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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

STEREO

There is a nice article on the BBC about STEREO, the twin satellites that monitor the Sun from positions up and and down orbit from the Earth. This gives them a unique view of the solar wind that buffets the Earth's magnetosphere and the impressive transients it contains.

There is a great movie of a coronal mass ejection (CME) being belched off the sun and ripping the tail from a comet.

This is a great mission that has only really just begun. STEREO will be really great when used in conjunction with other instruments both looking at the Sun and around the Earth. We can now track features in the solar wind to a level that is unprecedented and observe their effects on the Earth. Why does one coronal mass ejection cause one effect in the Earth's magnetic environments whilst another does something different? Well with STEREO we might be able to answer that by understanding the differences in those magnetic clouds.

Very cool.

This was reported at the European Geosciences Union annual general meeting in Vienna. This is one of the major meetings for solar-terrestrial physicists and it is why there is always some concern over whether MIST goes to the RAS NAM meetings as they often seem to collide. That is something that needs fixing!

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