THIS WEEK @NASA: Start of a New Solar Cycle, Record Atlantic Storm Season

By  //  September 20, 2020

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Latest Happenings around NASA

ABOVE VIDEO: Observing a record Atlantic storm season, smoke from western fires seen moving east, and the start of a new solar cycle … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

Observing Record Atlantic Storm Season from Space

NASA assets continued observing storms of this historic 2020 Atlantic hurricane season from space, including Hurricane Sally, which impacted the U.S. Gulf Coast.

As of Sept. 14, a record-tying five tropical storm systems were in the Atlantic basin at the same time, and there had been twenty named storms, the most this early during a hurricane season in the satellite era.

Western U.S. Smoke from Fires Seen Stretching Across the Country

Satellites in space also captured images showing how changing winds have helped carry smoke and aerosols from record-setting fires out west toward the eastern part of the U.S. Aerosols are microscopic particles that, if inhaled, can contribute to a range of health problems.

NASA Takes Flight to Study California’s Wildfire Burn Areas

NASA is also flying over the wildfire burn areas using aircraft equipped with smoke-penetrating technology that helps identify structures damaged in the fires, and maps burn areas that may be at future risk of landslides and debris flows.

NASA/NOAA Announce Start of New Solar Cycle

NASA joined an international group of experts to announce that the solar minimum has occurred. This marks the start of a new solar cycle and possible increased solar activity. Studying the solar cycle helps predict solar activity, which can be a hazard to spacecraft and astronauts in space, as well as life, technology, and infrastructure on Earth.

Engineers Complete 5th Green Run Test of Space Launch System Core Stage

We completed the fifth Green Run test with the core stage of our Space Launch System or SLS rocket. The test verified the control system and hydraulics used to move the rocket’s engines. The eighth and final test of the series is a hot fire test targeted for this fall. SLS will be the backbone of the Artemis program that will send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024.

NASA Kicks Off New School Year with Join Artemis Week

Our Office of STEM Engagement kicked off the new school year with “Join Artemis Week,” featuring an essay contest, YouTube videos, and other activities to inspire students, who are part of the Artemis Generation and the future of space exploration. Learn more at

Hubble Captures Crisp New Portrait of Jupiter

Our Hubble Space Telescope captured a new image of Jupiter in late August that revealed a new storm in the planet’s atmosphere, spotted at mid-northern latitudes and traveling at nearly 350 miles per hour. The image is part of the OPAL program that provides annual global views of the outer planets from Hubble to look for changes in storms, winds, and clouds.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA