The new ESA mission will give us precious hours before the solar storm
Storm in Carrington - this is probably the most well-known event in the history of space weather. A powerful solar storm that hit the Earth in 1859 has caused such a large geomagnetic activity, that the aurora borealis was visible even in the south, right up to Cuba. Telegraph operators reported sparks emitted from the equipment. It would seem, do not worry. But it happened like today, urban centers would remain unarmed: the network would have risen, GPS switched off and satellites would be threatened.
Storms like this occur every 100 or 200 years, but if such a storm is coming - we'd better know about it in advance.
Is it possible to predict the occurrence of a solar storm?
Analysis of space weather is to find warnings about such catastrophic events (and a smaller, but more frequent solar flares) in the monitoring of the solar wind, coronal mass ejections (when the sun throws out the plasma from the crown, the disturbing magnetic field), and other phenomena. Forecasts can predict when the aurora light up the sky, but more importantly, they can warn of impending catastrophic event.
Currently, we have a warning for a few days or hours. The main reason for this is that we have a good overview of the entire sun, so we do not see when we formed something dangerous on the back side. The planned mission of the European Space Agency could change this, allowing us to look at the sun side and adding a vital resource in the arsenal of solar forecasters. Scientists are trying to run as fast as Lagrange's mission ( "La Grange") before our other methods of determining the danger of sunny weather will cease to operate. Until now, the majority of the space weather mission conducted either in Earth orbit or in Lagrange point L1, which lies between the earth and the sun. Lagrange point - it is the place in space where the object is to maintain the same position relative to the two bodies that are in orbit around each other. For example, an object in the L1 point will be right in front of the Earth, providing a continuous overview of the Sun at any time. This makes it perfectly suited for scientific missions, which will need to spend less energy to remain in place for the collection of data and, in particular, for the satellites that monitor the sun.
But it gives us a view of only one side of the star. Lagrange mission of the European Space Agency will take advantage of the Lagrange point 5, to provide us with a new perspective. L5 is approximately one astronomical unit from the Earth (the distance to the sun, about 150 million kilometers), but aside from the planet. "This is the first spacecraft, which is indeed planning to stay in the L5 and continuously transmit data," says research manager at the mission L1 / L5 ESA Stefan Kraft. Washer STEREO NASA briefly visited these points in 2009, but stopping requires much more fuel.
This would provide a side view ESA scientists permanent surface of the sun as it rotates (the sun is drawn approximately every 27 days), providing them with more early and accurate warnings about possible dangerous approaching space weather. Pairing these with L1 and L5 will help reduce the time warning. At present, the influence of coronal mass ejections on Earth can be predicted only up to 6-12 hours. ESA said the mission "LaGrange" to reduce this time to a few hours. You to understand the fastest emissions get to Earth 15-18 hours.
To shoot the sun in extreme weather conditions, the machine will use artificial intelligence to detect and remove the single-frame of the charged particles that create a sort of "snow" on the images.
The mission is still in its early stages. Currently, the team is developing a technical plan and the proposal is to be presented to ESA in November. Scientists are studying how reliable the system should be and how to protect the unit in the context of financial constraints. If all goes according to plan, the launch will take place in 2025.
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