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New fall 2021 ASU course explores space weather, solar storms


SES 294 Introduction to Space Weather will cover the topics of solar flares, auroras, geomagnetic storms, and other space weather phenomenon, and how these events affect people and our activities on Earth and in space. Image credit ESA

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May 18, 2021

Starting this fall 2021, Arizona State University students will have the opportunity to learn how weather in space influences satellites, causes auroras, creates geomagnetic storms and influences ground-based systems on Earth, through a special topics course, SES 294: Introduction to Space Weather.

The course will be taught by space physicist and Assistant Professor Katrina Bossert of the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences.

Bossert, who has degrees in electrical engineering and aerospace engineering, specializes in investigating the effects of terrestrial weather on space weather and studying the implications of wave breakdown and turbulence in the spacecraft reentry region.

“Space weather and solar storms can result in costly damage to satellites in orbit around Earth, and spacecraft within our solar system,” Bossert said. “Stronger solar storms even have the potential to influence ground-based systems on Earth.”

In this course, Bossert will dive into the reasons why we have space weather and variability in the region surrounding Earth where satellites orbit.

“Students taking this course will learn about solar flares, auroras, geomagnetic storms, and other space weather phenomena, and how these events affect people and our activities on Earth and in space, including astronauts,” Bossert said. “They will also learn how to interpret publically available space weather forecasts.”

In addition to the effects on Earth, Bossert will delve into how space weather in other solar systems can affect exoplanets (planets in other solar systems) and how that might impact our search for life beyond Earth.

The course does not require any prerequisites, but a good working knowledge of algebra is recommended.   

To register for this three-credit iCourse, visit the ASU course catalog and search for fall 2021 SES 294: Introduction to Space Weather. The course is number 95191 and it is offered during Session B, Oct. 13 to Dec. 3. For more information, email Professor Bossert at Katrina.Bossert@asu.edu.

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