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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Tracking Space Weather
18 August 2011 4:54 pm
Using a newly developed technique that can separate the dim light of a solar flare from the blaze of stars in the background, researchers have, for the first time, tracked a massive solar flare from the sun all the way to Earth, they reported at a NASA press briefing today. That coronal mass ejection—or CME, a type of solar flare that hurls prodigious amounts of charged particles into space—erupted from the sun in December 2008, and only now have scientists developed a way to spot material in a flare throughout its lifetime. Solar flares are bright as they erupt from the sun, but after the first few hours they diffuse to near invisibility. By the time a typical CME crosses the orbit of Venus, its material glows only 1 billionth as brightly as the full moon, yet it's still strong enough to damage power grids and satellites. The new analytical tool, which dissects data gathered by five cameras on a probe orbiting the sun far from Earth, provides scientists with the ability to track CMEs from the time they burst from the solar atmosphere (top) to the point at which they near Earth (bottom). That capability will allow researchers to better observe the evolving size, shape, speed, and magnetic field of massive flares and therefore better predict when the CME will slam Earth and what its effects might be.
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