Origin of Space Weather

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 8,856
    Researchers from UCLA, NASA, Japan and Austria collaborate using six different satellites to get the big picture on space weather.

     A collaboration of researchers from UCLA, NASA, Japan and Austria used six different satellites to finally get the big picture on how solar storms, which can knock out communication systems, originate. Energy from the sun is stored in Earth’s magnetosphere, causing the layer to stretch out over a million miles like atail. And similar to how a pebble thrown in a pond causes ripples, the release of this stored magnetic energy, calledmagnetic reconnection, converts the stored magnetic energy into particle energy that expands out and is converted into different kinds of energy, which is what powers auroras and the radiation belts.  The new positions of the 6 satellites allowed scientists to see the total energy conversion picture for the first time, which moves us closer to one-day predicting and forecasting space weather.