NMSU Studying Space Weather
Las Cruces – Astronomers at New Mexico State University plan to take weather forecasting a step further.
They have been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA to better understand the depths of the sun and predict weather in space, such as the magnetic storms that can develop on the sun and cause havoc with satellites and power grids on Earth.
Assistant astronomy professor Jason Jackiewicz estimates that nearly half a billion dollars is spent annually repairing equipment damaged by space weather.
Jackiewicz said the researchers will study the sun during "sunquakes," probing its interior to determine the sun's internal properties. Scientists hope to see where a magnetic field is born and how it rises, as well as understand solar eruptions and flares.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.