News Releases

July 8, 2015
A researcher from the University of Alaska Fairbanks is part of a NASA mission to get close-up photos of Pluto. Peter Delamere, a space physicist at the UAF Geophysical Institute, is modeling the solar wind’s interaction with Pluto’s escaping atmosphere. NASA launched the New Horizons space probe on Jan. 19, 2006, to take the first-ever photos of the dwarf planet Pluto and to go beyond into the...
March 12, 2014
Gene Wescott, a professor emeritus of geophysics and long-time employee at the UAF Geophysical Institute, died in Hawaii on Feb. 23, 2014. Wescott had been with the GI since 1958. Wescott conducted pioneering work on sprites — the mysterious optical flashes that occur above thunderstorms — in the mid-1990s with fellow GI researchers Davis Sentman and Daniel Osborne. The team captured sprites...
February 14, 2014
On Feb. 9, 2014, a team of Geophysical Institute researchers launched a 10-foot carbon-fiber rocket on a seven-minute flight from Poker Flat Research Range north of Fairbanks. They fired the rocket to test its capabilities as a low-cost test vehicle for space physicists and other scientists who send missions through the aurora. The small rocket, designed by Jeff Rothman of the Geophysical...
January 27, 2014
Aurora watching, enjoyed for millennia, is expanding in the digital age. Don Hampton, a space physicist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, will talk about what that means at the next Science for Alaska Lecture Series Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel and Convention Center. Hampton has been part of modernizing aurora observations by the Geophysical Institute...
January 27, 2014
The 2014 launch season at Poker Flat Research Range north of Fairbanks opened Friday, January 24.Scientists are preparing for an experiment that will launch a NASA sounding rocket over the aurora while observing beneath it using cameras based at a village in northern Alaska. The launch window for the experiment opens January 24 and extends to Feb. 6, 2013. A second, smaller test launch will...
January 13, 2014
Science lecture series begins with Pluto and beyondCONTACT: Amy Hartley, 907-474-5823, info@gi.alaska.eduIn the outer reaches of our solar system, a NASA spacecraft is slowly moving toward its Pluto rendezvous. The 2014 Science for Alaska Lecture Series begins with this story.Peter Delamere, a space physicist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a NASA consultant, will kick off the annual...
January 8, 2014
According to NASA, the sun's Jan. 7, 2014, X-class flare was also associated with a coronal mass ejection or CME. CMEs are  another solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of particles into space that can reach Earth one to three days later. These particles cannot travel through the atmosphere to harm humans on Earth, but they can affect electronic systems in satellites and on the...
December 2, 2013
Despite the high hopes of scientists and stargazers around the world, Comet ISON did not survive its close encounter with the sun on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 2013. According to the December 2 post by Astrophysicist Karl Battams on the NASA Comet ISON Observing Campaign site: "We feared the worst as ISON plunged through the solar corona, and while our hopes were briefly raised when...
October 8, 2013
 "Is Magnetic Reconnection the Cause of Auroral Substorms?" will be presented by IARC Director & Professor Emeritus Syun Akasofu on Thursday, October 10 in the  Elvey Auditorium. The special seminar will begin at 2:30 p.m. and all are invited. Abstract:  In 1964, I published my first paper on the aurora, the same year the magnetotail was discovered by H.E. Petschek who...
August 19, 2013
 Recent sprite images captured by Jason Ahrns, a graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, have gone viral. The doctoral candidate has taken part in a sprite imaging campaign over the Midwest from late July through August 13. However, due to Ahrn's captivating blog and Flickr site, media requests keep rolling in.  Ahrns' sprite photos and video were covered by The...