About the STAR Lab


The entire solar system depends upon the Sun for stability. Life on Earth needs its light and warmth. The sun provides not only these, but drives the weather and provides the orbital forces that give Earth and other planets seasons.

The Sun has sunspots, regions of cooler temperatures and strong local magnetic fields, that can give rise to solar flares. Sunspots have an 11 year cycle - the next peak in sunspot activity will be in 2012. During these peak periods, the sun occasionally emits Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), large emissions of sub-relativistic particles and xrays that appear as an explosive eruption on the sun's surface. If these CMEs hit a planet such as Earth, they cause a spaceweather storm. During these electromagnetic and particle events, large electrical currents can be induced in the Earth's ionosphere, resulting in an Aurora Borealis display or, in extreme cases, disruption of the power grid and satellite communications. These solar storms are also especially dangerous for astronauts and satellites. There is an important need for as early an advanced warning about a coming spaceweather storm as possible.

Today's technologies can provide reliably at most a 30 minute advanced warning before such a storm arrives.

The mission of the STAR lab is to develop a much earlier, more reliable alert so that protective measures can be taken to protect people and infrastructure. Moreover, the Lab is developing algorithms to deploy an early warning system for Mars in order to provide proper protection for future colonists, since Mars has very little of the protection offered by Earth's magnetic field and thick atmosphere.

Some of our activities:

  • Predicting Severe Space Weather produced by Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) and other solar eruptions.
  • Estimating the effects of Solar Storms on Earth, Mars and other points in the Solar System
    storms storms
  • Tracking the Solar Wind
    solar wind
  • Developing advanced analysis tools, neural networks, D Transforms and algorithms in image processing, signal processing, and computer modeling.
    Artificial IntelligenceArtificial Intelligence Artificial Intelligence
  • The Space Weather Alert System for Earth
  • The Space Weather Alert System for Mars
  • Faculty contacts:

    Dr. Roger Dube

    nasa image  5-5836

    Dr. Chance Glenn

    nasa image  5-4261

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