Space Weather Lab


Bob Weigel, Director
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Acronym: SWL Website
Unit: College of Science
Department: School of Physics, Astronomy, and Computational Science Phone: 703.993.1361
Location: 222 Planetary Hall, University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030

Space weather research addresses understanding of the physics of the connected Sun-Earth system.

Space Weather video segment from SPACS APS video

American Physical Society videotaped for its Spring 2013 conference a select group of SPACS Researchers including Bob Weigel on Space Weather.

Bob’s segment starts at 1:20

Article by Mason Student in Sky and Telescope

ISON’s Day in the Sun

Maybe it wasn’t the public’s Comet of the Century, but for author Karl Battams, it was his Comet of the Century.

By Karl Battams

https://www.shopatsky.com/product/sky-telescope-april-14/magazine-issues

Dieter Bilitza honored by Norwegian Academy of Sciences

The Norwegian Academy of Sciences awarded Dieter Bilitza the International Kristian Birkeland medal for outstanding scientific results related to Space Weather and Space Climate.

The Birkeland medal is awarded by the Norwegian Academy of Science in conjunction with the European Space Weather Week (ESSW). It will be presented at the ESSW meeting in Antwerp, Belgium.

SEEDS (Solar Eruptive Event Detection System)

GO TO PROJECT WEBSITE

The goal of SEEDS is to automatically detect, characterize and classify transient/eruptive solar events, including CMEs, coronal dimmings, and flares, using state-of-the-art image processing, machine learning and data mining techniques.

At the present stage of development, we have implemented two modules to automatically detect, track, and characterize CMEs based on SOHO LASCO C2 observations.

(1) A near-real-time module

(2) A CME catalog starting from 1996

A CME catalog based on STEREO SECCHI COR2 observations is forthcoming.

Data usage: While the SEEDS CME catalog is timely and non-subjective, precaution must be taken when used for research. An automated catalog may be associated with certain computational biases.
Acknowledgment: This project has been supported by NASA Living With a Star Program and NASA Applied Information Systems Research Program.

Links to other SOHO/LASCO and STEREO CME catalogs:

CACTUS – generated by the software package “Computer Aided CME Tracking” (Automated).
ARTEMIS - generated by “Automatic Recognition of Transient Events and Marseille Inventory from Synoptic maps” (Automated)
CDAW Catalog - generated by visual manual methods (Manual).
NRL LASCO CME List – generated by operators (Manual).
COR1 CME Catalog – generated by the STEREO COR1 team (Manual)
HI1 Event List – generated by the STEREO HI1 UK team (Manual)

Curators: Oscar Olmedo …

Solar system caught in an interstellar tempest

Article in New Scientist Sept. 6, 2013

The solar system is travelling through much stormier skies than we thought, and might even be about to pop out of the huge gas cloud we have been gliding through for at least 45,000 years. That’s the implication of a multi-decade survey of the interstellar wind buffeting the solar system, which has revealed an unexpected change in the wind’s direction…. Journal reference: Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1239925

Quotes by Robert Meier in New Scientist article

“It’s possible we’re seeing a structure that is not necessarily an edge,” saysRobert Meier, now at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, who helped make the original STP 72-1 measurements. “A change of direction of flow in a stream could mean you’re near the bank, or that there’s a rock in the middle of the stream or something like that. It’s always harder to figure out what’s going on when you’re in the middle.”

Meier adds that there might be an issue in comparing different types of data. None of the more recent spacecraft have looked at the scattered UV light created as atoms from the cloud interact with solar particles. Instead most made direct measurements of the helium atoms. It would …

‘Magnetic Ropes’ that Cause Solar Storms

Mason scientists discovered recently that a phenomenon called a giant magnetic rope is the cause of solar storms. .

The discovery was made by Mason computational and data sciences professor Jie Zhang and his graduate student Xin Cheng using images from the NASA Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) spacecraft.

Space Weather Risks

From the Washington Post… July 10, 2013

Today, electric utilities and the insurance industry are grappling with a scary possibility. A solar storm on the scale of that in 1859 would wreak havoc on power grids, pipelines and satellites. In the worst case, it could leave 20 million to 40 million people in the Northeast without power — possibly for years….

Student project: Tran Tran

Student: Tran Tran
Sponsor: OSCAR program, won a $1,000. grant to do the work
Project: Determine the absolute velocity of hot gases in coronal loops.
Faculty Mentor: Art Poland

Space Weather Lab

The Space Weather Lab emphasizes multi-disciplinary science that crosses traditional department boundaries. SWL specifies and predicts the physical conditions in the space that adversely affect the safety of manned space missions and technological systems such as satellites, electronic power grids, communication and navigation systems.

Students in our space weather program will develop a deep understanding of the Sun, the heliosphere, geospace, and their interactions….

Geomagetic

The magnetic field on Earth’s surface is approximately 30,000 nT. On top of this are fluctuations of the order of 1,000 nT. These fluctuations are caused by changes in the solar wind that are mediated by the magnetosphere and ionosphere. This system can be modeled as a dynamical system of varying orders of complexity.

1.1.1. Long time scale

Day-of-year and semiannual variation in geomagnetic activity

 

Abstract: The day-of-year (DOY) variation in the average value of a solar wind driver of geomagnetic activity has been shown to explain only a minority of the observed amplitude of DOY variation in geomagnetic activity. The proxies for solar wind driving used to show this are averages of a solar wind measurement in the same hour iphone photography or 3-hour interval as the geomagnetic activity measurement. This model of solar wind driving of geomagnetic activity does not account for the observation that the solar wind state in a given time interval can have an effect on activity that lasts many hours. In this work we show a model that includes the solar wind time history predicts a much higher DOY variation in both auroral zone and …