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Latest THEMIS Stories

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2008-03-07 10:05:00

Imagine living on a planet where Northern Lights fill the heavens at all hours of the day. Around the clock, even in broad daylight, luminous curtains shimmer and ripple across the sky, mesmerizing anyone who bothers to look. News flash: Astronomers have discovered such a planet. Its name is Earth. "Our own planet has auroras 24 hours a day," says Jim Spann of the Marshall Space Flight Center, "and we can see them even in broad daylight." The trick, he explains, is picking the right...

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2008-03-04 12:50:00

What are the signs of spring? They are as familiar as a blooming daffodil, a songbird at dawn, a surprising shaft of warmth from the afternoon sun. And, oh yes, don't forget the aurora borealis. Spring is aurora season. For reasons not fully understood by scientists, the weeks around the vernal equinox are prone to Northern Lights. Canadians walking their dogs after dinner, Scandinavians popping out to the sauna, Alaskan Huskies on the Iditarod trail -- all they have to do is look up and...

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2007-12-12 07:25:00

NASA's fleet of THEMIS spacecraft, launched less than 8 months ago, has made three important discoveries about spectacular eruptions of Northern Lights called "substorms" and the source of their power. The discoveries include giant magnetic ropes that connect Earth's upper atmosphere to the Sun and explosions in the outskirts of Earth's magnetic field. "The mission is only beginning but THEMIS is already surprising us," says Vassilis Angelopoulos the mission's principal investigator at the...

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2007-09-11 14:10:31

Cluster data has helped provide scientists with a new view of magnetospheric processes, challenging existing theories about magnetic substorms that cause aurorae and perturbations in GPS signals. The onset of magnetic substorms that originate in Earth's magnetosphere has been explained by two competing models: current disruption and near-earth reconnection. Current beliefs have been challenged using data from ESA's Cluster satellites, and CNSA's Double Star, a mission with ESA participation....

ca623fb0cc95c1ec8a025ded175144461
2007-04-25 00:45:00

Violent solar events, like flares and coronal mass ejections, are the hurricanes of space weather, capable of causing havoc with satellites, power grids, and radio communication, including the Global Positioning System. The sun is heading into a new season of turbulent solar activity. Just like its seasonal hurricane predictions, on April 25, 2007, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will issue an update on efforts to predict the sun's next solar cycle. The solar cycle...

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2007-04-12 16:48:40

Cluster is providing new insights into the working of a "Ëœspace tsunami' that plays a role in disrupting the calm and beautiful aurora, or northern lights, creating patterns of auroral dances in the sky. Generally seen in high-latitude regions such as Scandinavia or Canada, aurorae are colourful curtains of light that appear in the sky. Caused by the interaction of high-energy particles brought by the solar wind with Earth's magnetic field, they appear in many different...

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2007-02-17 18:00:00

By JIM ELLIS CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Five science satellites blasted off on a single rocket into a golden sunset Saturday on a mission to figure out the source of powerful geomagnetic substorms in the Earth's atmosphere. The launch at 6:01 p.m. from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station came a day after it was scrubbed Friday after strong upper winds forced officials to wait 24 hours, said Rani Gran, NASA spokeswoman. Scientists hope the $200 million Themis mission unravels the mystery behind...

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2007-02-16 18:55:00

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Strong upper level winds forced NASA to abort plans to launch five satellites on a single rocket Friday from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, officials said. NASA will attempt to launch the five science satellites again Saturday. The probes are all part of a mission to figure out the source of powerful geomagnetic substorms in the Earth's atmosphere. "The strong winds would have affected the rocket's path," said Rani Gran, a NASA spokeswoman. Scientists hope the...

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2007-02-15 19:01:00

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- So many satellites. Just one rocket. Five NASA satellites stacked like a wedding cake are set to launch on a single rocket Friday, part of a mission to figure out the source of powerful geomagnetic substorms in the Earth's atmosphere. These storms can damage communications satellites, disable power grids and shoot high levels of radiation down on spacewalking astronauts and airplane passengers flying over northern latitudes. Scientists believe they also periodically...

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2007-01-13 21:10:00

Canadian scientists help new NASA satellite project gain a closer look at the aurora borealis An international team of scientists -- including physicists from the University of Calgary -- will begin gathering the most detailed information yet about the ever-changing northern lights, as a multi-year research project enters its ultimate phase with the launch of five NASA satellites from Cape Canaveral next month. Researchers in the U of C's Institute for Space Research will play a critical role...


Word of the Day
bellycheer
  • Good cheer; viands.
  • To revel; to feast.
The word 'bellycheer' may come from 'belle cheer', "good cheer".
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