This image of a solar storm was taken by SOHO.
Click on image for full size
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
SOHO Watches Waves
News story originally written on March 13, 2000
The SOHO spacecraft has made a great discovery! Scientists found a way to forcast space weather weeks in advance.
Until now, we had no way to tell when a solar disturbance was heading towards Earth.
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) can monitor waves that travel through the Sun from the far side. The far side is the half of the Sun not facing the Earth.
These waves can travel through the Sun because the star is a very hot ball of gas, a great medium for sound waves to travel through.
It takes 27 days for the Sun to complete one rotation, giving us plenty of notice before the solar storm faces Earth.
This gives a week to two weeks warning," said Douglas Braun, a solar
physicist and co-author of a study appearing Friday in the journal Science.
"Such a prediction could be important because it would give time to warn
the crew of a manned mission to Mars, or astronauts working outside the
International Space Station."
Scientists say that right now SOHO could not be used as a daily forcasting satellite. Either the way data is being retrieved will have to be modified, or another satellite will be sent into space to be a forcasting satellite.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology
, rocks and minerals
, and Earth system science
You might also be interested in:
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) caught a rare view of the far side of the Sun. If solar activity is found by the satellite before that side of the Sun faces Earth, then scientists can forecast...more
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center at 2:19 p.m. EST, October 29th. The sky was clear and the weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit for the Unitied...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials are demanding an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting...more
During a period of about two days in early May, 1998, the ACE spacecraft was immersed in plasma associated with a coronal mass ejection (CME). The SWICS instrument on ACE, which determines unambiguously...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service has referred to forests as the "heart and lungs of the world." Forests reduce soil erosion, maintain water quality, contribute to atmospheric humidity and cloud...more