Haimin Wang, distinguished professor of physics, is developing a leading-edge real-time system for predicting space weather. Supported by a grant from the NSF, he is using innovative computation and information technologies to monitor and forecast space weather, the solar activity that affects Earth's climate as well as many technologies. The project draws upon technologies from image processing and pattern recognition to detect and characterize important solar activities in real time, allowing forecast of coronal mass ejection (CME) from the Sun and subsequent geomagnetic storms. He is also developing web-based software tools to post processed date, events and forecasting in real time on a space weather web site.
In another NSF-supported project, Dr. Wang is studying solar phenomena that influence of space weather such as flares, filament eruptions and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). This study builds upon the discovery by his research team last year of rapid changes in the magnetic fields on the surface of the Sun associated with flares and CMEs. These warning signs allow scientists to predict eruptions and prepare for and mitigate adverse consequences. Such eruptions can negatively impact activities like cell phone service and airline flights. Read a press release on the discovery. The current project will study data from CMEs to further establish and elucidate this connection.
Hear a presentation by Dr. Wang on solar flares and CMEs.
The image above, created by the SOHO Project,illustrates how the Earth's magnetosphere deflects a CME cloud. A CME takes two to four days to leave the Sun and reach Earth.