On Nov. 3, a dazzling display of rare pink auroras washed across the sky above Norway. A tour group led by Markus Varik, a local northern lights guide, happened to witness the show. The pink colors only lasted about two minutes, but Varik managed to capture several stunning shots.
A powerful solar storm on Nov. 3 led to a rare pink aurora over Norway. Photo: Markus Varik/Greenlander Tromsø
Photo: Markus Varik
“These were the strongest pink auroras I have seen in more than a decade of leading tours,” Varik told Live Science. “It was a humbling experience.”
Photo: Markus Varik
In an email to spaceweather.com, the guide mentioned that he’s never experienced anything quite like this display, despite his experience guiding aurora tours inside the Arctic Circle.
“I thought I’d seen it all,” he said.
Pink auroras are far rarer than green ones. The reason has to do with the Earth’s magnetic field, according to spaceweather.
Normal auroras take place higher in the atmosphere (between 100 and 300 kilometres), where oxygen particles excited by solar wind give off a green hue. Usually, the Earth’s magnetic field prevents solar wind from reaching deeper than that.
Photo: Markus Varik
But during this event, a class G-1 solar storm temporarily punched a hole in the magnetosphere, allowing energetic solar particles to sink far deeper into the Earth’s atmosphere than usual (below the 100km mark).
At that altitude, the atmosphere has a higher percentage of nitrogen, which lights up in a different hue than oxygen when excited.
The result? A shimmering light show in pinks and purples. And even better for the tour group watching the rare occurrence, those colors appeared just as vivid to the naked eye as through the camera. Usually, auroras are one of those few things that the camera ‘sees’ more vividly than the eye does.
The class G-1 storm also caused strange occurrences in Sweden, where an odd blue line hovered over Abisko National Park.
“It didn’t look like any auroras I have ever seen before,” Chad Blakley, director of LIghts over Lapland, told spaceweather.
XI. The role of planetariums and demonstration observatories in education workshop
In November 2022, Dr Bernadett Belucz participated in the eleventh planetarium meeting. Unlike previous years, this year the Egri Observatory and Science Experience Center - Varázstorony (on the 6th) and Bükki Observaroty (on the 7th) hosted the event. In addition to the high-quality reports, we were able to participate in a spectacular chemistry demonstration lecture, we were able to see the exhibitions at both locations, Balázs Forgács from the Utazo Planetarium gave a marketing lecture, the teachers of the Károly Eszterházy Catholic University of Eger presented a completely new basic educational program and we were also able to participate in planetarium screenings of Hungary's first 3D planetarium. Colleagues came from many parts of the country (and Slovakia as well): Baja, Budapest, Debrecen, Dombóvár, Eger, Gyula, Kaposvár, Kecskemét, Miskolc, Nagyszénás, Pécs, Székesfehérvár, Tata, Szeged, Szolnok, Vác, Vecsés, etc. We will meet again next year in Kecskemét and negotiations are also underway with Lakitelek.
A Magyar Napfizikai Alapítvány is részt vesz az idei "Egy hét a csillagok alatt rendezvényen".
Bár az időjárás sokszor ellenünk volt, a becslésünk szerint így is több mint 70 helyszínen zajlottak bemutatók és több mint tizenkétezren fordultak meg a távcsövek mellett az elmúlt tíz napban.
A rendezvény célja, hogy a csillagos égbolt élményét közelebb hozza az emberekhez. Különösen fontosab ezek a kezdeményezések, hiszen lehetőséget teremt arra, hogy az érdeklődők választ kapjanak csillagászattal kapcsolatos kérdésekeikre.
A rendezvényen való részvétel minden évben ingyenes, de előzetes bejelentkezés szükséges!
Balaton Summer School 2022 Space Science and Technology, Révfülöp, Hungary
Róbert Erdélyi, Marianna Korsós and Szabolcs Soós participated in the summer school organized by the Association of Hungarian Physics Students.
Megérkezett az a naptávcső a gyulai víztorony tetején kialakított Bay Zoltán Napfizikai Obszervatóriumba, amellyel a napkitöréseket figyelik majd a szakemberek. A város ezzel egy nemzetközi hálózat fontos tagjává, egyben központjává vált.
Felkerült a teleszkóp a csillagvizsgálóba (Fotók: Bencsik Ádám).
Történelmi pillanathoz érkeztünk. A projekttel Gyula felkerült az űrkutatás világtérképére – nyilatkozta hírportálunknak az obszervatóriumban, a víztorony tetején Alt Norbert. Gyula alpolgármestere elmondta, véleménye szerint a következő években mind a tudományos, mind a hétköznapi életben nagyon sokat fognak hallani a gyulai Bay Zoltán Napfizikai Obszervatóriumról.
