» Home > In the News

Sun games

4 December 2015

  At www.spaceweather.com (December 3rd, 2015) – coronal holes are where the Sun's magnetic field opens and allows the solar wind to escape. Hot plasma flows outwards at speeds exceeding a million miles per hour. The above image is in extreme ultra violet – hence the blue colour. The boundaries of the coronal hole are traced by dashed lines – arrows indicate the escape of hot plasma. Solar wind flowing out of this cornonal hole will reach the Earth from December 6th onwards – are we in for a spot of warm weather. It is already warm over here in the UK as a result of winds and rain coming from the direction of the Caribbean and a bit more heat in the earth system might give the global warmers something to crow about.

A Japanese space mission is also taking place – the Hayabasa 2 spacecraft has started a 6 year mission that is quite breathtaking in its ambitions. It plans to catch and sample an asteroid. Hayabasa will reach its chosen target in 2018 and will orbit it for a year and a half. During that period it will deploy four landers and put into operation a copper impactor designed to blow a hole in the surface of the asteroid and analyse what its composition. Finally, the spacecraft itself will land on the asteroid and collect the samples from the impactor and the four landers. When that is complete it will charge up its ion engines to return to Earth. Here is wishing them well in their endeavours.

Skip to content