Pluto: The ‘Other’ Red Planet

What color is Pluto? The answer, revealed in the first maps made from New Horizons data, turns out to be shades of reddish brown. Although this is reminiscent of Mars, the cause is almost certainly very different. On Mars the coloring agent is iron oxide, commonly known as rust. On the dwarf planet Pluto, the reddish color is likely caused …

Student Paper: Signatures of tidally distorted solid exoplanets

The observational effects and signatures of tidally distorted solid exoplanets

Prabal Saxena,
Peter Panka and
Michael Summers


Our work examines the detectability of tidally distorted solid exoplanets in synchronous rotation. Previous work has shown that tidally distorted shapes of close-in gas giants can give rise to radius underestimates and subsequently density overestimates for …

Stream Processing for Solar Physics Paper

Karl Battams:

Modern advances in space technology have enabled the capture and recording of unprecedented volumes of data. In the field of solar physics this is most readily apparent with the advent of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which returns in excess of 1 terabyte of data daily. While we now have sufficient capability to capture, transmit and store this …

Fall 2014 Space Weather Seminars

Announcements are sent via the email lists for faculty ( and students (  Send an email to one of these lists to subscribe.

Full Schedule

Tuesday at 11am, Room 242 Planetary Hall

Space Weather Lab Network Map

Keith Cole Obit

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Satellite gravity wave images reported by The Atlantic

A DC based magazine, The Atlantic, recently reported a nice bullseye-like gravity wave caught by the new VIIRS instrument on Suomi NPP satellite. The work is lead by a group of scientists from CSU, UW and GMU.

Space Weather video segment from SPACS APS video

Fierce solar magnetic storm barely missed Earth in 2012

“Perfect storm” could have knocked out the electrical grid and disabled satellites and GPS, costing trillions worldwide

Had the eruption come nine days earlier, when the ignition spot on the solar surface was aimed at Earth, it would have hit the planet, potentially wreaking havoc with the electrical grid, disabling satellites, and GPS, and disrupting our increasingly electronic lives.

The solar bursts would have enveloped Earth in magnetic fireworks matching the largest magnetic storm ever reported on Earth, the Carrington event of 1859.

Mason Student Interviewed in Nature Article on Comet

Astronomy: Death of a comet

Before it shattered near the Sun, Comet ISON became a scientific celebrity. Now researchers are trying to piece together its lessons.

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