space-weather

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

High above Earth, two giant rings of energetic particles trapped by the planet’s magnetic field create a dynamic and harsh environment that holds many mysteries – and can affect spacecraft traveling around Earth.

NASA’s Van Allen Probes act as space detectives, to help study the complex particle interactions that occur in these rings, known as the Van Allen radiation belts.

Recently, the spacecraft were in just the right place, at just the right time, to catch an event caused by the fallout of a geomagnetic storm as it happened.

They spotted a sudden rise in particles zooming in from the far side of the planet, improving our understanding of how particles travel in near-Earth space.

The two twin Van Allen Probe spacecraft orbit one behind the other, investigating clues in a way a single spacecraft never could.

On one typical day, as the first instrument traveled around Earth, it spotted nothing unusual, but the second, following just an hour later, observed an increase in oxygen particles speeding around Earth’s dayside – the side nearest the sun. Where did these particles come from?

How had they become so energized?

Scientists scoured the clues to figure out what was happening.

With the help of computer models, they deduced that the particles had originated on the night side of Earth before being energized and accelerated through interactions with Earth’s magnetic field.

As the particles journeyed around Earth, the lighter hydrogen particles were lost in collisions with the atmosphere, leaving an oxygen-rich plasma.

The findings were presented in a recent paper in Geophysical Review Letters.

The unique double observations of the Van Allen Probes help untangle the complex workings of Earth’s magnetic environment.

Such information has provided the very first view of these harsh belts from the inside – and it helps us better protect satellites and astronauts traveling through the region.


IMAGE….The twin Van Allen Probes orbit one behind the other, investigating clues in a way a single spacecraft never could. In this model, the trailing spacecraft saw an increase in injected oxygen particles (blue), which was unobserved by the first. The increase in particles was due to a geomagnetic storm front that moved across the path of the orbit after the first spacecraft passed. Credit NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Mike Henderson/Joy Ng, Producer

Eight Small Satellites Will Give Us a New Look Inside Hurricanes

The same GPS technology that helps people get where they’re going in a car will soon be used in space in an effort to improve hurricane forecasting. The technology is a key capability in a NASA mission called the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS).

The CYGNSS mission, led by the University of Michigan, will use eight micro-satellite observatories to measure wind speeds over Earth’s oceans, increasing the ability of scientists to understand and predict hurricanes. Each microsatellite observatory will make observations based on the signals from four GPS satellites.

The CYGNSS microsatellite observatories will only receive signals broadcast directly to them from GPS satellites already orbiting the Earth and the reflection of the same satellite’s signal reflected from the Earth’s surface. The CYGNSS satellites themselves will not broadcast.

The use of eight microsatellite observatories will decrease the revisit time as compared with current individual weather satellites. The spacecraft will be deployed separately around the planet, with successive satellites passing over the same region every 12 minutes.

This will be the first time that satellites can peer through heavy tropical rainfall into the middle of hurricanes and predict how intense they are before and during landfall.

As the CYGNSS and GPS constellations orbit around the Earth, the interaction of the two systems will result in a new image of wind speed over the entire tropics every few hours, compared to every few days for a single satellite.

Another advantage of CYGNSS is that its orbit is designed to measure only in the tropics…where hurricanes develop and are most often located. The focus on tropical activity means that the instruments will be able to gather much more useful data on weather systems exclusively found in the tropics. This data will ultimately be used to help forecasters and emergency managers make lifesaving decisions.

Launch!

CYGNSS launched at 8:37 a.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 15, from our Kennedy Space Center in Florida. CYGNSS launched aboard an Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket, deployed from Orbital’s “Stargazer” L-1011 carrier aircraft. 

Pegasus is a winged, three-stage solid propellant rocket that can launch a satellite into low Earth orbit. How does it work? Great question! 

After takeoff, the aircraft (which looks like a commercial airplane..but with some special quirks) flies to about 39,000 feet over the ocean and releases the rocket. 

After a five-second free fall in a horizontal position, the Pegasus first stage ignites. The aerodynamic lift, generated by the rocket’s triangle-shaped wing, delivers the payload into orbit in about 10 minutes. 

