Nasa boffins reveal aurora trigger

 

Nasa scientists have uncovered the precise event that triggers the auroras of light at the Earth's polar regions.

The discovery could help protect vulnerable satellites, communications networks and power grids which are all affected by solar storms.

Scientists have known for years that the auroras are caused by the interplay of charged particles from the Sun in the Earth's magnetic field, but have only recently witnessed the trigger event that precedes the aurora displays.

Lines of the Earth's magnetic field far out into space snap into a different shape during solar 'sub-storms', showering the Earth with charged particles.

Scientists may now be able to set up an early warning system for operators of vulnerable equipment. Solar storms can knock out satellites and disrupt Earth-bound communications and power networks.

The discovery was made from data gathered by the Time, History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (Themis) mission.

Themis uses five weather satellites which can photograph the entire surface of the Earth every four days, and a powerful network of supercomputers based in Alaska and Canada to analyse the data.

Nasa has set up a real-time feed from the satellites.

Copyright ©v3.co.uk


 
 
 
Top Stories
Toll Group to go Google
Poaches Woolworths project manager.
 
How News Corp's CIO tackled skills in his race to the cloud
What to do when your team’s talents are no longer needed.
 
Photos: How Thodey transformed Telstra
From turbulent Trujillo to Australia's leading telco.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest Comments
Polls
Who do you trust most to protect your private data?







   |   View results
Your bank
  35%
 
Your insurance company
  5%
 
A technology company (Google, Facebook et al)
  9%
 
Your telco, ISP or utility
  8%
 
A retailer (Coles, Woolworths et al)
  4%
 
A Federal Government agency (ATO, Centrelink etc)
  18%
 
An Australian law enforcement agency (AFP, ASIO et al)
  15%
 
A State Government agency (Health dept, etc)
  7%
TOTAL VOTES: 3960

Vote
Do you support the abolition of the Office of the Information Commissioner?

   |   View results
I support shutting down the OAIC.
  27%
 
I DON'T support shutting the OAIC.
  73%
TOTAL VOTES: 1348

Vote