April 4, 2001
Can Solar Clouds Damage Spacecrafts?
Bellan Lecture at CSUS
Solar prominences - luminous clouds of
solar gas erupting from the sun - are unpredictable and spew
out huge magnetic fields that travel into interplanetary space
and on rare occasions can damage spacecrafts and Earth's electrical
At 4 p.m., Thursday April 5, California Technical Institute
professor Paul Bellan will lead a discussion about solar prominences
at California State University, Sacramento in Mendocino Hall
Bellan works with a group that has developed a laboratory
devise that creates magnetized plasmas known as spheromaks
that have the same conditions and dynamics as solar prominences
to study the clouds effects on the atmosphere and spacecrafts.
"Spheromaks are compact, dense translatable plasma configurations
with high internal currents and magnetic fields," Bellan
says. "A spheromak formation is closely related to the
eruption dynamics of solar prominences. In all these situations,
a previously stable, attached magnetized configuration suddenly
tears off to form a topologically isolated configuration much
like the detachment of a blown soap bubble."
His talk will include concepts governing both solar prominences
and the lab experiment. He will also describe the operation
of the lab and present photographs showing an expanding, twisting
lab simulation of a solar prominence.
For more information about the lecture call (916) 278-5675.
Media assistance is at the CSUS office of public affairs at
further information send E-Mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or
Public Affairs (916)
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