Alaska Science Forum Discusses Sun Waiting at Poker Flat

Alaska Science Forum Discusses Sun Waiting at Poker Flat

Glesener and Savage are preparing separate rockets that will carry instruments designed to gather valuable information on solar flares. Solar flares are explosive events on the sun that release charged particles into space, sometimes affecting Earth by causing auroras or damaging satellites and power grids. As the two scientists monitor live readings from satellites orbiting between the Sun and Poker Flat, they wait for signs of a large solar flare before initiating a launch countdown.

Despite the lack of significant solar flares on the horizon, Glesener and Savage use the day to fine-tune their equipment and address any potential issues. This day serves as a dress rehearsal for the actual launch, preparing the team for when a sizable solar flare does occur. Once a suitable flare is detected, the scientists will have just three minutes to launch their rockets into space.

When the rockets launch, they will quickly ascend out of Earth’s atmosphere, reaching above the dense gases within two minutes. Specialized telescopes on the rockets will then open, providing a detailed view of the energy emitted by the solar flares for a brief period of five minutes. After collecting their measurements, the rocket payloads will return to Earth in northern Alaska, where they will be recovered by workers using helicopters.

As Glesener and Savage continue to monitor the sun for potential flares, they remain prepared to take action when the time comes to launch their rockets and gather crucial data on these explosive solar events.

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