Weathering solar storms
Dr Jim Wild, Department of Communication Systems
Tuesday 15 December 2009, 1615-1640
Lecture Theatre 1, Management School Building
Space isn't quite as cold and empty as you might first think. The Earth is embedded within the outer atmosphere of the Sun and is constantly buffeted by the solar wind and bathed in the remnants of the Sun's massive magnetic field. While generally imperceptible to humans here on Earth, changes in the space environment, so-called "space weather", can have an impact upon man-made technologies under, on and above the surface of the Earth.
Over 150 years ago, English astronomer Richard Carrington observed a massive solar flare and the geomagnetic storm that resulted was the most powerful on record. Although Victorian technologies were temporarily disrupted, some fear that a similar event today could disable the high-tech infrastructure that underpins modern society.
Dr. Jim Wild, from the Department of Communication Systems' Space Plasma Environment and Radio Science Group, looks at the science behind space weather and considers some of the implications of living with a star.