space weather - studies of how the space environment and space storms effect satellites
remote sensing of the Earth
GEM: Can Electron Precipitation Account for the Rapid Dropout of Radiation Belt Electrons in the Storm Main Phase?
Weichao Tu, NMC Affiliate Researcher, LANL Postdoc
This research seeks to estimate the electron precipitation loss rate with high temporal and spatial resolution during the main phase of storms using the newly developed Drift-Diffusion model that includes the effects of azimuthal drift and pitch angle diffusion. The Drift-Diffusion model simulates the low-altitude electron distributions observed by SAMPEX and up to 6 NOAA/POES satellites.
Van Allen Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) Supporting Science
Aurorasaurus: Aurora Map Citizen Science
The Aurorasaurus project, led by Dr. Liz MacDonald, is an educational crowdsourcing website for the upcoming solar maximum, and is the first aurora borealis mapping program of its kind using social media. In this project, an interdisciplinary team is constructing a website that geographically displays public sightings of the northern lights, or aurora borealis. Individuals provide observations via Tweet or direct citizen science observations. Processed Tweet data-to-information displayed can include the user's Tweet, location, observation time, and the auroral characteristics observed. The website displays pertinent scientific background and satellite and groundbased observations for further inquiry. The prototype website can be viewed at: www.aurorasaurus.org. Funding for this project comes from the John Hopkins, NASA, and the National Science Foundation.
New in 2014: INSPIRE Track 1: Aurorasaurus - Citizen Scientists Experiencing the Extremes of Space Weather
The INSPIRE program aims for transformative, interdisciplinary research. The program will work to expand the Aurorasaurus website project at the intersection of space science, human-computer interactions, and informal science education.
Turbulence and Dynamics of Stars
Casey Meakin, NMC Affiliate Researcher, LANL Staff Scientist
NMC is conducting research on the first 3D simulations of the turbulent environment present in pre-supernova massive stars. This project will improve upon our understanding of iron core formation in massive stars by simulating the formational process with the 3D computational fluid dynamics code, PROMPI. It is the gravitational collapse and subsequent evolution of these iron cores that is thought to power Type II supernovae and long-duration gamma ray bursts. Current models of iron core formation are calculated entirely in 1D with turbulence processes included in a very rudimentary manner (i.e., with mixing length theory and diffusive mixing). Preliminary 2D results indicate that significant deviations from the 1D treatment are expected. This work will address outstanding questions concerning the initial conditions under which iron core-collapse takes place in massive stars. Funding for this project comes from the National Science Foundation.
Nuclear, Particle, Astrophysics and Cosmology (NPAC) Program
Turbulence plays an important role in a wide range of astrophysics and has become one of the driving uncertainties in both stellar evolution and collapse. In this program, visiting researchers worked with LANL to model turbulence and experiment with astrophysical models and observations. Funding for this project comes from Los Alamos National Laboratory Research & Development.