7.4 How Astrophysics Noise Paves the Way for Improved Space Weather Forecasting

Tuesday, 25 January 2011: 4:15 PM
4C-3 (Washington State Convention Center)
Michael R. Collier, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD; and D. G. Sibeck, F. S. Porter, J. L. Burch, J. A. Carter, T. Cravens, K. Kuntz, N. Omidi, A. Read, I. Robertson, S. Sembay, and S. L. Snowden

If terrestrial weather forecasts relied on only a handful of isolated weather stations to supply all of the input to meteorological models, we would be forced to carry an umbrella with us at all times. Yet that is precisely the situation faced by space weather forecasters, who rely upon only a handful of operating heliophysics missions to supply the bulk of space weather model inputs. This presentation recounts the history of solar wind charge exchange (SWCX) soft X-ray (0.15 - 1 keV) observations, previously considered just a nuisance interfering with astrophysical observations, and discusses how these observations coupled with simulations show that we can produce global maps of the shocked solar wind within the magnetosheath and cusps, high-density regions lying between the lower density solar wind and magnetosphere. Global images of the magnetosheath and magnetopause boundary layers will resolve longstanding controversies surrounding fundamental phenomena that occur at the magnetopause and provide information needed to improve operational space weather models.
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