Town Hall Meeting: Our Stormy Sun — From Mystical Northern Lights to Space Weather and Climate Change

Wednesday, 9 January 2013: 12:15 PM-1:15 PM
Room 12B (Austin Convention Center)
Hosts: (Joint between the Town Hall Meetings; and the 10th Conference on Space Weather )
Pål Brekke, Norwegian Space Centre, Oslo

The sun is not a quiet place; it is stormy and ever-changing and affects the Earths environment in many places. It is the source the Northern lights - a stunning phenomenon embedded in the mythology of many cultures and has been characterized as everything from dancing spirits to God’s anger. However, solar storm can also be harmful. Until about 100 years ago, solar storms could pass by without humans noticing the damage these storms do. Today it’s a different story. They can cause power outages and disrupt radio communications. More than 1,000 satellites are operating in space and the loss of a signal from any one of them can have serious consequences on weather forecasts, communication, navigation, mapping, search and rescue, research, and military surveillance. Furthermore, over many years, numerous attempts have been made to link various aspects of solar variability to changes in the Earth’s climate. there are several ways the Sun may impact the climate: through the electromagnetic radiation (Total Solar Irradiance), through the direct solar wind via magnetosphere/atmospheric coupling, and/or through galactic cosmic radiation, which is modulated by solar shielding and possibly influences cloud formation. Thus, a good knowledge of our changing Sun and the Sun-Earth connection is extremely important. The lunch time speaker will be Pål Brekke, Norwegian Space Centre. A limited number of box lunches will be provided. For additional information, please contact: Susan Baltuch (e-mail:

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