Researchers at Trinity College Dublin are involved with the LOFAR for Space Weather (LOFAR4SW) project, which is part of the European Union Horizon 2020 INFRADEV-1-2017 Call, ‘Design Studies’. The project will deliver the full conceptual and technical design for creating a new leading-edge European research facility for space weather science. The LOFAR4SW project will engage stakeholders in preparation of the facility which produces unique research data with key impact on advanced predictions of space weather events affecting crucial technological infrastructures of today’s society.
Building on the technology and European coverage of the International LOFAR Telescope (ILT) infrastructure, a fully implemented LOFAR4SW system will enable a wide range of solar and space weather research topics to be tackled. The LOFAR4SW facility is the only way to obtain transformational 3-dimensional tomographic data on velocities and densities that track space weather dynamics throughout space between the Sun and the Earth (the inner heliosphere). This facility will uniquely provide the missing link of measurements of the interplanetary magnetic field on those global scales – a key parameter in forecasting the severity of geomagnetic storms on Earth.
Schematic illustration of the major areas of space weather science which will be enhanced by a fully-implemented LOFAR4SW system. 1) New insights into the relationship between solar radio bursts and the launch of a CME; 2) Detailed tracking of the solar wind and CMEs through interplanetary space; 3) Fundamental research into extracting crucial information on the interplanetary magnetic field; 4) New detail on micro-structure in the ionosphere.
Scientific and Technological Excellence by Leveraging LOFAR Advancements in Radio astronomy (STELLAR) is a collaboration between Institute of Astronomy and National Astronomical Observatory (IANAO) in Bulgaria, Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON), the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS), and the Technical University of Sofia (TUS), which is funded by EU’s Horizon 2020 Twinning program. STELLAR is a transformative project for training the next generation of Bulgarian radio astronomers, and will significantly increase the LOFAR technical and scientific expertise at TUS and IANAO.
STELLAR will achieve its objectives through carefully planned trainings for IANAO and TUS staff at ASTRON and DIAS, including lectures, workshops, summer schools, and research staff exchanges. The project will allow IANAO and TUS to develop and strengthen collaborations with ASTRON and DIAS.
The STELLAR project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 952439. Learn more at https://lofar.bg/stellar
Researchers at DIAS are working with stream Birr as part of an Irish Research Council Enterprise Partnership to study the dynamics of solar magnetic field structures and their long-term impacts on the inner planets. Stream Birr is a hub for researchers in business and academia that utilise Big Data. This collaboration will facilitate more cross-sector connections between researchers and start-ups, manufacturing, and other businesses that use machine learning. DIAS researchers will provide expertise on handling large-scale complex datasets.
Everyday space weather may go unnoticed for most people, however extreme events can represent considerable hazards on Earth and in near-Earth space. Significant magnetospheric responses to space weather are relatively rare due to Earth’s distance from the Sun and the strength of its magnetic field, which makes it difficult to accurately predict and model the magnetospheric response to the most extreme events. At Mercury, however, these responses are far more common. Hence investigating Mercury’s reaction to space weather enables us to build a comprehensive model of severe magnetospheric reactions.
Schematic view of Mercury’s magnetosphere (credit: NASA). Mercury’s planetary magnetic field largely shields the surface from the supersonic solar wind emanating continuously from the Sun.
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