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NASA unveils its most advanced space-weather science tool

Washington, Wed, 24 Feb 2010 ANI

Washington, Feb 24 (ANI): NASA has unveiled its most advanced space-weather science tool known as the Integrated Space Weather Analysis (iSWA) system.


Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) are clouds of electrified, magnetic gas weighing billions of tons ejected from the sun and hurled into space with speeds ranging from 12 to 1,250 miles per second (about 20 to 2,000 kilometers per second).


Solar researchers believe cannibal CMEs may be the source of 'complex ejecta' CME clouds; those with a larger and more complex structure than typical CMEs.


These traits cause complex ejecta CMEs to trigger protracted magnetic storms when they envelop Earth.


NASA's iSWA system is designed to collect and store data about space-weather activity like CMEs.


It has been developed by the Community Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC) of the Space Weather Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.


The iSWA is a robust, integrated system provides information about space weather conditions past, present, and future and, unlike many other programs currently in use, has an interface that the user can customize to suit a unique set of data requirements.


"The iSWA space-weather data analysis system offers a unique level of customization and flexibility to maintain, modify, and add new tools and data products as they become available," said Marlo Maddox, iSWA system chief developer at NASA Goddard.


iSWA draws together information about conditions from the sun to the boundary of the sun's influence, known as the heliosphere.


NASA Goddard space physicist Antti Pulkkinen said that the iSWA system represents "the most comprehensive single interface for general space-weather-related information, providing data on past and current space-weather events.


The system allows the user to configure or design custom displays of the information.


The system compiles data about conditions on the sun, in Earth's magnetosphere-the protective magnetic field that envelops our planet-and down to Earth's surface.


It provides a user interface to provide NASA's satellite operators and with a real-time view of space weather.


Citizen scientists and science enthusiasts can also use the data, models, and tools of the iSWA system.


Similar to the way in which armchair astronomers have used SOHO data to discover comets, enthusiasts will find the iSWA system a wonderful resource for increasing their familiarity with the concept of space weather. (ANI)


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