Space Weather: Living with a Turbulent Star,
June 27, 2000, Congressional Briefing,
2325 Rayburn House Building,
Washington, DC

During 2000 the Sun will erupt in the most active phase of its 11-year cycle causing solar storms that can potentially threaten satellites, communications, electrical power, and space missions. Increased radiation from these storms can threaten astronauts and confuse homing pigeons! On March 13, 1989, during the last solar maximum (or "sunspot maxima") eastern Canada experienced blackouts and equipment damage due to a major solar disturbance. This storm, the second largest storm experienced in the past 50 years, totally shut down Hydro-Quebec - the power grid servicing Canada's Quebec province. Much of the U.S. also experienced tripped equipment
from this disruption.

This program describes the activity of the sun, defines space weather, and discusses the impacts of this solar activity on our many modern technologies. The speakers try to answer a number of questions, such as: Will this year's solar maximum be exceptionally active? Can solar disturbances ce forcasted? Planning for satellite orbits and space missions oftern require advance knowledge of solar activity levels. What techniques are scientists using to predict sunspot maxima years in advance?

Sponsors

• Congressman Ken Calvert, Chairman of the Energy and
Environment Subcommittee of the House Science Committee
• American Meteorological Society (AMS)
• University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)

Subtopics

(select topic below to launch streaming media program)

Our Sun as a Source of Space Weather
(Joan Burkepile)

The Impact of Solar Eruptions on Near-Earth Space
(Barbara Thompson.)

Societal Impacts and Responses to Space Weather
(George Siscoe)