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.
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
Professor Peter Cargill Dept. of Physics Imperial College of Science Technology & Medicine London SW7 2BZ
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
Peter Bond, RAS Press Officer (Space Science).
10 Harrier Close, Cranleigh,
Surrey, GU6 7BS, nited Kingdom.
Phone:+44 (0)1483-268672 Fax:+44 (0) 1483-274047