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Mission Operations News

Postcards from the Edge of Space: Scientists Present New Ionosphere Images and Science at AGU

Karin Hauck 0 1161

[NASA Feature by Lina Tran] In a Dec. 10 press event at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, three scientists presented new images of the ionosphere, the dynamic region where Earth’s atmosphere meets space. Home to astronauts and everyday technology like radio and GPS, the ionosphere constantly responds to changes from space above and Earth below.

The collection of images presented include the first images from NASA’s ICON, new science results from NASA’s GOLD, and observations of a fleeting, never-before-studied aurora. Together, they bring color to invisible processes that have widespread implications for the part of space that is closest to home.

Excitement Building for September “GEOGOLDICON” Collaborative Meeting on Space Weather

Karin Hauck 0 3203

AN NSF-supported meeting at the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder CO at the end of September is drawing participants from around the globe. Over 80 participants -- and counting -- have registered for the GEOGOLDICON conference bringing together satellite and ground-based missions exploring Earth’s near-space environment, as well as others interested in observation and analysis opportunities. (The name comes from the combination of ICON and GOLD missions and NSF Geospace). Collaborations forged at the meeting will allow leverage of each other’s work and broad participation in the investigation of long-standing mysteries and challenges, such as what effect Earth’s weather has on space weather.  The meeting is free and the invitation extended to the solar, heliospheric, magnetospheric and atmospheric communities.

Read more about the GEOGOLDICON conference.

You can also read ICON’s submitted papers.

The Start of ICON

Research reveals how much we’d been missing of our connection to space

Dr. Thomas Immel 0 4630

Earth’s ionosphere is chemically and dynamically complex—energized and stirred up by the aurora at the poles, concentrated and unstable at the equator. ICON focuses on this region because it is the place where coupling between our atmosphere and our space environment really occurs.  Our understanding of this relationship has come from almost a century of measurements, first from the ground and later from space.

El Niño has effects all the way to the edge of the atmosphere.

Claire Raftery 0 7610
-- December 16, 2015

The warm El Niño conditions affecting weather around the Pacific Ocean are also affecting conditions in space, according to University of California, Berkeley scientists.

El Niño is commonly observed as a global change in rainfall due to changes in temperature in the Pacific Ocean. However, UC Berkeley scientists report today at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco that the processes that lead to increased precipitation are also driving unexpected changes in the ionosphere, the uppermost level of the atmosphere.

The findings (AGU abstract #SA31F-2383) will be presented by Dr. Thomas Immel, and are based on calculations by Dr. Astrid Maute of the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, Colorado.

“We expected that we would see some changes in the ionosphere when we started this study” says Dr. Immel, a Senior Fellow at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory, “but we were shocked at how strong the effect has turned out to be”.
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ICON skin is based on Greytness by Adammer
Background image, courtesy of NASA, is a derivitave of photograph taken by D. Pettit from the ISS, used under Creative Commons license