School students identify sounds caused by solar storm
by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Oct 19, 2018
School students have successfully identified sounds caused by a solar storm in the Earth's magnetic shield, as part of a Queen Mary University of London research project.
The findings, by a group of year 12 pupils from Eltham Hill School in south east London, have now been published in the scientific journal Space Weather.
The project encouraged schools in London to take part in university research and the resulting study presents a novel approach to undertaking scientific research by making data audible for school students to explore by listening to it.
Earth's magnetic shield, which protects us against harmful radiation from the Sun and more distant sources, is rife with a symphony of ultra-low frequency sounds. These sounds, or waves, are too low-pitch for us to hear but a researcher at Queen Mary made satellite recordings of them audible by dramatically speeding up their playback.
The group of students identified a series of waves whose pitch decreased over the course of several days. They found that this event occurred after a Coronal Mass Ejection or 'solar storm' caused a great disturbance to Earth's space environment.
The study shows that the waves were somewhat like the vibrations of a plucked guitar string which forms a distinct note, but applied to Earth's magnetic field, while the changing pitch was due to the recovery process of our space environment following the storm.
Events like these have rarely been discussed, but by taking advantage of the audible data's sped up playback and the amazing abilities of the human ear, the study reveals many similar patterns present in the data showing them to be far more common than previously thought.
Dr Martin Archer, space physicist at Queen Mary's School of Physics and Astronomy, and academic lead on the project, said: "The findings could transform the field, enabling more members of the public to contribute to research just by listening to data and finding things that scientists might have missed. We hope that this becomes more widespread since we are living in the age of 'big data'."
Isobel Currie, one of the students from Eltham Hill School involved in the project, added: "It was truly amazing to hear how significant the event we found was and that it will be forming the basis of a proper scientific paper. We gained so much experience and developed many skills during our research that will be useful during our time at university, and it gave us a great insight into the work conducted at that level."
Disturbances to Earth's magnetic shield like this pose risks to our everyday lives because they can damage technology like power grids, GPS and even passenger airlines. These waves are one way the energy that comes from solar storms can be transferred around Earth's space environment.
The study has highlighted that current methods have been missing some important and fairly common classes of waves and that new techniques may be able to help.
Dr Archer said: "Making data audible is uncommon and when done so is typically used only by the researchers themselves. Involving the public in undertaking research, known as citizen science, tends to focus on crowdsourcing data or analysis unlike this more explorative method. However, the study shows that useful and unexpected scientific results can come from this combined approach."
The data was taken from the USA's Geostationary Operational Environment Satellites which are operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Following the potential demonstrated in the paper, they will be making the full audible dataset publicly available.
The researchers will now be looking to find out which disturbances of Earth's magnetic shield lead to these decreasing pitch sounds and why. This will build up a better picture of what happens and may improve the forecasting of space weather.
Parker Solar Probe Changed the Game Before it Even Launched
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Oct 05, 2018
On Oct. 3, 2018, Parker Solar Probe performed the first significant celestial maneuver of its seven-year mission. As the orbits of the spacecraft and Venus converged toward the same point, Parker Solar Probe slipped in front of the planet, allowing Venus' gravity - relatively small by celestial standards - to twist its path and change its speed. This maneuver, called a gravity assist, reduced Parker's speed relative to the Sun by 10 percent - amounting to 7,000 miles per hour - drawing the closest point ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.