Press Release

Public Invited to Free Lecture at NASA Goddard: Our Eruptive Sun

By SpaceRef Editor
January 30, 2013
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The public is invited to a free event on Feb. 13 to experience “Our Eruptive Sun: The Causes and Consequences of Space Weather,” by Dr. Phillip Chamberlin, Research Astrophysicist in the Solar Physics Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Md.

The sun was once thought to be a very stable source of energy to the Earth. In fact, scientists even referred to the sun’s light output as the “solar constant.” Over 400 years ago, Galileo Galilei was one of the first to observe that the surface of the sun actually had dark sunspots that would appear and disappear, one of the first signs that the sun may not be so constant after all. Generations of solar scientists have studied the sun and witnessed the very large variations on all time scales, from seconds to centuries.

Over time, large eruptions from the sun have also been found and studied in detail. Scientists have also examined how these eruptions can affect us and the technology we are dependent upon here on Earth – a field called space weather. Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is now providing amazing new views of the sun.

The space weather consequences of these large eruptions from the sun can affect technology on Earth, Mars and the moon, and can impact spacecraft health, GPS navigation, radio communication, airline flights, surveying, and even pigeon racing. Along with the lecture, new movies of the sun, at 10 times better resolution than high definition television, will be presented. These show how SDO provides scientists with incredible groundbreaking views of these extreme solar eruptions.
Dr. Chamberlin has studied the sun and analyzed data for ten years as a research astrophysicist, first at the University of Colorado and now at Goddard. Chamberlin also coordinates data produced by SDO as its deputy project scientist. In both roles, Chamberlin develops and works with sounding rockets and satellite instruments. Chamberlin is also a collaborator on the NASA Heliophysics Education and Public Outreach Forum.

The talk is part of the Gerald Soffen Lecture Series and will be held at the Goddard Visitor Center on Wed., Feb. 13, 2013, at 7 p.m. EST (doors will open at 6:45 p.m.). The free talk is about one hour and will end with a question and answer session. Registration is requested online at: . Pre-registration will be open until Feb. 12, 2013.

The Gerald Soffen lecture series is dedicated to Dr. Gerald Soffen (1926-2000). Soffen led the science team for NASA’s Viking program, was director of life sciences at NASA, was project scientist for NASA’s Earth Observing System, and created NASA Academy, NASA’s premiere leadership training internship. The Viking 2 lander and a crater on Mars were named after Soffen. He was best known, however, for his passion for inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.
The Goddard Visitor Center is located off Greenbelt Road. After turning onto ICESat Road, turn left into the Visitor Center prior to the security checkpoint. Visitors are welcome to attend without pre-registration. Attendees who have submitted pre-registration forms, however, will have seating priority. Overflow seating may be required to accommodate all guests.

To register, visit:

For directions to the Goddard Visitor Center, visit:

For more information about NASA’s SDO mission, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.