SANSA Space Science News

High speed solar wind stream may cause strong geomagnetic storm

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SANSA Space Weather forecasters are predicting the possibility of a strong (NOAA scale G3 - geomagnetic storm over the next 24 hours due to a high speed solar wind stream impacting Earth's magnetic field. Solar activity is currently moderate with background x-ray flux at upper B-class levels with occasional C-class solar flares.

"Space weather data is showing that the storm is currently in progress with solar wind speed reaching approximately 600km/s," said SANSA Space Weather Practitioner, Mpho Tshisaphungo. "Strong geomagnetic storm conditions may be expected over the next 24 hours."

A G3 storm may lead to disruption of HF communications, power system voltage irregularities, increased drag on low Earth-orbit satellites and GPS errors.

While geomagnetic storms can impact technology on earth and in space they will not harm humans and other life forms on Earth as we are protected by the Earth's magnetic field.

Space Science Workshop on Mathematical Studies of Magnetospheric and Ionospheric Fluctuation Phenomena, 16-17 October 2015.

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SANSA will be hosting a workshop on Mathematical Studies of Magnetospheric and Ionospheric Fluctuation Phenomena in Hermanus from 16-17 October 2015. The workshop will bring together scientists engaged in collaborative research from Brazil, India and South Africa. The South African and Indian scientists have expertise in theoretical modelling and simulation of linear and nonlinear fluctuation phenomena in space plasmas, whereas the Brazilian partners have expertise in ground and space based observations.

Prof R Bharuthram at the University of the Western Cape, is the official organiser of the workshop under the auspices of the Universities SA/NRF grant to promote IBSA collaboration.

The team members who are involved in the project will present results during the workshop on current theoretical research on nonlinear waves which are supported in near-Earth space plasmas and the ionosphere.

An important objective of the workshop is to foster closer collaboration between the theoretical scientists (from South Africa and India) and experimental scientists (from Brazil).


Download this file (IBSA workshop final program updated.pdf)Workshop Programme [Workshop Programme 2015]202 kB

SANSA welcomes international space science community to South Africa

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Research of the Earth's atmosphere and ionosphere are crucial for understanding our universe and the interconnected processes that govern our natural environment and impact the technologies we rely on daily.

Top scientists from across the globe gathered in Hermanus, Western Cape from 14-18 September, for the 17th European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association (EISCAT) symposium and 42nd Annual European Meeting on Atmospheric Studies by Optical Methods (42AM) to discuss global space science research.

Hosted in South Africa for the first time, these two international events took place concurrently and attracted researchers from China, Finland, France, Japan, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, the UK and USA, as well as South Africa.

The EISCAT Scientific Association is an international research organisation that operates a network of radar systems used to study the interaction between the Sun and Earth as revealed by disturbances in the ionosphere and magnetosphere.

Space Talk at SANSA - Discovering Space in Remote Locations

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Women in Physics Day

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SANSA recently supported the local Women in Physics in South Africa (WIPISA) programme by hosting 20 passionate undergraduate Physics students from the University of Cape Town (UCT) for a "Women in Physics Day" in Hermanus. The initiative aims to attract women to careers in Physics and is aligned with SANSA's human capital development goal of creating scarce skills needed to help transform the country into a knowledge-based economy.

SANSA researchers and engineer, Mpho Tshisaphungo, Dr Zama Katamzi, Elda Saunderson and PhD students Electdom Matandirotya and Amore Nel, all from different cultural and educational backgrounds, shared their personal journeys, including career opportunities and challenges with the students. "When one is passionate about what you do, gender is not an issue, your focus is on the work and your co-workers will respect that", said Elda who has been working in a male-dominated industry for two decades.
The students attended the event with their lecturer, Dr Dale Taylor and two MSc students, Isobel Kolbe and Mumene Tlowana also from UCT. After a tour of the Space Weather Centre, from where SANSA generates its daily space weather bulletins and forecasts of space weather conditions, and the Applied Science and Technology (AST) Department, which provides services mainly to the South African Air Force, SA Navy and other commercial clients, the students attended an exciting lecture on Sprites, a new space science research project.

They also participated in a vacuum chamber experiment that simulated the optical gas discharge from a Sprite and then had some fun blasting potatoes from a potato gun to demonstrate unpowered flight with gravity as the primary force. "The students were really interested and engaged actively during and after the lecture and demonstrations," said Prof Mike Kosch, SANSA Research and Applications Manager. "It is great to see enthusiastic students who ask important questions"

"The activities were well-balanced and the day has not only encouraged the students to pursue careers in Physics, but also to develop problem-solving skills that will enhance their studies" said Isobel Kolbe, an MSc Theoretical Physics student, who previously attended a SANSA Winter School.
According to 2nd-year BSc Physics student and blogger, Munira Hoosain, "Studying physics can be lonely at times, so it was so much fun connecting with other young, intelligent women who are happy to listen to whatever small bit of specialised knowledge you may have to share."

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