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RECENT DISCOVERIES FROM THE CLUSTER QUARTET.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 May 2010 20:31
Published on Thursday, 24 February 2005 00:00

ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY MEETING:  “Cluster: a new view of the magnetosphere”  

AT THE GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY LECTURE THEATRE  BURLINGTON HOUSE, PICCADILLY, LONDON W1 ON FRIDAY, 9 NOVEMBER 2001.  

Last summer, one of the Cornerstone scientific missions in the European Space  Agency’s long-term science programme was launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan.  Four years after the total loss of all four satellites during a catastrophic launch  failure, the Cluster mission had risen from the ashes.

Today, after almost one year of full scientific operations, 11 sets of identical  instruments on board the Cluster quartet have provided exciting new insights  into the interaction between the supersonic solar wind and the Earth’s  magnetosphere – its invisible magnetic shield. Breaks in this shield allow solar particles to penetrate near-Earth space. In the most extreme cases,  this can cause damage to satellites, power cuts and disruption of communications.  Such hazardous space weather is assuming considerable importance in our  technology dependent society.

UK scientists have played leading roles in the development of four instruments  on the pioneering Cluster mission, and their latest results will be presented at a  meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society in London on 9 November.

The meeting will include talks by various Cluster teams, including groups from  Brighton, Leicester, London, Oxfordshire, Sheffield and Warwick - plus  colleagues from France and Germany. This will be the first major UK meeting to  discuss Cluster results.

One of the key topics to be discussed at the meeting will be the use of Cluster  as a scientific tool to study the physics of plasma - the mysterious fourth state  of matter in which atoms are broken down (ionised) into positivelycharged ions  and negatively charged electrons.

 The near-Earth space in which Cluster operates is an excellent natural laboratory  to study plasma in ways that are impossible in laboratory experiments on the ground.  Such studies willalso provide an invaluable scientific underpinning to improve our  understanding and forecasting of space weather. Cluster has been superbly  designed to undertake such studies and is now returning excellent data that  will keep hundreds of Cluster scientists worldwide busy for many years.

The meeting will also include a short talk by Professor David Southwood, Director  of Science for ESA, who has been involved with Cluster since its conception more  than 15 years ago.
 
NOTES FOR EDITORS  

Cluster is a set of four identically instrumented spacecraft designed to study the  Sun-Earth connection by measuring plasmas (electrified gases) and magnetic  fields in near-Earth space. The spacecraft were launched in July 2000 (first pair) and August 2000 (second pair). The 44 instruments on the four spacecraft were commissioned in late 2000 and scientific operations commenced early in 2001.

RAS MEETING PROGRAMME.  10:00 Registration and coffee.

MORNING SESSION, chaired by Professor Peter Cargill (ICSTM)   

 

10:30 Dr Mike Hapgood (RAL): Cluster - overview and future plans.

10:45 Dr Malcolm Dunlop (ICSTM): Results from the Cluster fluxgatemagnetometer  (FGM) experiment.

11:10 Dr Hugo Alleyne (Sheffield): Results from the Cluster Digital Wave  Processing (DWP) experiment.  

11:35 Dr Jim Wild (Leicester): Coordinated Cluster and ground-based studies - the story so far.
 
12:00 Dr Andrew Fazakerley (MSSL/UCL): Results from the Cluster PEACE experiment.

12:25 Dr Andrew Buckley (Sussex): Cluster Particle Correlator measurements  of electron dynamics associated with plasma wave emissions.

12:40 Professor David Southwood (ESA): Forty years of waiting for Cluster.

12.55 LUNCH + POSTERS  

AFTERNOON SESSION, chaired by Dr Mike Hapgood (RAL).

13:55 Dr Patrick Daly (Max Planck Institut für Aeronomie, Germany): Results from the Cluster RAPID experiment.  

14:20 Dr Iannis Dandouras (CESR, France): Results from the Cluster CIS  experiment.

14:45 Dr Elizabeth Lucek (ICSTM): Cluster magnetic field observations of a  quasi- parallel shock.

15:00 Professor Steve Schwartz (QMUL): Strong electron heating and electrostatic potential at quasi-perpendicular shocks.

15:15 Dr Tim Horbury (ICSTM): Cluster magnetic field observations of thequasi -perpendicular bow shock.  

15:30 Tea at Savile Row followed by the A&G (Ordinary) Meeting of the RAS.  

POSTERS.


Dr Chris Perry: The UK Cluster Data Centre.  

Dr Patrick Chaizy: The Cluster Joint Science Operations Centre

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE PROGRAMME CONTACT:

Dr. Mike Hapgood  Rutherford Appleton Laboratory  Chilton  Didcot  OXON  OX11 0QX  

Tel: +44 (0)1235-446520  E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Professor Peter Cargill Dept. of Physics  Imperial College of Science Technology & Medicine  London SW7 2BZ  

Tel:+44 (0)20-7594-7773  E-mail:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

WEB SITES:

RAS Web: www.ras.org.uk/ras/

UK Cluster Data Centre:  http://www.cluster.rl.ac.uk:8080/

ESA Cluster page:  http://sci.esa.int/home/clusterii/index.cfm

 

Ref.:PN 01/31

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