Science Background

Space Weather

Space Weather refers to the dynamic conditions in space, primarily influenced by the eruptions from the Sun, that can impact technology and systems on Earth and in space. New global aviation space weather network launched Space weather typically originates from the Sun in the form of eruptions ( ie. solar wind, flares or coronal mass ejections). This eruptions from the Sun hits the Earth’s magnetosphere, energizing the particles as they accelerate towards Earth’s ionosphere, thermosphere, and upper atmosphere. These interactions can produce strong x-rays that can block high-frequency radio communication, while coronal mass ejections can create geomagnetic storms that induce an excess current that can impact and even shut down power grids. The study of space weather focuses particularly on the impact of these solar eruptions on satellites in orbit and technology on Earth. These events can disrupt satellite operations, cause power outages, and affect communication and navigation systems. Monitoring and forecasting space weather is essential for protecting critical infrastructure and ensuring the safety of astronauts and spacecraft.


Coronal Mass Ejections

A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) is a solar event characterized by the eruption of Graphic of a CME | NASA plasma and magnetic fields at the corona of the Sun. CMEs originate from twisted magnetic fields within the Sun that explode after abrupt realignment of those fields. As CMEs travel away from the Sun, they accelerate Solar Energetic Particles (SEPs), such as electrons and protons. Scientists are pursuing a better understanding of the structure of CMEs and how they accelerate SEPs. Understanding CMEs would allow scientists to make better predictions of CME occurrence and design proper CME warning systems.



The Magnetosphere

The magnetosphere is the region of space surrounding Earth where the dominant magnetic field is the magnetic field of Earth, rather than the magnetic field of interplanetary space. Taking Stock of Cosmic Rays in the Solar System - Eos The magnetosphere is formed by the interaction of the solar wind with Earth’s magnetic field. The Earth’s magnetosphere protects us from UV rays and other forms of radiation from the Sun, and the Sun’s helps to protect us from galactic cosmic radiation.

Earth’s Atmosphere

The Earth’s atmosphere refers to the layer of gases surrounding the planet held in place by gravity. It consists primarily of nitrogen (about 78%) and oxygen (about 21%), with trace amounts of other gases such as argon, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. Layers of Earth's Atmosphere Diagram | Quizlet The atmosphere plays a crucial role in regulating Earth’s climate and weather, protecting life on the planet by absorbing harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun and providing the necessary gasses for respiration. It is divided into several layers based on temperature and composition, including the troposphere (where most weather phenomena occur), the stratosphere (containing the ozone layer that absorbs UV radiation), the mesosphere, the thermosphere (where auroras occur), and the exosphere.

Solar Bursts

Solar radio bursts are transient emissions of radio waves originating from the Sun, occurring across a wide range of frequencies and associated with various solar phenomena. These bursts are classified into several types based on their frequency and temporal characteristics. The Sun has been more active recently than astronomers predictedType I bursts, observed at meter and decimeter wavelengths, are linked to energetic electron beams moving along open magnetic field lines in the solar corona. Type II bursts, characterized by broadband emissions drifting in frequency over time, are often associated with shock waves generated by fast-moving coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Type III bursts, with rapid frequency drifts from high to low frequencies, are observed at decametric and hectometric wavelengths and are associated with energetic electron beams during solar flares. Type IV bursts, continuum emissions lasting hours to days, are observed in connection with large-scale eruptive events such as major solar flares or CMEs and can cover a broad frequency range. These bursts provide valuable insights into the physical processes and dynamics of the solar atmosphere, aiding in the understanding of solar eruptive events and their impact on space weather and technological systems.


Radio Instrumentation


SunRISECubeSats are a type of small satellite that is commonly used in space research because they can be affordably assembled from commercial off-the-shelf electronic and structural components. They also have specific criteria for shape, size, and weight, which help reduce costs for building and deployment and allow them to be mass-produced. The standard unit of a CubeSat is 1U, or 10 cm by 10 cm by 10 cm, and weighs 1-1.33 kg. CubeSats are made in multiples of these units, allowing for sizes of 1.5U, 2U, 3U, and 6U. The CubeSats deployed in SunRISE are 6U.

Radio Interferometry

First of NASA's SunRISE Satellites Complete – Will Track Hazardous  Explosive Space Weather EventsRadio interferometry allows us to see and capture low-frequency signals. In the past, there was a limit to a range of signals scientists could see, because the longer wavelength of a signal, the larger a telescope is required for observation (many signals of interest are on the lower half of the electromagnetic spectrum). Building a single large telescope is not economical and is also restricted by mechanical constraints. Radio interferometry uses mathematical and physical models to patch incoming signals received by many different telescopes together. It reconstructs images that would have required a telescope that is hundreds, if not thousands, times its size. Now, the diameter of the Earth is used as the size of telescopes, making groundbreaking discoveries every day.


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