Rare Spate of Solar Storms Bombards Spacecraft


A large sunspot has been the site of several major eruptions in recent days, including one Thursday that was the largest of the series. Charged particles from the events have been hammering orbital spacecraft.

(I-Newswire) January 21, 2005 - The storms caused minor glitches on the Sun-watching SOHO spacecraft and forced scientists to put two of its instruments into "safe mode," not unlike an electronic nap.

The sunspot group is "one of the most flaring regions of the last few years," said Bernhard Fleck, SOHO Project Scientist with the European Space Agency (ESA).

Sunspots are regions of intense magnetic energy, cooler than the surrounding solar surface. They're a bit like corks in a shaken bottle of champagne, and when they cut loose, radiation and matter are flung into space. Flares of visible light and X-rays are rated M for medium and X for strong, with an accompanying number that signifies further intensity.

The sunspot group, numbered 720, has delivered 15 M-class flares and five X-class flares. At around 2 a.m. ET Thursday, it unleashed an X7, one of the most intense measured in recent years.

"This activity is significant," said NOAA space weather forecaster Bill Murtagh. "However, it is considerably less intense than the activity observed during the 'Halloween Storms' of 2003."

The 2003 rampage, which included 10 X-class flares, knocked out two Earth-orbiting satellites and even crippled an instrument aboard a Mars orbiter.

Some flares are accompanied by coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are clouds of charged subatomic particles that race outward at millions of miles per hour. They can damage satellites and occasionally trip power grids on Earth. No serious effects have been attributed to this month's storms. But scientists are on watch.

"Even before the peak of the flare, energetic protons were pummeling SOHO as well as geostationary spacecraft around Earth," Fleck said.

SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) is run by ESA and NASA. It and the geostationary satellites orbit much higher than many other satellite and are more directly exposed to storms.


SOHO uses stars to guide it and maintain its attitude. In the past, loss of a guide star could throw the probe into an emergency. A software upgrade was done in 1999 after such a problem.

"With the improved software, several stars are tracked at the same time, and losing the primary one is no big deal as long as there are more stars left to track," Fleck said. Good thing, because these latest tempests have proved challenging.

"During the first few hours of the storm, four stars were lost," Fleck said. Two of SOHO's instruments were manually put in safe mode by turning down high voltages, he added.

Residents of the far north have enjoyed fantastic displays of the Northern Lights during the storm series. The aurora, as they are also known, are triggered when the solar storms hit Earth's protective magnetosphere, causing charged particles to stream into the upper atmosphere, where they excite molecules into glowing.

The residents of the International Space Station are relatively safe from most solar storms, because they orbit inside the planet's protective magnetosphere.

In general, the Sun is near a minimum of activity in a roughly 11-year cycle. But sunspots, flares and eruptions can occur anytime during the cycle. The storminess is likely to subside in coming days as the sunspot rotates to the back side of the Sun.

http://www.space.com/spacewatch/cams.html

http://www.space.com/spacewatch/aurora_cam.html




###




Company Contact Information
Space.com - By Robert Roy Britt




Archive

January 21, 2005

If you have questions regarding information in this press release contact the company listed above. I-Newswire.com is a press release service and not the author of this press release. The information that is on or available through this site is for informational purposes only and speaks only as of the particular date or dates of that information. As some companies / PR Agencies submit their press releases once per week/month or quarter, make sure check the official company website for accurate release dates as our site displays the I-Newswire.com distribution date only. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of information on or available through this site, and we are not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in that information or for actions taken in reliance on that information.


Related Releases

Relish The Interesting Stories Of Amar Chitra Katha At Unbelievable Price On Infibeam

Get the best collection of Indian stories published by Amar Chitra Katha at infibeam, an online shopping website at an unbelievable additional 15% off.

Lamb of God Partners with Specticast for Worldwide Theatrical Distribution of "As The Palaces Burn" Documentary Film

As The Palaces Burn is a film about metal icons Lamb of God, the zealous passion of their fan base, and the gut-wrenching manslaughter trial of lead singer Randy Blythe.

Mervik Haums Publishes Free Infographic To Explain Affiliate Marketing

An Infographic is by far the best way to demonstrate any idea or marketing plan. As it is a visual representation of information, data and knowledge, the viewer get a very clear idea about whatever the graphic is built for.

