This figure shows the composition of a large event which was measured by ACE-SWICS on May 3 and compares it to standard solar wind composition (labelled slow solar wind). The Fe and O charge state show that the CME plasma is composed of a very hot (about 2.5-3 million K) and a very cold (less than 0.3 million K) component.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of ACE-SWICS
ACE Satellite Probes Solar Event
News story originally written on June 8, 1998
During the last months, there have been more Coronal Mass Ejections
(CMEs) than usual. In fact, one such event was recorded just last week by SOHO. Another CME
was recorded by the ACE spacecraft
on May 3. The ACE satellite measurements
show something very unusual about these CMEs.
These explosion events were first discovered in the 1970's. Since they were discovered not too long ago, scientists are still finding out about these CMEs. The ACE satellite found that the CME that passed it last month wasn't made up of material that is all the same temperature. Instead, it was found that the CME was made of an extremely hot region, followed by a cooler region and then another hot region of solar material. This discovery could change what scientists know about CMEs and about how CMEs affect the Earth's environment.
CMEs can definitely affect Earth. They can cause strong geomagnetic storms, aurorae or electrical power blackouts. So we need to know when these CMEs are coming. That is why we have spacecraft like ACE. The ACE satellite serves as a spaceweather station while in orbit. ACE can provide about one-hour advance warning of any major geomagnetic storms.
As we near solar maximum, more and more CMEs are likely to occur.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, ranging from evolution
, classroom research
, and the need for science and math literacy
You might also be interested in:
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 on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...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 want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more
In late April through mid-May 2002, all five naked-eye planets are visible at the same time in the night sky! This is includes Mercury which is generally very hard to see. You won't want to miss this!...more