Solar Flares Spell Trouble
Commack Middle School eighth grader Chapin Zerner took First Place Highest Honors in the New York State Science Congress for his project, “Is there a correlation between coronal mass ejections originating from the sun’s sur-face and the solar sunspot cyclic waxing and waning?”
Chapin’s project focused on one of closest neighbors, our Sun. Although it is 93 million miles away, activity on our nearest star can have consequences here on Earth. The Sun’s temperature varies on an 11-year cycle, cycling from a quieter period to a more turbulent solar maximum. Sunspots sometimes erupt into very powerful solar storms which can interact with Earth’s magnetic field and cause problems such as power grid disruptions or even putting satellites in orbit out of service. Chapin’s project is of profound importance because the more we are able to predict these violent solar outbursts, the better prepared we can be to deal with any potential issues that may result. Chapin received a $400 check, and plans on continuing his science research into this topic and many others when he attends Commack High School in the fall.
In photo, congratulating Chapin on his amazing accomplishment are, from left to right: teacher/mentors Sean Mahoney and Jamie Handler, Director of Science Alison Offerman-Celentano, Director of Math Barbara Gerson, and Commack Middle School Principal Anthony Davidson.