Pegasus is used to deploy small satellites weighing up to 1,000 pounds into low Earth orbit. 

And success! The eight CYGNSS satellites were successfully deployed into orbit! 

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

Equinox from space

March 20th was the Equinox, the day when the sun is directly above the equator and where the North and South Pole both receive equal amounts of sunlight. For the next 6 months the South Pole will be in shadow and the North Pole will receive sunlight.

The Japanese Himawari-8 weather satellite captured this gif/video view of the Earth moving into night over the Pacific Ocean yesterday; this is just about as closely balanced as the planet can get, with both poles receiving just about the same amount of light.

-JBB

Video credit:
https://twitter.com/himawari8bot/status/844156788270415872

4

SWARM DETECTS ASYMMETRY

Strong electric currents in the upper atmosphere are known to vary according to the season, but ESA’s Swarm mission has discovered that this seasonal variation is not the same in the north and south polar regions.

Named after Kristian Birkeland, the scientist a century ago who first postulated that the ‘northern lights’ were linked to electrically charged particles in the solar wind, these currents flow along Earth’s magnetic field lines in the polar regions.

Magnetic field measurements from ESA’s Swarm satellite constellation are allowing scientists to understand more about these powerful currents, which carry up to 1 TW of electric power to the upper atmosphere. This is about 30 times the energy consumed in New York during a heatwave.

It is important to understand the interplay between these Birkeland currents and the solar wind that bombards our planet and that can potentially cause power and communication blackouts.

New findings, presented this week at the Swarm science meeting in Canada, show how three years of measurements from the mission were combined with measurements from Germany’s earlier Champ satellite to produce global climatological maps of these currents.

Moreover, these results show differences between currents in the northern and southern hemisphere, how they change with the season and how they vary according to the strength of the solar wind.

Karl Laundal, from the Birkeland Centre for Space Science, explained, “Interaction between Earth’s magnetic field and the interplanetary magnetic field – meaning part of the Sun’s magnetic field carried by solar wind – depends on how the interplanetary field is orientated.

“While this sounds complicated, it means that hardly any solar wind can enter the magnetosphere and arrive at Earth if the interplanetary magnetic field points north, parallel to Earth’s magnetic field.

“On the other hand, if the interplanetary field points south, the opposite is true and this allows a connection to be made with Earth’s magnetic field.

“Part of the energy in solar wind then further energises the charged particles that are responsible for the visible light displays of the auroras.”

Birkeland currents therefore tend to be weak for a northwards interplanetary field and strong for a southwards field.

Importantly, these new results also reveal that the strength of the currents is not the same in both hemispheres. These hemispheric differences may relate to asymmetry in Earth’s main magnetic field.

In fact, the two geomagnetic poles are not geometrically opposite to one another, and the magnetic field intensity is also not the same in the north as in the south.

Dr Laundal said, “The main reason for this probably has to do with differences in Earth’s main field. Such differences imply that the ionosphere–magnetosphere coupling is different in the two hemispheres.

“In particular, the magnetic pole is more offset with respect to the geographic pole in the south compared to north, which leads to different variations in sunlight in the ‘magnetic hemispheres’. Because of these differences, the two hemispheres do not respond symmetrically to solar wind driving or changing seasons.

“Swarm is a fantastic tool for space science studies. The high-quality measurements and the fact that there are three satellites working in concert hold many new clues about how our home planet interacts with the space around it. It’s a fascinating time.”


TOP IMAGE….Three years of measurements from ESA’s Swarm mission have be combined with measurements from Germany’s earlier Champ satellite to produce global climatological maps of Birkeland currents. These currents tend to be weak for a northwards interplanetary field and strong for a southwards field. Importantly, these new results also reveal that the strength of the currents is not the same in both hemispheres. These hemispheric differences may relate to asymmetry in Earth’s main magnetic field.

CENTRE IMAGE….The magnetic field and electric currents in and around Earth generate complex forces that have immeasurable impact on every day life. The field can be thought of as a huge bubble, protecting us from cosmic radiation and charged particles that bombard Earth in solar winds.

