Media Relations

UNH Astrophysicists Available to Discuss Recent Solar Flare
March 6, 2012
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DURHAM, N.H. – Two scientists from the University of New Hampshire’s Space Science Center within the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space are available to discuss the implications of the recent powerful solar flare and the sun’s increasing activity.

Harlan Spence (603-862-0322; harlan.spence@unh.edu), principal investigator (PI) for the Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) instrument onboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission, and Nathan Schwadron (603-862-3451; nschwadron@guero.sr.unh.edu), deputy PI on CRaTER and PI on the Earth-Moon-Mars Radiation Environment Module being developed at UNH, can both provide expertise and context as the sun becomes increasingly active.

A potent solar flare was observed at 10:30 p.m. EST Sunday, March 4, 2012 – the third huge eruption seen since late January. The flare was among the strongest measured in terms of energy – an X1.1-class eruption, and more such storms are predicted to occur as the sun moves towards solar maximum. Geomagnetic storms caused by eruptions on the sun can disrupt power grids, satellites that operate global positioning systems and other devices, lead to some rerouting of flights over the polar regions, and create aurora.

For further information on Spence and Schwadron and their research, visit

http://www.eos.unh.edu/faculty/spence

http://www.eos.unh.edu/faculty/schwadron

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.

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Media Contact: David Sims | 603-862-5369 | Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space