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PANEL ON SPACE WEATHER (SPACE ADVOCATES), Feb 19, 2020, DC, 10:00-11:00 am ET

Space Advocates, a non-partisan congressional staff association, will hold its next briefing on February 19, 2020 from 10:00-11:00 am ET in 2325 Rayburn House Office Building.

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory and the National Solar Observatory will discuss space weather, the interactions between the Sun and the Earth.

More information is in the emailed announcement, which is reproduced below.


Panel on Space Weather

10-11 AM, February 19th in 2325 Rayburn

Please join us for the next meeting of Space Advocates on Wednesday, February 19th at 10:00 a.m. Scientists from Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory and the National Solar Observatory will join us to discuss space weather, the interactions between our Earth and particles energized by solar wind. Space weather includes potentially catastrophic events like solar flares, which, if large enough, could take down the satellites that we rely on for everything from GPS to banking and national security. RSVP to john.shelton@mail.house.gov if you plan to come!

For those of you new to the group, Space Advocates is a non-partisan staff association that promotes awareness of space and related issues through monthly briefings.

Space Weather

Everything that happens here on Earth is driven by our Sun. This special relationship between our home planet and our star impacts every aspect of our lives, especially now that we are increasingly reliant on spaceborne and ground-based electrical and electronic assets. The Sun generates the solar wind, a continuous flow of energized particles that affect conditions in space and here on Earth. Space weather refers to the interaction between these particles and our Earth system. If there is a major space weather storm, Earth’s assets may be in danger of going offline, being damaged or even destroyed.

The panelists will highlight two observatories that are helping us understand the source of space weather, our Sun: (1) NASA’s Parker Solar Probe spacecraft, built and operated by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, which repeatedly dives into the sun’s atmosphere to provide truly unique insights and discoveries, and (2) the National Science Foundation’s Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, built and operated by the National Solar Observatory. The NSF’s Inouye Solar Telescope is being built on Maui at the Haleakalā Observatory, and produces the highest resolution images ever of our Sun’s surface. The panel will provide an overview of space weather, these two great observatories, as well as our preparedness and recovery plans in the event of a space weather disaster. (The National Solar Observatory is operated by AURA under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.)

Info on Our Panelists

Ian Cohen is a Space Physicist at JHU/APL, where he leads the Energetic Particle Detector investigation on NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission and is part of the Project Science team for NASA’s Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) mission. At APL since 2015, he has led instrument development projects and scientific investigations that range from auroral studies at Earth to energetic particle dynamics at the Ice Giants. He has a Ph.D. in Physics the University of New Hampshire, served for several years as NASA Solar System Ambassador, and serves on Heliophysics advocacy committees for both the American Geophysical Union and American Astronomical Society.

Nour E. Raouafi (Ph. D. Astrophysics) is the Project Scientist of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe mission. Before joining the APL in 2008, Dr. Raouafi worked at the Turin Observatory (Italy), the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (Germany), and the National Solar Observatory. His research covers a wide range of topics, including solar magnetic fields, spectroscopy, polarimetry, coronal plumes and jets, CMEs and shock waves, solar wind, solar energetic particles, and cometary physics. He authored and co-authored tens of peer-reviewed papers and meeting proceedings.

Claire Raftery (Ph. D. Astrophysics) is the Director of Education, Outreach and Communications at the NSF’s National Solar Observatory (NSO), based in Boulder, Colorado. In this capacity, she led the announcement of the NSF’s Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope’s first images in January of this year, and is leading the outreach efforts to the Hawaiian community on behalf of the observatory. Her education and outreach priorities are focused on the engagement and inclusion of underrepresented populations in the pursuit of Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM). Prior to NSO, she was based at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory, where she led the outreach and communication efforts for NASA’s ICON mission, project managed NASA’s MAVEN mission educational pursuits, and was the US education lead for the Emirates Mars Mission on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. Prior to her move to education, she conducted research into the connection between solar flares and coronal mass ejections, and their impact on the solar atmosphere at UC Berkeley, and during the pursuit of her graduate degree at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. [Editor’s note: this bio was updated by request on February 17]


February 19
10:00 am - 11:00 pm