SETI [ASTRO] SOHO Real-Time Web Watch


Larry Klaes (lklaes@bbn.com)
Mon, 07 Jun 1999 12:39:32 -0400


>X-Authentication-Warning: brickbat12.mindspring.com: majordom set sender to owner-astro using -f >Date: Fri, 4 Jun 1999 17:42:04 GMT >From: Ron Baalke <BAALKE@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov> >To: astro@lists.mindspring.com >Subject: [ASTRO] SOHO Real-Time Web Watch >Sender: owner-astro@brickbat12.mindspring.com >Reply-To: Ron Baalke <BAALKE@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov> > >ESA Science News >http://sci.esa.int > >04 Jun 1999 > >SOHO real-time web watch > >The Solar and Heliospheric Observer (SOHO), a joint ESA/NASA space >mission, observed a large coronal mass ejection (CME) on the Sun on >1 June 1999, at 19:37 Universal Time. It was first spotted by solar >physicists at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Chicago, >where the SOHO data were being displayed in real time at the ESA/SOHO >exhibition booth, via an internet connection to NASA's Goddard Space >Flight Center in Maryland. > >The explosive event is "a real planet-buster", said Dr Richard Fisher of >NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. > >"When the coronal mass ejection was observed we were not sure whether >the mass ejection was moving toward the Earth or directly away from the >Earth" said Paal Brekke, ESA/SOHO Deputy Project Scientist who was in >charge of the SOHO exhibit. > >>From a preliminary investigation, the mass ejection appears to be headed >directly 'away' from the Earth, a fact ascertained by physicists after a >quick world-wide search for relevant images of the Sun. Normally, the >SOHO team uses images of the Sun made with the Extreme Ultraviolet >Imaging Telescope (EIT) aboard SOHO to determine whether events are >coming or going -- but EIT was shut down for routine maintenance during >the CME itself. > >Since the event was followed by an increase in the proton flux from the >Sun it was still a possibility that the CME was heading toward the Earth. >"Other types of data that could identify where the event originated were >searched for both by scientists at the SOHO exhibit as well as by the SOHO >team at Goddard Space Flight Center", said Brekke. > >Fortunately, such data is widespread on the world-wide web. Scientists >quickly downloaded solar images from NOAA's space environment centre, >as well as from observatories in Austria, Australia, and Japan, to compare >images from before and after the event. > >"Because data are so distributed and so accessible", said DeForest, "we >were able to identify and track this event from right here at the meeting. >Even a few years ago, this kind of instant international collaboration >would have been impossible." > >The event is travelling at about 1,000 km/sec (600 miles per second) away >from the Sun, according to a preliminary analysis by Dr Simon Plunkett of >the Naval Research Laboratory. If it were travelling toward the Earth, it >would arrive in about two and a half days and could produce a spectacular >aurora at northern latitudes. > >In addition solar storms can cause power blackouts, block radio >communications and trigger phantom commands capable sending satellites >spinning out of their proper orbits. Cellular phones, global positioning >signals and spacewalking astronauts are all at risk. > >Geomagnetic storms on Earth and other results of the increased solar >activity are expected to reach their 11-year peak sometimes early next >year at the same time as computers around the world could struggle to >cope with possible problems caused by the Year 2000 (Y2K) bug. Some >solar physicists have called the effects from the Sun 'the other Y2K >problem'. "SOHO plays a key role in early detection of solar storms >which is important for issuing warnings and forecasts of the space >environment and potential impacts on Earth." adds Brekke. > >Near-real-time data from SOHO is available to everyone who has access >to internet. The most recent images and movies can be found at this web >address: > http://sohowww.estec.esa.nl/data//LATEST/index.html > >USEFUL LINKS FOR THIS STORY > >SOHO science home page >http://sohowww.estec.esa.nl/ > >SOHO images and movies >http://sohowww.estec.esa.nl/data//LATEST/index.html > >SOHO ready for next cosmic events >http://sci.esa.int/missions/newsitem.cfm?TypeID=12&ContentID=4910 > >[NOTE: Images supporting this article are available at >http://sci.esa.int/story.cfm?TypeID=1&ContentID=5250&Storytype=12] > >



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