37

This appears to be an error that has propagated from paper to paper over the years. Examining the original paper cited by all these other authors, "Effects of the March 1989 Solar Activity" by Allen et al. shows us that the actual altitude loss was 3 miles (not 30 km) and the satellite in question was "the aging NASA satellite SMM" aka Solar Maximum Mission, ...


32

Looks pretty darned quiet to me right now: You can find that here, along with other measures of space weather. By the way, cosmic rays and solar activity are two entirely different things. Cosmic rays originate from outside of our solar system. The flux of cosmic rays is relatively constant. As for your question about stress, indeed, I just experienced ...


27

After reading @OrganicMarble's answer and the link there as well, I looked at the TLEs for the Solar Maximum Mission in 1989 (1980-014A, 11703) and while the altitude loss in March does not seem to be in any way dramatic overall, there is in fact a drop in the average altitude at the time. I've propagated the TLEs for one complete orbit starting at the ...


17

The two specific modules are protected by two mechanisms: TeSS Polyethylene radiation protection tiles and bricks Water storage bags attached to the walls making a "water wall" High densities of hydrogen are good at radiation protection, and water is a good hydrogen source that needs to be stored on the ISS. Another good source of dense hydrogen is ...


17

So far, Solar flares haven't proven as dangerous as one would possibly think. They're nothing to easily dismiss, mind you, and the ISS crew does have procedures in place to "weather the storm", but nothing too spectacular has yet happened due to them. The ISS crew did receive a Solar weather warning several times and were advised to enter the more protected ...


17

There are four(ish) primary contributors to "space weathering" of any material (natural or synthetic) in space: Micrometeoroid and debris environment: This is the result of small stuff hitting the material in question. At possible collision speeds of up to 14 km/s (for debris, much higher for micrometeoroids) everything becomes a bullet. The classic ...


13

The Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) was a Shuttle-launched and -retrieved satellite designed to investigate exactly this. Here is the LDEF in space. It was covered in trays of different materials to investigate how they stood up in low Earth orbit. It was supposed to stay in orbit about a year, but the Challenger failure intervened, causing it to ...


12

The video is significantly sped up (videos of the Sun generally are sped up). CMEs move at an average speed closer to 500 km/s. That's why when we see the activity we generally have a warning of up to a few days before the CME gets to where we are. If the CME was moving at the speed of light, it would hit us as we saw it happen (a little more than eight ...


11

Yes, during the geomagnetic storm of March 1989, NORAD lost track of thousands of objects: During the great geomagnetic storm of 13-14 March 1989, tracking of thousands of space objects was lost and it took North American Defense Command (NORAD) many days to reacquire them in their new, lower, faster orbits. One LEO satellite lost over 30 kilometers of ...


10

To boil this down to a simple answer is difficult, but here's some of the factors that are required to make this assessment. First of all, the question comes, what is your satellite is specified to. When you build a satellite, you specify a level of radiation tolerance you desire. If you have more than that level of radiation, then you have to start taking ...


10

The most dangerous radiation events in space are due to solar flares and coronal mass ejections - solar proton events (SPEs). If you are caught outside in just your spacesuit or a lightly shielded vehicle during a major SPE, the dose of ionizing radiation (high-energy protons) could be enough to kill you if you stayed outside, oblivious to the danger, for ...


10

First of all, it is a bit odd to talk about specific plans. If you think about emergency procedures for other natural phenomena, such as Hurricanes or Earth quakes, you need to keep in mind that a reversal is a long-term process which is supposed to take decades to centuries. This is what is called geological time scales. In a way, some scientist say, that ...


9

Radiation from the Sun does indeed cause solar panels to deteriorate over time, and powerful single events can lead to a sudden reduction in the efficiency of a solar panel. In 2003, a large solar storm led to an average 3% drop in power for all of EUMETSAT's geostationary spacecraft. We don't really have a good way to "protect" panels from such effects, ...