LOWER IMAGE….Swarm is ESA’s first constellation of Earth observation satellites designed to measure the magnetic signals from Earth’s core, mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere, providing data that will allow scientists to study the complexities of our protective magnetic field.

BOTTOM IMAGE….Three years of measurements from ESA’s Swarm mission have be combined with measurements from Germany’s earlier Champ satellite to produce global climatological maps of Birkeland currents. These currents tend to be weak for a northwards interplanetary field and strong for a southwards field. Importantly, these new results also reveal that the strength of the currents is not the same in both hemispheres. These hemispheric differences may relate to asymmetry in Earth’s main magnetic field.

What is witchcraft to me?
Witchcraft is a sky full of clouds and the birds flying below them.
Witchcraft is old books when it’s raining outside.
Witchcraft is the full moon surrounded by the stars at midnight.
Witchcraft is plants and crystals all over the place.
Witchcraft is walking with your head up in a crowd full of people.
Witchcraft is me, witchcraft is everything.

Light and Dark

 This video shows one of my new favorite things about the solstice. The Japanese Meteorological Agency’s Himawari-8 weather satellite is in a geostationary position over the Pacific Ocean and eastern parts of Asia, sending down pictures to monitor weather over that part of the planet. In the process, it gets a full frame view of the orb of the Earth, and it automatically shares clips from its cameras online. Here’s the view taken as the sun set yesterday just before the official solstice time – take a look at the poles. The North pole never exits a shadow and the South Pole is a tiny sliver of light that never goes away – the best shot you’ll get of this arrangement for a year. This one also gives some nice sunglint on the sea just before the sun goes down – reflection of the sunlight off the smooth surface of the ocean.

 -JBB

Video Credit: Himawari-8 satellite

https://twitter.com/himawari8bot/status/811255063255650304

Witch au in the fahc universe

Edit because I should have put this stuff in the post and not the tag:   storm/weather witch Michael who creates lightning to strike people down or a tornado to wreck the streets behind them to help lose the cops

Animal witch Ryan who lets loose animals in the zoo and convinces them to tear apart someone once he’s done with them, it’s an easy way to dispose bodies

Jack who uses her magic to heal them just enough until they can get to Caleb. She’s a white witch and her magic is suppose to be used for good and it is. It helps Geoff when he’s stressed over a heist and Ryan when he can’t sleep. It help Michael control his magic when he’s pissed and keeps Gavin from fainting when he has to use his magic. It helps Jeremy keep from getting too anxious about a job especially in the beginning and herself when things get to much and she needs to keep herself sane and calm. It helps them all from going mad when someone gets captured. 

time/fire witch Geoff who turns back time when something goes horribly horribly wrong and one of them dies and lights shit up when need be

Necromancy  Jeremy who gets ghost to help distract people and bring people just long enough when he’s not finished with them. Jeremy can only bring somebody back for so long before it drains him and they aren’t fully back to themselves they’re, well, a zombie which is why Geoff has to turn back time instead of Jeremy just bringing them back. 

Blood witch Gavin who hates his magic and only uses it when he has to

Garden witch Mica who makes vines grow from the ground to tie people up

Space witch Trevor who creates black holes and stars just hot enough to burn a person when Geoff isn’t around to do it

Eclectic Witch Lindsay who is basically the crew Jack of all trades 

Creation witch Matt who makes new weapons and vehicles for the crew

and divination witch steffie who they all go to before a job to see how it goes

Another edit because something was pointed out by @whatdoyewant :  ryan using mangy cats and dogs, wild forgotten things that prowl the alleys and scrap for scraps. who are starved and half crazed and more wild than any zoo animal. zoos are precious conservation programs with rare species that are well taken care of, and he wouldn’t touch them. He’d summon the cats left behind, the dogs who ran from fighting rings and abuse, the rats that fill every crack of every dilapidated apartment and every sewer.

Thank you very very much!

flickr

Jupiter Rises Through the Outback Storm - March 22, 2017 by Joseph Brimacombe
Via Flickr:
Taken from Savannah Skies Observatory with a Canon 5DS R and 14-mm lens. Single shot.