The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) was established in 2010. Following a period of rapid growth and transition the agency has made significant advancements towards addressing its mandate of deriving greater value from space science and technology for the benefit of South African society.

Space Weather Silently Impacting Your Day

on . Posted in SANSA Space Science News

An extreme space weather event, or solar superstorm, is one of a number of potentially high impact, but low probability natural hazards. In response to a growing awareness in government, extreme space weather now features as an element of national risk assessment in numerous countries.

Space weather can cause detrimental effects to the power grid, satellites, avionics, aircraft over polar regions, HF radio communication, mobile telephones, internet and GPS systems to name a few. Consequently it has been identified as a risk to the world economy and society.

SANSA hosted a space weather information sharing session yesterday at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria. Deputy Director General of the Department of Science and Technology, Mr Muofhe, highlighted "investment in space is important to South Africa and is integral to our daily lives".

Space weather refers to a collection of physical processes, beginning at the Sun and ultimately affecting technology on Earth and in space. The Sun emits energy, as flares of electromagnetic radiation and as high-energy charged particles through coronal mass ejections and plasma streams.

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Coming Around Again: Giant Sunspot Makes Third Trip Across the Sun

on . Posted in SANSA Space Science News

Scientists track sunspots that are part of active regions, which often produce large explosions on the sun such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Each time an active region appears it is assigned a number.

Active regions that have survived their trip around the back of the sun and reappear are assigned a new number - a convention left over from when we had no telescopes observing the far side of the sun and so could not be sure that the new sunspot was indeed the same as the old one.

This active region is currently labeled AR11990. Last time around it was labeled AR11967 and its first time it was AR11944.

During its three trips thus far, this region has produced two significant solar flares, labeled as the strongest kind of flare, an X-class.

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