8

OK I'll bite, despite that Dean Pesnell of the SDO team must really love me by now. :) Most of the info you're after is available on SDO Data pages, if you click on the info icon. Also note that the Fe (Iron) channel composite in your question is equipped with color-keyed channel info bottom left of it, tho it is rather difficult to see at the resolution ...


6

Most satellites are very, very far from the sun. The closest spacecraft to the sun thus far has been Helios 2 at 0.29 AU (~43 million km). Right now, I think the closest operating would be MESSENGER (perihelion at 46 million km). Although the sun's magnetic field is strong, this is still really, really far away. Those fluctutations aren't enough to be ...


6

I'm going to attempt to answer your later questions : What kind of measurements are performed - in space - for better understanding the situation and corresponding processes? Is there any kind of monitoring - in space - on the current state of Earth's magnetic field, its development and space weather phenomena, which may influence the field? Yes, there'...


6

The composite image cannot be made from our standard jpegs as they are log-scaled to improve the contrast. You put the linearly-scaled data into the color channels of an sRBG image and then log scale the result. The AIA instrument filters are multi-layer metallic filters deposited on glass mirrors that were ground to the right shape. All is explained in ...


5

Coronal Mass Ejection is a large ejection of mass from the sun. These ejections are so large that they increase the particle density of the solar wind and can be very dangerous to spacecraft. The size of a CME can be much larger than the sun itself. Solar flare are like CMEs except smaller, more localized, and unlikely to eject enough mass to do harm. ...


5

The speed of sound in space has multiple meanings because space is not a vacuum (though the number density of Earth's magnetosphere can be ~6-12 orders of magnitude more tenuous than the best vacuums produced in labs), it is full of ionized particles, neutral and charged dust. In the interplanetary medium or IPM, there are five relevant speeds that can all ...


3

It isn't that risky, if the proper precautions are taken. The key item, as it is in most cases with spaceflight, is redundancy. There is a larger chance of single event upsets during a geomagnetic storm. This can be mitigated by hardware redundancies. In addition, geomagnetic storms only really become an issue for most spacecraft when they are beyond LEO. ...


3

To first order, everything will come from the Sun. This is more true further from the Earth. Some secondary effects might pop up, however.... One possibility is that increased radiation could further ionize parts of the atmosphere, and this plasma could be damaging if it hit the spacecraft in a different direction than the shields were protecting against. ...


2

There are three ways of losing heat: Conduction (two bodies touching each other, the warmer transferring heat to the colder until both are equally warm/cold) Convection (warmer gas/liquid rising up, taking heat away) Radiation (giving off heat in the form of electromagnetic radiation, e.g. infrared light) In space, nothing is touching you, and there is no ...


2

Space isn't actually hot or cold. Here on Earth, you're radiating heat away all the time, although not very fast. Other things around you are radiating heat at you, as well (usually slower). Those processes are very small compared to the way the air and evaporation are cooling you. In space, nothing is radiating back at you and you will get cold if the sun ...


2

You may be asking about a couple of different things here. 1 Events at the surface of the sun Events at the Sun itself may or may not head in the direction of the Earth, but this is step one of a prediction system. I believe there are two approaches: a) look at what happened about a month ago and predict that it will be still there when that part of ...


1

Yes, "space weather" can be applied to any region outside of any planet or atmosphere, and outside the sun. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin. (NOAA) maintains a Space Weather Prediction Center where you can read about the various conditions they monitor. These include such things as solar wind speed, magnetic field strength and direction, solar ...


1

Solar flares travel at about 2000 km/s. Radio travels at 300,000 km/s, so a spacecraft at L1 (1.5 million km out) like DISCOVR gives about 12 minutes of warning when the solar flare reaches it. Spacecraft like SOHO observe the sun, and these observations are used by e.g. NOAA to try and predict flares: Current methods of flare prediction are ...


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