Solar Eruptions --- As the Source of Space Weather
Chen Peng Fei, Nanjing University
The Sun is never quiet. In addition to the quasi-steady solar wind which flows out into the space, solar eruptions appear sporadically, including solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Billions of tons of hot matter, along with energetic particles and magnetic field, is ejected into the space. They may have a chance to hit our Earth, producing beautiful aurorae, as well as hazardous space weather.
High-tech activities, including satellites, telecommunications, GPS navigation, and power grid, may be severely impacted by the collisions. Therefore, it is important to investigate how these eruptions are generated, how they propagate to the Earth, and how much the Earth's magnetosphere and the atmosphere would be affected. With these improved understandings, our researches are aimed to predict the occurrence of the solar eruptions and their influence on the Earth. Among these researches, the first important issue is to understand how the solar eruptions are triggered. In my talk, I will talk about several models on the triggering mechanism of solar eruptions, including my own contributions. The second issue is how we can judge a solar eruption is propagating toward the Earth and how fast it is moving. I will talk about the typical diagnostic method, which is very useful practically but controversial in its understanding. The third issue is to monitor the responses of the Earth to the solar eruptions. I will talk about some ground-based projects which are in progress and some space missions which are under consideration in China.
1. NASA / Marshal – Solar Physics solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov
2.Grand Challenges for Disaster Reduction, “Space Weather”, Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction, President’s National Science and Technology Council, 2008. sdr.gov/185820_Space_FINAL.pdf
3. Bracing for a Solar Superstorm; August 2008; Scientific American Magazine; by Sten F. Odenwald and James L. Green. scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=bracing-for-a-solar-superstorm
4. “Space Weather”. plasmacoalition.org. ©2009 Coalition for Plasma Science.
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