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February 22, 2011

e-Callisto Spectrometers Around the World

Two weeks ago, the nineteenth e-Callisto spectrometer was set up in Alaska. The e-Callisto is a cheap solar observatory that measures the intensity of radio waves emitted from the Sun. It is used to detect solar flares and coronal mass ejections, a massive flux of charged particles that can cause problems with radio signals on Earth. This 19th spectrometer is the last one needed to observe the Sun 24 hours a day,as the e-Callistos are now set up all the way around the globe. Sending their information to a computer, the spectrometers can also be used to predict imminent coronal mass ejections, since the radio waves detected by the e-Callistos are faster than the particles being ejected from the Sun, and will reach Earth before the effects of the ejection do. I was surprised to find out that we did not already have 24 hour surveillance of the Sun's radio wave activity, but the e-Callisto is definitely a practical and inexpensive way to achieve this. Also, the cost may allow other non-funded astronomers to conduct otherwise difficult observations on their own, hopefully leading to new discoveries.

Full article: http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110217/full/news.2011.97.html

Posted by ktwadell at February 22, 2011 04:01 PM

Comments

This is crazy that this is the first 24 hour surveillance of the Sun's radio wave activity. Especially considering this was a cheap project. This is one more way to learn more about our universe!

Posted by: melmccor at February 23, 2011 06:48 PM

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