New model better predicts brewing space storms
(CNN) -- Scientists have developed a new method to estimate
the arrival of destructive type of solar storm to within half a day,
a significant improvement over the previous best predictions
of two to five days.
Called coronal mass ejections, these solar streams are filled with
billions of tons of electrified matter that, if directed
toward Earth, can impair electrical systems on and around
A team of Catholic University and NASA researchers has
created a model that reliably predicts the time such clouds
take to reach Earth, based on their initial speed from the
sun and their interaction with the solar wind, NASA's Goddard
Space Flight Center announced this week.
The new model uses recent observations from the Solar and
Heliospheric Observatory, an orbiter managed by NASA and the
European Space Agency.
CMEs, which can distort Earth's magnetic field, often herald
dramatic auroral displays and occasional electrical storms
that disrupt satellite communications and power grids.
Coronal mass ejections leave the sun at various speeds,
ranging from 12 to 1,250 miles (about 20 to 2,000 kilometers)
per second. Estimating their arrival has proved difficult
because their interaction with the solar wind changes their
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CME Arrival Prediction
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