Not quite so long ago, someone stood alone on a sandy shore and gazed longingly up at the seemingly endless expanse of space, suffused softly with sparkling stars, musing "I wonder, what's out there?" Then,...

2008-07-28 08:50:00

At the edge of our solar system in December 2004, the Voyager 1 spacecraft encountered something never before experienced during its then 26-year cruise through the solar system "” an invisible shock formed as the solar wind piles up against the gas in interstellar space. This boundary, called the termination shock, marks the beginning of our solar system's final frontier, a vast expanse of turbulent gas and twisting magnetic fields. A NASA-sponsored team is developing a way to view...

2008-07-24 14:00:00

Researchers using a fleet of five NASA satellites have discovered that explosions of magnetic energy a third of the way to the moon power substorms that cause sudden brightenings and rapid movements of the aurora borealis, called the Northern Lights. The culprit turns out to be magnetic reconnection, a common process that occurs throughout the universe when stressed magnetic field lines suddenly snap to a new shape, like a rubber band that's been stretched too far. "We discovered what makes...

2008-07-09 10:15:00

NASA's sun-focused STEREO spacecraft unexpectedly detected particles from the edge of the solar system last year, allowing University of California, Berkeley, scientists to map for the first time the energized particles in the region where the hot solar wind slams into the cold interstellar medium. Mapping the region by means of neutral, or uncharged, atoms instead of light "heralds a new kind of astronomy using neutral atoms," said Robert Lin, UC Berkeley professor of physics and lead for...

Latest Solar wind Reference Libraries

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...

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...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Heliopause -- The heliopause is the boundary where our Sun's solar wind is stopped by the interstellar medium. The solar wind blows a "bubble" in the interstellar medium (the rareified hydrogen and helium gas that permeates the galaxy). The point where the solar wind's strength is no longer great enough to push back the interstellar medium is known as the heliopause, and is often considered to be the outer "border" of the solar system. The distance to the heliopause is not precisely...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Corona -- The corona is the luminous "atmosphere" of the Sun extending millions of kilometers into space, most easily seen during a total solar eclipse. An interesting feature of the corona is the fact that it is much hotter than the visible "surface" of the Sun; the photosphere is approximately 6000°C compared to the corona at over one million °C. The corona is much less dense than the photosphere, however, and so produces less light. The exact mechanism by which the corona is...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Aurora -- The Polar Aurora are natural displays of light in the sky that can be seen with the unaided eye only at night. An auroral display in the Northern Hemisphere is called the aurora borealis, or the northern lights; in the Southern Hemisphere it is called the aurora australis. Auroras are the most visible effect of the sun's activity on the earth's atmosphere. The beautiful and often eerie curtains of light in the night time sky have been observed by people for millennia. An aurora...

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