The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington

UTA Planetarium

UTA Planetarium

Ask the Astronomer Q&A

Tag: "electromagnetic spectrum"

  • What is the SOFIA?
  • SOFIA is an acronym for the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy. It is a telescope mounted to a Boeing 747 airplane. The airplane flies high above Earth's atmosphere to study objects in the infrared part of the electro-magnetic spectrum.

    (Tags:  astronomy  electromagnetic spectrum  light  observatory  physics)
  • Will our magnetic field ever get destroyed by magnetic storms from the sun?
  • Although the Sun may give off a strong shock wave that may disturb our magnetic field, it cannot be destroyed by them. Geomagnetic storms are a temporary disturbance of Earth’s magnetic field by a solar wind shock wave. Earth’s magnetic field is providing adequate protection for life on Earth. However, astronauts are under a greater risk. Satellites can also be affected by a strong solar storm. Even high flying jets have a small risk of being exposed. There is a nice article in Wikipedia about the largest geomagnetic storm in history: From August 28 until September 2, 1859, numerous sunspots and solar flares were observed on the sun, the larges flare occurring on September 1. A massive CME headed directly at Earth due to the solar flare and made it within eighteen hours – a trip that normally takes three to four days. On September 1-2, the largest recorded geomagnetic storm occurred. The horizontal intensity of the geomagnetic field was reduced by 1600 nT as recorded by the Colaba observatory near Bombay, India. Telegraph wires in both the US and Europe experienced induced emf, in some cases even shocking telegraph operators and causing fires. Auroras were seen as far south as Hawaii, Mexico, Cuba, and Italy – phenomena that are usually only seen near the poles. If you would like to know more about this superstorm, you can read more on the Wikipedia site by searching for the 1859 solar superstorm.

    (Tags:  earth  electromagnetic spectrum  planet  solar system  star  sun)