Sending a Rocket Through the Northern Lights

ICI-4 - a space weather mission. Illustration: Trond Abrahamsen, Andøya Space Center

ICI-4 – a space weather mission. Illustration: Trond Abrahamsen, Andøya Space Center

The combination of American electron clouds and Norwegian northern lights spells trouble for navigation and communication in the Northern regions. The ICI4 rocket will provide knowledge that can help us predict the weather in space.

Follow the scientists live-blogging the attempt to launch the rocket on and twitter: #ICI4 Read More →

Magnetic Fields Can Send Particles to Infinity

I’ve always thought that if we’re ever to achieve long-range intersteller space travel, magnetics will play a fairly large role in the process. This is especially true if we’re going to get away from the dependence of currently used rocket fuel in the process. I’m not quite certain of the physics/mechanics involved (yet) but surely magnetic fields will be needed to control the alternative energy source (whatever that may be). Anyhow, this new research (referenced below) caught my attention and I thought I’d share it with you to get your input. Researchers from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM, Spain) have mathematically shown that particles charged in a magnetic field can escape into infinity without ever stopping. One of the conditions is that the field is generated by current loops situated on the same plane. Read More →

Let’s Explore Solar Tornadoes

The sun has been experiencing its own tornadoes of late (what a sight that must be up close). The tornadoes consisting of super hot plasma are larger than the entire planet Earth! In fact, astronomers with NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory believe the tornadoes are thousands of miles tall. They follow the sun’s magnetic field and scientists theorize that the magnetic field acts like a spring pushing the plasma upward and causing it to expand. Read More →