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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A new outbreak in the Sun: ISS astronauts received a double dose of radiation


The sun continues to attack the Earthmen, all new and new portions of their plasma. New blow 10 September – a surge of energy towards the Earth – turned out to be 100 times(!) stronger than the previous. Even the astronauts had to take refuge behind the thick walls of the living modules of the ISS. Flash almost hit from the right path, geostationary satellites, and we have on Earth for the first time in three years, increased radiation background.


photo: pixabay.com

This outbreak has become the most powerful solar flare of the previous four, which occurred from the beginning of September. The correspondent of “MK” has found out all the details of the new events on the Sun and its effects.

Light, despite its low activity, scribbled on our plasma like a machine gun, all last week. 4-5 September, issued a series of five emissions of the middle class M, September 6 bombed a class X9,3, what the earthlings could not remember the last 12 years (he was also one of the five strongest solar flares in the entire history of observations). Behind him, on 7 and 8 September, followed by two more flashes of class X, who, who, however, evaded us. In conclusion, on Sunday, the star was given another surprise — the fourth week of the outbreak high grade X, which has sparked a powerful solar tsunami from the southern limb luminaries from the city centre. Part of the substance again flew in our direction and forced the specialists to worry about the radio communication, satellites and health of the cosmonauts is much greater than during previous solar escapades.

Sunday flash X8,2, which was recorded September 10, approximately at 19.00 Moscow time, brought us a large portion of high-energy protons, which cannot be said about the previous flash X9,3 (she was infested with weaker protons), – told the “MK” head of the Center space weather forecasts Institute of terrestrial magnetism and radio wave propagation RAS (IZMIRAN) Sergey GAYDASH. – Therefore, despite the lower index, it is more aggressive. The arrival on Earth of the proton charge our devices recorded already in 20-30 minutes after the outbreak, the main substance is expected only on September 12-13.

According to Gaidash, if the part of scientists was not followed by timely informing the representatives of the space industry about the arrival of these protons, many geostationary satellites, which fly at an altitude of about 36 thousand km, you could lose orientation.

– The GSS needs to focus on the so-called reference star to adjust its position in orbit, – he says,- these stars are not very many. And when there is a proton flare, each proton is taken by spacecraft (SC) for the star (and millions of them!), satellites begin to spin randomly, so that in the end might fail. To avoid this, we 2006 available forecasts for some of our companies that serve the KA. In the case of such powerful emission of protons by the Sun, which occurred on Sunday, the experts turn off the automatic orientation and begin to operate the satellites from the Ground by hand. It is very difficult, but it’s the only way to save billions of devices.

The technique does not stand up, but what about the people, our astronauts working on the International space station? To understand what the radiation dose was recorded on Board, and how to protect members of the Russian crew in those dark days, solar disturbances, we turned to the laboratory monitoring the radiation safety Department of the SSC RF “Institute of biomedical problems RAS”.

– I’ll tell you this: nothing bad happened, despite the fact that the latest flash X8,2, according to the data obtained on Monday, about 100 times higher than the capacity of the previous X9,3, – said the doctor of technical Sciences Victor MITRIKAS. She added to the daily dose of the astronauts, which is 20-25 milerad, additional 20 millirad (100 rad=1 gray — Ed.). American sensors on the ISS by 14: 00 on 11 September showed 40 millirad, which was confirmed by our measurements. The flux density of protons in the evening of 10 September was 2,74 in 10 to the 8th power, that is, 274 million protons per 1 square centimeter. This is 15 times more powerful proton streams from all of the September outbreaks combined (for reference, a record in terms of proton rash was in 2003, when we had more than 3 billion protons per 1 square centimeter”.

All this could not change the daily routine of astronauts. According to Mitrikas, on Sunday evening it was given the command not to go into the smaller modules in which it is possible to obtain 1.5 times more radiation than conventional. No protective caps they are not yet available. Only in October with a new cargo ship Progress to the ISS delivered a new defensive wall, which resembles the mattress, and Packed with personal care products, particularly wet wipes (moisture is the major protective component against radiation). This “mattress” is supposed to protect the cockpit starboard, which is now occupied by cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy.

Interestingly, flying over his home planet, the crew members periodically cross the so-called anomalous radiation zones, regardless of recorded solar flares or not. For example, areas with elevated background radiation exist over the South Atlantic and Brazil, where the ridges of the Earth’s radiation belts located at a distance of 200 km from the Earth’s surface. For example, over Russia and other countries, these foothills are much higher — ranging from 1,000 kilometers.

Not without increase of the radiation background on Earth. It was recorded by the staff IZMIRAN their devices. In the history of space weather observations, this has happened 74 times, last time was in 2014.

– The increase in background radiation will not affect the earth, – told our readers Mitrikas. – It is always within the permissible limits. Still, we must not forget that we are under the protection of the magnetic field. In General, in Moscow, depending on the areas, the radiation level may differ several times! There are places where the radiation level is 0.27 millirad a day, and there at 0,42 millirad. The last value is fixed near granite monuments, which have increased background radiation.

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