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Plasma astrophysics

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A field of physics that is growing in interest worldwide that tackles such astrophysical phenomena as the source of violent space weather and the formation of stars.

COLLOQUIUM: Reconnection at the Dayside Magnetopause from MMS

The NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission was developed and launched on March 12, 2015 to conduct a definitive experiment on magnetic reconnection in the boundary regions of the Earth’s magnetosphere. The focus is on understanding phenomena in the reconnection diffusion region that cause solar-wind and magnetospheric magnetic fields to merge, thereby releasing magnetic energy and accelerating charged particles.

Researchers correlate incidences of rheumatoid arthritis and giant cell arteritis with solar cycles

What began as a chat between husband and wife has evolved into an intriguing scientific discovery. The results, published in May in BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) Open, show a “highly significant” correlation between periodic solar storms and incidences of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and giant cell arteritis (GCA), two potentially debilitating autoimmune diseases.

Researchers correlate incidences of rheumatoid arthritis and giant cell arteritis with solar cycles

What began as a chat between husband and wife has evolved into an intriguing scientific discovery. The results, published in May in BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) Open, show a “highly significant” correlation between periodic solar storms and incidences of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and giant cell arteritis (GCA), two potentially debilitating autoimmune diseases.

COLLOQUIUM: EXTERNAL PROPULSION AND THE FUTURE OF SPACE ACCESS

At Escape Dynamics we are working on the next generation propulsion technologies with the goal of developing electromagnetically-powered engines operating at 10x the efficiency of chemical rockets. In this talk I will describe results of Escape Dynamics’ R&D efforts and outline our vision for the future of aerospace transportation. The primary focus of the talk will be on the technical aspects of external propulsion in which all or a part of the energy required for launch is coming from a ground-based array of microwave antennas configured to beam microwave energy to the vehicle.

COLLOQUIUM: Adaptive Optics Imaging of Extosolar Planets

More than a thousand extrasolar planets are now known, but most have been detected indirectly through Doppler shifts or photometric detection of eclipses. A handful have been directly imaged, using adaptive optics and diffraction control to suppress the light from the bright central star and reveal a planet 10^5 times fainter. 
I will give an overview of directly detected planets and spectroscopic studies, which have revealed H2O, CO, and CH4 in exoplanet atmospheres.

PPPL data may play role in first NASA space probe dedicated to magnetic reconnection

 

At 10:44 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, NASA launched the Magnetospheric Multiscale mission (MMS), a set of four spacecraft that will study the magnetic fields surrounding Earth. Sent into space aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, the craft mark the first NASA mission dedicated to investigating magnetic reconnection, a mysterious phenomenon that gives rise to the northern lights, solar flares and geomagnetic storms that can disrupt cell phone service, black out power grids and damage orbiting satellites.

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