Cover image for Storms in space
Storms in space
Freeman, John W.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
x, 139 pages 12 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QB505 .F74 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Imagine what an extra-terrestrial Weather Channel would be like, with a professional space weatherman as your forecaster, and you get rather close to the astounding aspects of nature described in John Freeman's Storms in Space. Known only to a handful of space scientists, yet capable of disrupting technical systems as extensive as communication satellites and electric power grids Storms in Space is the first book to unveil the unseen elements of outer space. Opening with a series of vignettes (describing how the Northern and Southern lights [the aurora] are a visible manifestation of space storms, or how satellites serve as weather stations in space), Freeman provides visual analogies to help illustrate the effects of a storm in space on people. These vignettes explore the chain of events that lead to the storm and to connect the facets of the storm with the scenes in the vignettes. Freeman details the state of the art in forecasting space storms, the models that are used, and the prospects for their future improvement. He also describes the hazards of space storms for human technological systems including human space flight. Storms in Space provides both a new understanding and appreciation of how seemingly insignificant disturbances out there can have major effects right here. John W. Freeman is Professor Emeritus and Research Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Rice University. Over the past 35 years he has directed a number of satellite instrumentation projects, including the Apollo 12, 14, and 15 projects for which he was awarded the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement (1973). He has also served as Editor-in-Chief of Space Power. Freeman is currently working to develop a model that will forecast the intensity of the Van Allen Radiation Belts and helping to build a National Space Weather Service.

Author Notes

John Freeman is Professor Emeritus and Research Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Rice University, Houston, Texas. His primary research interests include computer modelling of the Earth's magnetosphere for space weather specification and prediction, neural networks and other artificial intelligence applications to forecasting geophysical parameters. Professor Freeman has directed a number of satellite instrumentation projects, and has been awarded the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement for his work with the Apollo Program

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Freeman (emer., Rice Univ., Houston) has taken on the difficult challenge of writing a book for general readers on the complicated subject of space storms. His book is a success. By putting the mathematical and technical sections in the appendix and by explaining much of the phenomena in analogy to atmospheric weather, he is able to make the subject accessible. Though the writing is engaging and Freeman tells a good story by including background material and instructive illustrations, this is not an easy subject. The storms that occur between Earth and Sun are complex systems with structures that are not easily observed. Furthermore, the effects of these systems in disrupting television and radio transmissions along with satellite function needs to be tied to what is physically happening in the storms for readers to understand them. Freeman manages in this short book to address all of these instruction problems and offers readers a solid understanding of the strange storms in space. Included is a discussion of the storm sources, how they form, their structures, and how they affect Earth. There is also an interview with astronaut Joe Allen and a discussion of future storm exploration. General readers. E. Kincanon Gonzaga University

Table of Contents

George Siscoe
Forewordp. VII
Prefacep. IX
The Cast of Charactersp. 1
Vignettes of the Stormp. 4
1 Two Kinds of Weatherp. 13
2 The Saga of the Stormp. 21
3 Weather Stations in Spacep. 30
4 Lights in the Night: The Signature of the Stormp. 37
5 A Walking Tour of the Magnetospherep. 42
6 The Sun: Where it all Beginsp. 52
7 Nowcasting and Forecasting Storms in Spacep. 59
8 Technology and the Risks from Storms in Spacep. 69
9 A Conversation with Joe Allenp. 79
10 Manned Exploration and Space Weather Hazardsp. 98
11 The Future of Space Weather Forecastingp. 103
Mathematical Appendix: A Closer Lookp. 110
Glossaryp. 123
Referencesp. 128
Acknowledgementsp. 129
Indexp. 131