The Sun Lab studies effects of solar activity on the near-Earth space environment known as Space Weather.
Space Weather, especially when it is of high and variable intensity, can cause various problems for both civil and military technology located in space (e.g. satellite operations, communication disruptions), and even in the lower atmosphere and on the Earth’s surface (e.g. aviation and electrical systems), on which our society is increasingly dependent. It is also clear that forecasting space weather will be of crucial importance for planned space missions, in particular for a manned mission to Mars. Therefore, this field of research is intensively developed all over the world, and its importance is constantly growing.
The Sun Lab research will focus on finding methods to better forecast any dangerous phenomena generated on the Sun and their impact on our planet. They will consist of three segments:
- Solar – in this segment, the research will cover all phenomena related to the activity of the Sun (active areas, flares, coronal mass ejections)
- Underway (in interplanetary medium) – this segment is devoted to the study of coronal mass ejections (CMEs). They are the source of the strongest geomagnetic disturbance on Earth. Currently, together with colleagues from NASA GSFC, we have created the largest CMEs catalog.
- Near Earth – this segment includes research related to the effects of solar activity observed around our planet. The result of these studies should be the search for methods for better prediction of the intensity of geomagnetic storms, and the impact of particle energy fluxes and high-energy radiation on the Earth’s magnetosphere and atmosphere.