back to article Ten spacecraft – from Venus Express to Voyager 2 – all tracked same solar flare

On October 14th, 2014, the Sun decided it was time for a coronal mass ejection, the irregular hiccups that see it belch out astounding quantities of magnetised plasma. And after careful analysis, we've now fingerprinted the plasma's passing using no fewer than ten spacecraft. The event and subsequent analysis are detailed in a …

  1. Alister

    Proper Science!

    A great bit of investigation.

    1. A K Stiles

      Re: Proper Science!

      And great to see the continued open and international cooperation that allows the investigation to see the data from all those different probes/craft from the different agencies too. Top work everyone involved over 50+ years of science.

  2. John Robson Silver badge


    I like the 'add a couple of kilos to your spacecraft' recommendation (hopefully it won't need anything like that mass)

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Awesome

      I'd guess it'd be in that ballpark.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Awesome

      There's a big range, from the one on Cassini which is 3kg (plus a boom to get it far away from the rest of the spacecraft), to the sort that gets used on cubesats which is a single chip on a breakout board (~5g), which is stuck on the end of a solar panel.

      I think if you could sacrifice 50 grams, then you could fit a reasonably useful magnetometer on your spacecraft.

  3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    What a great time for space science.

    I seem to remember them coordinating a bunch of the stuff around Mars a few years ago to look at something, but unless I've missed several stories (entirely possible) this still seems relatively unusual.

    It's great for science that we've got so many long-lasting probes out there now. I don't think we're launching more than in the 70s - they're just more capable and operate for years. And that gives us opportunities like this. Hooray.

  4. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    CME's? we've heard of them ...

    I find it odd that we're so uninterested in CME's in general - given today's reliance on electrically driven technology, I wonder if the next Carrington Event will either brick every Telsa out there or get all the drivers a speeding ticket at the same time?

    1. samzeman

      Re: CME's? we've heard of them ...

      I wonder if it's just because we can't do anything about it. We're not interested in gamma ray bursts or black holes, or any other mega space phenomenon.

      Only recently we started caring about asteroid deflection, and now they're starting to study asteroids a bunch more.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: CME's? we've heard of them ...

      We are quite interested in CMEs. Power companies have done at least some work on it, since the large amount of damage the Canadians copped in the 80s. The European and US space agencies have both bunged up different solar observatories - and there's now a space weather centre which can supposedly give early warning. Which may mean we can shut some stuff down beforehand, and give it a better chance to survive any damage.

      I'm sure we could be better prepared. But it's not a subject that's been ignored.

    3. 45RPM Silver badge

      Re: CME's? we've heard of them ...

      My guess is that another Carrington event would brick just about everything. I even doubt the ability of my 1964 GT car to survive it unscathed owing to induced currents in its primitive wiring. That said, I'm damn sure that my old car would be easier to get up and running again than my modern one…

      1. Martin Budden

        Re: CME's? we've heard of them ...

        Car electrics are unaffected by direct-hit lightning strikes, maybe they'll be ok with CMEs? Just wondering.

  5. Hans 1

    We should also investigate our ocean floors as well, the pressure there would help us create crafts that could land on moons with water, like Europa. We definitely have to have a look at that one and need a craft that can withstand high pressure...

  6. armyknife

    From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

    His science as compared to Trump's latest tweets.

  7. Boothy

    Voyager 2

    I think it's awesome that a space probe launched in the 70s, is not just still out there, and running, but still managing to do useful science!

    Ditch the solar panels, we need more plutonium powered probes :-)

    (Icon, well why not!)

    1. Unicornpiss
      Thumb Up

      Re: Voyager 2

      I agree. It made me smile a little that Voyager 2 significantly contributed to this effort. And the Voyager probes both have magnetometers.

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