86.7% Of People Think It Is A Good Time To Be Investing In Adelaide Property

Adelaide Finance Brokers Urbantech Group recently ran a survey on their website. They asked the simple question: "Do you think it is a good time to be i

The Metro Joins The Hunt For Santa With Ted Burns

Ted Burns, the host of Third Degree, is searching for Santa, also known as the Yuletide Yobbo. And now he's got the support of the Metro, the UK's leading free newspaper.

Latest 10 Headlines

Labor Day 11AM to 7PM, Unlimited Pass $20, Action Territory Family Fun Center, Free Parking, Admission & Wifi. Something Fun For Everyone!

Labor Day 11AM to 7PM, Unlimited Pass $20, Action Territory Family Fun Center Kenosha, Free Parking, Admission & Wifi. The Action Eatery Beer & Wine bar will also have specials that day. Five Free Tokens if you bring in a copy of this article.

Secrets of Analytics Revealed at the Latest Industry Interaction at Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies (KIAMS)

The four V's of big data - volume, variety, velocity and veracity-were the focus of a discussion during the Analytics lecture held on 16th August, 2014 in the KIAMS auditorium.

Huge Anticipation Around the National Conference on Knowledge Management Hosted by SCMS Cochin in Association with CDC, Govt. of India

SCMS Cochin will be hosting a National Conference on Knowledge Management on the 29-30th of August, 2014.

Clarity Technologies Completes Installation & Deployment Of Servers For Newark Prep Charter School

Clarity Technologies Group, LLC has recently completed the installation of a publicly advertised Request for Proposal for the Newark Prep Charter School.

Mr Sajiv Menon, MD, Nitta Gelatine India Ltd Delivers An Inspiring Inaugural Address to New Students at the Orientation Program Organized by SCMS Cochin

SCMS Cochin School of Business welcomed its 23rd batch of students with a rigorous orientation program to put them right into the thick of action.

The Curious Case Of Increased Global Demand Of Faculty From Elite Indian B-Schools As Observed By Professor (Dr.) Lata Dhir Of SPJIMR

Professor (Dr.) Lata Dhir of SPJIMR is back in India after a 2-month stint at the ESB Business School in Reutlingen, Germany.

FORE School Of Management, New Delhi Releases "Malaysia: Challenges And Perspectives"

FORE School of Management released a special book "Malaysia: Challenges and Perspectives" and the event was graced by the honorable High Commissioner of Malaysia Dato' Naimun Ashakli Bin Mohammad.

Mr. Tarun Mudgal Offers Students of FORE School of Management, New Delhi Valuable Insight into the World of Marketing and Sales

Mr. Tarun Mudgal, Commercial Account Manager, VMware Inc., recently visited the campus of FORE School of Management, New Delhi.

Samanvay 2014, the Annual Alumni Meet at KIAMS Turns Out to Be a Resounding Success

It was a homecoming for alumni from various batches at KIAMS who came together for the 2014 instalment of Samanvay.

Mr. Upadhyaya, Asst Vice President, JM Financial Services Pvt. Limited, Critically Analyses the SIP Projects of the Budding Managers of KIAMS

Marketing and Finance students of KIAMS recently had an opportunity to attend a presentation by Mr. Prashant Upadhyaya, Asst Vice President at JM Financial Services Pvt Limited.

Helpful Articles

Increase Website Traffic By Using Press Releases
Write A Press Release For Big Time News
Get Backlinks From Press Releases
How To Write A Press Release Quick And Easy
Choosing A Press Release Service
Writing A News Press Release
Get More Traffic From Press Releases
Is A Press Release Service Worth It?
Effective Press Release Distribution
Create a Successful Online Press Release
Submit A Press Release and Get More Traffic
How To Write A Press Release
Check This Before You Send A Press Release
Using A Press Release Service For Your News Release

Our Services:

Submit Your Free Press Release Now.

Open Now:
Online Classified Ads at I-Newswire.com
Job Search Engine at I-Newswire.com
Car Search Engine at I-Newswire.com
Real Estate Search at I-Newswire.com
Website News Releases, Announcements and Updates

Other Cool Sites:
Breaking and Latest Automotive News
Learn the secrets on how to become an alpha male and how to meet girls on facebook at Dating-To-Mating.com. Check out the best spinner and instant article factory for your content writing needs.