Here Are the U.S. Regions Most Vulnerable to Solar Storms

IEEE Spectrum  April 24, 2020 A once‐per‐century geoelectric hazard map is created for the U.S. high‐voltage power grid. A statistical extrapolation from 31 years of magnetic field measurements is made by identifying 84 geomagnetic storms. With these data, we estimate once‐per‐century geoelectric fields at the magnetotelluric survey sites and calculate the theoretical voltages within transmission lines in the U.S. power grid. Once‐per‐century geoelectric field strengths span more than 3 orders of magnitude from a minimum of 0.02 V/km at a site in Idaho to a maximum of 27.2 V/km at a site in Maine. A team of researchers in at […]

NASA rockets study why tech goes haywire near poles

Phys.org  November 26, 2019 Most of Earth is shielded from the solar wind but right near the poles the magnetic field becomes a funnel, known as cusp, where the solar wind can get all the way down to the atmosphere disrupting satellites and radio and GPS signals. Beginning Nov. 25, 2019, three new NASA-supported missions will launch into the northern polar cusp, aiming to improve the technology affected by it. The three missions are all part of the Grand Challenge Initiative. Cusp is a series of nine sounding rocket missions exploring the polar cusp capturing the strange phenomena inside the […]

Researchers find that the sun’s magnetic field is ten times stronger than previously believed

Phys.org  March 29, 2019 An international team of researchers (UK, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia, Sweden, Georgia, Germany) analyzed the solar flare which erupted near the surface of the sun on 10 September 2017. The analysis showed that the coronal magnetic field strengths was as high as 350 Gauss at heights up to 25 Mm above the solar limb. These measurements are substantially higher than several previous estimates and may have considerable implications for our current understanding of the extended solar atmosphere…read more. Open Access TECHNICAL ARTICLE 

Extreme space weather can wreak havoc on Earth—these tools help warn of the dangers ahead

Phys.org  January 23, 2019 Researchers in the UK have developed a system to improve the reliability of systems that predict space weather events by measuring the solar wind from distances further away from Earth than previously possible. In a project called HELCATS, they used a satellite set up to monitor the Sun and Earth from a side view, known as STEREO, to gather data on CMEs (coronal mass ejections) and how they vary in speed, density, and direction throughout a solar cycle. The idea was to exploit the STEREO Heliospheric Imaging data, with observations of over 1000 CMEs from 2007 […]