Science Overview

Scientific Objectives

About the Radiation Belts

What is Space Weather?

RBSP Quick Facts
 • Launched:
    Aug. 30, 2012
 • Johns Hopkins APL
    built and will operate the
    twin RBSP spacecraft
 • Science payload:
    5 instruments
    – ECT
    – EFW
    – RPS
 • Mission duration: 2 yrs.
 • Twin spacecraft will fly
    nearly identical orbits
    covering the entire
    radiation belt region

Related Links
   - RBSP at NASA
   - RBSP at APL

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What is Space Weather?

"Conditions on the Sun and in the solar wind, magnetosphere, ionosphere and thermosphere can influence the performance and reliability of space-borne and ground-based technological systems and can endanger human life or health." —NASA Space Weather Center

Changes in the Sun's energy flow cause changes in the space environment near Earth, termed "space weather." While the sun emits a continuous stream of ionized gases, called solar wind, it periodically releases a large burst of this charged matter, called a coronal mass ejection (CME).

When directed toward Earth, these magnetic storms can affect the space-borne electronics and ground-based technologies. On occasion, intense magnetic storms can disrupt a power grid or radio and satellite signals, but fortunately the magnetosphere protects us from most of the effects of CMEs.

Some magnetic energy does transfer through the magnetosphere near the North and South Poles, where the magnetic field is weaker. This produces colorful auroras in the higher latitudes.

More information about space weather...

    NASA Space Weather Poster (pdf)

    Space Weather News

    Storms from the Sun