Minimize Swarm Scientific Highlights

ESA's unexpected fleet of space weather monitors

29 June 2018

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A team of researchers, supported under ESA's Basic Activities, has recently investigated a resourceful new method of monitoring space weather.

They analysed data from spacecraft magnetometers typically used for attitude control — so-called "platform magnetometers"— to see if these devices could also be used to investigate the impact of solar storms on the magnetic field around Earth.

From a distance, the Sun appears to be a serenely glowing ball of light and warmth. But this seemingly gentle star has a violent temper. It goes through periods of intense activity, during which it can send powerful blasts of charged particles through space, which can be hazardous if they head in our direction.

The scientists utililized the data from the  Swarm and GOCE Earth Explorer missions, and from LISA Pathfinder to investigate whether platform magnetometer data could also be used for space weather diagnostics.

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