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Sun Microsystems Space NASA Science

Scientists Need Volunteers To Look At the Sun 110

Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that Royal Observatory's 'Solar Stormwatch' needs volunteers to help scientists spot Sun storms — known as coronal mass ejections — before they cause damage on Earth. 'When you look up at the Sun obviously it's too bright to look at properly,' says Dr. Marek Kukula of the Royal Observatory, but 'with special instruments and telescopes you can see there's all sorts of stuff going on.' NASA already monitors the Sun using two 'STEREO' spacecraft that produce 3D images of earth's nearest star, which can show the trajectory of these explosions. However, the sheer amount of data means NASA's scientists are unable to analyze the data as closely as they need — which is where the world's Internet population comes in. After a brief tutorial, users get access to the actual 3-D images taken by the STEREO spacecraft. If a user believes they have spotted the beginnings of a solar storm, they can bring it to the attention of scientists. 'Every little bit counts,' says Kukula. 'I've spoken to the scientists involved and they all agree that even if you log-on and just do it for a few hours, get bored and never touch it again it's all really useful — and helps them to do their work.'"
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Scientists Need Volunteers To Look At the Sun

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  • by T Murphy ( 1054674 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @07:06PM (#31458190) Journal
    I should hope we have some ability to mitigate damage by disconnecting or shutting off equipment and using shielding, but even just knowing what will be destroyed and when can be useful. If there is reason to believe, for example, the computers in cars would get fried and make cars unusable, it would be good to know that before the highway at rush hour becomes a 5 mile long parking lot. Kind of like how better tornado detection doesn't do much to reduce property damage, but has greatly reduced fatalities.
  • Re:Volume of data (Score:3, Insightful)

    by easyTree ( 1042254 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @07:14PM (#31458292)

    They are doing. They're just installing the software in your brain :D

  • by mikael ( 484 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:04PM (#31459814)

    Am I missing something, but the article seems to be using the Oracle|Sun logo, while this is an astronomy discussion of the Sun.

  • by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @01:17AM (#31461706)
    Slashdot editors not understanding the sections well enough to separate the concepts they represent from the words in a story is not a new phenomenon. There was at least one completely non-computer-related article in the Enlightenment section a few years ago, although I can't remember enough details to tell the full story. The point is just that these darn kids need to get off my lawn or, at the very least, learn the right way to play lawn darts while they're on it.

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright