Friday, March 5, 2010

How to save the Earth through the World Wide Web

Yet, if you are eager on spending a few moments of your day defending the Earth from an imminent solar attack, the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London would like to hear from you.

Its Solar Stormwatch website things to see the danger of radiation bursts from the Sun - and gives users the chance to help scientists spot Sun storms - known as coronal mass ejections - before they cause damage on Earth.

The site was built in partnership among the Science and Technology Facilities Council's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and citizen science site Zooniverse.

When you look up at the Sun clearly it's too bright to look at properly, said Dr Marek Kukula from the Royal Observatory. With special instruments and telescopes you can see there are all sorts of substance going on.

These coronal mass ejections are enormous explosions on the Sun which launch billions of tonnes of material out into space. The burst of radiation from the Sun can knock out telecoms systems, sourcing millions of pounds of damage and even endangering life.

NASA previously monitors the Sun using two spacecraft called 'Stereo'. The craft produce 3D images of the star which can show the route of these explosions. Though, the sheer amount of data means NASA's scientists are unable to analyze the data as closely as they need - which is where the world's internet population comes in.

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