New fall 2021 ASU course explores space weather, solar storms

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. 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 Download Full Image

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

Karin Valentine

Media Relations & Marketing manager, School of Earth and Space Exploration


Scenic designer joins ASU's School of Music, Dance and Theatre

May 18, 2021

Scenic designer Arnel Sancianco joins the School of Music, Dance and Theatre in Arizona State University's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts this fall. 

“We are thrilled to have attracted an artist of Sancianco’s caliber to our design and production program,” said Heather Landes, director of the School of Music, Dance and Theatre. “Sancianco’s unique socially engaged scenic design voice, his wealth of diverse professional experiences in scenic design throughout the country, his creative ideas about design curricula, and his emphasis on equity and inclusion will complement and enhance our design and production offerings.” man's portrait Arnel Sancianco Download Full Image

Sancianco received his bachelor’s degree in drama with honors in design at UC Irvine and his MFA in scenic design from Northwestern University. He has designed all around the United States, with a lengthy repertoire of plays in his credits. At ASU, he will teach scenic design as well as “Drafting for the Stage” this fall. 

“I was drawn to ASU and the Herberger Institute for their emphasis on innovation and collaboration,” Sancianco said. “I was excited by the resources available that would allow me to develop collaborative projects across the campus as well as progress upon new courses that would challenge the next generation of theater-makers.”

Sanciano, who refers to himself as a “theater nerd” from a young age, said part of challenging his students is teaching them to embrace failure. 

“I believe learning from your failures opens you up to the possibilities of innovation,” he said. “I’ve worked in some of the largest opera houses to the smallest storefronts. My experience in theater over the last decade has taught me that limitations shouldn’t restrict a designer’s ability. Designers should view limitations as an opportunity to innovate. My hope is to guide students through the innovative process and embrace failure.”

The two courses he will teach this fall home in on practical and necessary skills for the stage and offer a hands-on approach designed to introduce students to processes such as scale model making, storyboarding, hand drafting and more.

“Over the years I’ve learned to hone my craft, and I’m constantly learning from the people around me while also helping them develop their art,” he said. “I’ve always been the type of person who enjoyed mentoring young artists – the process of watching someone discover their voice and their perspective on their world and turn their experience into a work of art is very special to me.”

Sancianco said the newly reorganized School of Music, Dance and Theatre, which brings the performing arts disciplines together under one school, “offers many opportunities for students to explore a path in theatrical design, and I believe with the support of ASU I can help guide these students towards a successful career in theater that will diversify the landscape of the stage.”

In addition to the technical aspects of his teaching, Sancianco said he wants to help ensure all voices are represented in the theater world. 

“I grew up being told ‘Be the change you want to see in the world,’” he said. “My hope is that through my mentorship and guidance, I will be able to expand the spectrum of voices and stories being told on and off the stage.”

Currently, Sancianco is working on Court Theatre’s digital production of “Titanic: Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry of 1912” and Goodman Theatre’s live digital productions of “The Sound Inside,” “The Ohio State Murders” and “I Hate It Here,” all of which will be available for streaming this summer.

Danielle Munoz

Media and Communications Coordinator, School of Film, Dance and Theatre