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Weathering Solar Storms

Dr Jim Wild, Department of Physics, Lancaster University

Tuesday 30 October 2012, 1900-2000
The Storey Institute, Lancaster

Space isn't quite as cold and empty as you might first think. The Earth is embedded in the outer atmosphere of the Sun and is buffeted by the solar wind and bathed in the Sun's powerful magnetic field. Although almost imperceptible to humans, changes in the space environment can have an impact upon our technologies 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 only slightly disrupted, some fear that a similar event today could disable the high-tech infrastructure that underpins modern society. Dr Jim Wild looks at the science behind "space weather" and considers the implications of living with a star.

Making Waves - Physics for All

This autumn, the University's Department of Physics will host it's inaugural programme of public lectures in Lancaster City Centre. Entitled "Making Waves", the series of six lectures will showcase the cutting edge research that takes place in the UK's top-rated physics department. From the smallest subatomic particles, to the daunting scale of the cosmos, from the lowest temperatures possible to the super-heated atmosphere of the Sun, Lancaster physicists will take you on a journey through our understanding of the Universe.

Tickets are free and available online.