Solar wind fills research sails at space weather center | 2/21/2019 | Staff
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Researchers at CU Boulder are starting work on a new collaborative grant from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that will improve solar wind modeling.

The team at CU is led by the Space Weather Technology, Research and Education Center with contributions from Stanford University, Lockheed Martin and the National Solar Observatory in Boulder. This is the first such grant the new center has received and the first time a group from CU has worked with the National Solar Observatory on a NASA grant, said center Director Thomas Berger.

Space - Weather - Technology - Research - Education

The Space Weather Technology, Research and Education Center is a multidisciplinary center within the College of Engineering and Applied Science. The center, a main component of the university's Grand Challenge, brings together diverse research on space weather occurring across the university and the Front Range.

The project, which runs for 12 months and is funded at $287,000, is titled Improving Magnetic Field Boundary Conditions for Solar Wind Models. It is part of a new NASA and NOAA Operations to Research (O2R) program, which aims to communicate space weather forecasting challenges to the research community who can then find innovative solutions.

Wind - Stream - Energy - Particles - Sun

Solar wind is the stream of high energy charged particles carrying the sun's magnetic field into our solar system, where it can interact with planetary magnetic fields. There can also be large eruptions of magnetic field, known as coronal mass ejections, embedded in the solar wind that can significantly disturb the Earth's magnetic field, causing large "geomagnetic storms."

The best-known impacts of these storms are the colorful lights of the aurora borealis. If they are powerful enough, however, they can cause problems with satellite communications, transmission lines and GPS navigation. While those effects are rare, our society is increasingly reliant on those technologies. That makes it important to understand and predict these storms...
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