Credit: K. Herrero
Solar storms are now becoming a phenomenon of risk given the great social dependence of electricity and communications. Last year the president of the United States gave the alert, with his executive order "Coordinating Efforts to Prepare the Nation for Space Weather Events". The question now is if more countries are becoming aware of the need to work on the forecast and prevention of these phenomena.
The ICCUB researcher Blai Sanahuja, speaks about the different phaenomena caused by solar storms, in this article on the "Periódico de Cataluña" :
«Solar flares [light], produce little effects (knock out radio transmissions); solar wind [particles], reaches 400-600 km/s [and can affect satellites], and the coronal mass ejection [material from the solar corona], which reaches 2.000 km /s and which can cause strong geomagnetic storms».
An average main-sequence star, the Sun is at a long and uneventful stage of its evolution. However, it experiences periodic changes and unpredictable bursts of activity known as solar activity. The response of the space environment to the constantly changing Sun is known as “space weather”.
Heliospheric Physics and Space Weather at the ICCUB
ICCUB’s lines of research in heliospheric physics mainly focuse on solar energetic particles (SEP) events triggered by solar activity and by interplanetary disturbances, i.e. energetic protons and near relativistic electrons.
Solar flares and coronal mass ejections, the main agents of SEP acceleration, together with proxies of solar activity, the solar wind plasma and the interplanetary magnetic field, are the background components of the SEP scenario.
Similarly, ICCUB researchers are working both on data analysis and the study of SEP events, both individual and multispacecraft events. They also model energetic particle events and give scientific support to the participation of technological groups of the UB in ESA’s Solar Orbiter project.