July 31, 2014

Space weather forecasting

Space weather forecasting aims to predict major solar events that can affect satellite operations and cause power black-outs like that in Toronto in 1989. Such events are triggered by coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that can arrive at Earth, preceded by the formation of large sunspots. Picard was able to deliver measurements at certain wavelengths for alerting purposes, for even travelling at a speed of 500 km/s the particles take three days to reach Earth. The Picard mission is described in detail in two articles (Thuillier et al., 2003 and 2006).