Thursday, January 6, 2011

Welcome to the Camilla Space Weather Project

Hello Camilla’s Balloon Launch Ground Team and Welcome to the Camilla Space Weather Project.

In this project you can create and submit your own space weather reports using real data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory, just like scientists from around the world. Every week we will collect the data that has been submitted, we will have a solar scientist analyze the data from you and the data from the Sun and let us know how we are doing on our Space Weather Predictions. Keep checking back with us because we will be continually updating this blog with interviews with scientists and engineers working on space weather prediction, movies of the sun to see how we are doing with our predictions, and analysis of the data that you provide. If you are an educator and would like to get your whole class involved please see the Educators section of this website.

Why are we doing this? Well, many of you know our moscot Camilla. What many of you don’t know is that Camilla will be heading into near-space (up to about 100,000 feet) on a fancy balloon with Fuzz Aldrin. To prepare for going to near-space Camilla has been doing a lot of training and meeting with astronauts who have already been in space. But we, as her ground crew, need to get ready as well.

As you know Space Weather can have a big impact on satellites and other spacecraft as well as being dangerous to astronauts in space.

Camilla and Fuzz won’t experience the same hazards in near-space as the astronauts do in low earth orbit on the International Space Station, but we still want them to be prepared. So we are going to get ourselves ready to make a space weather alert for Camilla’s balloon launch. To do that we have to practice making space weather predictions and then testing to see if we are correct.