YEREVAN — The ability to forecast space weather storms is vital for the security of space based electronic systems as well as the power grid delivering power to homes and industry. Armenia’s Cosmic Ray Division is expanding its network to monitor and forecast space weather events.
The Cosmic Ray Division (CRD) of Yerevan’s Alikhanyan Physics Institute recently announced the expansion of its Space Environment Viewing and Analysis Network (SEVAN) into India. The SEVAN system consists of an internationally networked array of terrestrial cosmic ray detection systems at middle to low latitudes. Data from these installations is sent via Internet to CRD’s research center in Yerevan where it is analyzed and shared with international research partners throughout the world.
The SEVAN network aims to improve fundamental research studying the mechanisms of cosmic ray particle acceleration in the vicinity of the sun and in other space environments to advance the Space Weather alert systems. New types of particle detectors, invented by CRD scientists and deployed within the SEVAN network, simultaneously measure changing fluxes of most species of secondary cosmic ray particles. Piecing this information together from world wide SEVAN installations, including precise timing information, allows scientists to predict dangerous solar radiation storms tens of minutes before their arrival from the sun. SEVAN’s data also allows scientists to forecast damaging geomagnetic storms hours before their arrival. These storms, resulting from huge clouds of plasma traveling from the sun towards the earth at speeds up to 4.5 million miles per hour, can cause extensive damage to communication systems, power grids and pipelines.
The first four SEVAN modules became operational at CRD’s Aragats Space Environmental Center on the slopes of Armenia’s Mount Aragats. In 2009 additional SEVAN installations were deployed in Croatia and Bulgaria. In the fall of 2010 a SEVAN detector was installed in the Remote Sensing Applications Laboratory, School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. This year’s plans call for a SEVAN unit to be installed in Slovakia.
Reliable forecasts of the major geomagnetic and radiation storms are of great importance due to the danger they pose to major space-based systems such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) and communication satellites. Radiation storms also pose a radiation hazard to astronauts in space and crews and passengers aboard aircraft.
For further information visit www.crdfriends.org.