Erdélyi Róbert professzor, a Magyar Napfizikai Alapítvány elnöke hozzátette, az önkormányzat és a szervezetük együttműködésével megvalósult beruházásnak köszönhetően Gyula része lett a napkitöréseket figyelő nemzetközi hálózatnak, amelynek már huszonkét tagja van a világban. Hasonló állomásokat alakítottak ki, illetve alakítanak ki a jövőben egyebek mellett Kínában, Grúziában, Szlovákiában, Horvátországban, Ausztriában, Kolumbiában, az Egyesült Államokban, Dél-Afrikában, Indiában, Olaszországban és Oroszországban is.
Alt Norbert és Erdélyi Róbert (Fotók: Bencsik Ádám).
– Ennek a rendszernek ugyanakkor nem csak tagja, de központja is Gyula – tette hozzá a professzor, aki kitért arra, hogy a víztorony tetején felszerelt különleges robottávcső segítségével a Nap felszínét, illetve a felszíne feletti mágneses teret figyelik. A szintén Gyulán tartózkodó dr. Korsós Marianna által vezetett munkacsoport kidolgozott egy olyan módszert, amely az így rendelkezésre álló adatok segítségével, 12-18 órával a napkitörések előtt megjósolja a jelenség közeledtét. Ennek több szempontból is kiemelt jelentősége lesz a jövőben.
– Napkitörésekből számtalan volt a történelem során, de akkoriban az elektromosságra, az elektronikára épülő szerkezetek nem játszottak akkora szerepet. Napjainkban ugyanakkor ez a jelenség már tönkretenné a csippeket és az elektromos rendszereket – fogalmazott Erdélyi Róbert professzor. Emlékeztetett arra, hogy a legismertebb napkitörés az 1859-es Carrington-esemény volt. Ekkor tönkrement a távírórendszer, és a jelenség akkora sarki fényt generált, hogy az még a Földközi-tenger szélességén is látható volt. 1989-ben a kanadai Québec tartományban hatmillióan maradtak órákra áram nélkül egy kisebb napkitörés miatt.
– Ha a Carrington-eseményhez hasonló mértékű folyamat játszódna le, bizonyos részeken akár kettőtől tíz évig nem lenne áram, és a kár rossz esetben elérné 2,7 trilliárd dollárt – fogalmazott a professzor.
Elkerülhető a nagyobb baj
Erdélyi Róbert professzor elmondta, a Carrington- eseményhez hasonló napkitörés legutóbb 2014-ben fordul elő, de az elkerülte a Földet. Mint kiemelte, a már Gyulán is működő napfigyelő robottávcsővel észlelt adatokat interneten keresztül eljuttatják a különböző számítógépekhez, és az adatokat folyamatosan elemzik. Külön kiemelte, hogy a fejlesztésben nagy szerepet játszott az önkormányzattal való együttműködés.
– A napkitörések előrejelzésével elkerülhető a nagyobb baj, ehhez viszont az adott időszakban ki kell kapcsolni az elektronikus eszközöket. Ezt a döntést viszont csak felelősen, a legbiztosabb tudományos háttérrel lehet meghozni – hangsúlyozta. Megemlítette, hogy Angliában a nemzeti veszély regisztrációs listán a második helyen szerepelnek a napkitörések.
The solar physics observatory started its operation fifty years ago in Gyula (Gyula TV)
Fél évszázada működik az obszervatórium a gyulai víztorony tetején.
Napra pontosan ötven éve, 1972. május 16-án készítette el itt az első felvételeket a Napról az abban az évben tudományos kutatóvá kinevezett Márki-Zay Lajos. A távcsövet Debrecenből hozták Gyulára, és gyorsan be is üzemelték.
A történet előzményei 1969-re nyúltak vissza, amikor az ötlet már a helyi tanács támogatását is bírta, de a történet kulcsszereplője Dezső Lóránt, az MTA Napfizikai Obszervatóriuma igazgatója volt, az ő hozzájárulására volt ugyanis szükség ahhoz, hogy az obszervatóriumot létrehozhassák. Márki-Zay Lajos elmondta, a professzort sikerült meghívni egy gyulai tudományos előadásra, utána pedig egy rövid sétára indultak. Két hét múlva következett a professzor újabb látogatása, akkor a helyszínen látottak és az elkészült tervek meggyőzték őt arról, hogy érdemes itt, a 45 méter magas víztorony tetején napfizikai megfigyelő állomást létesíteni, mely ötven éve kezdte meg működését Gyulán.
Az idei évben teljes felújításon megyát az obszervatórium. Errőlkésőbb még hírt adunk.
Total Lunar Eclipse
The total phase of this Blood Moon total lunar eclipse will be visible from across North and South America, plus parts of Europe and Africa.
(Forrás: BBC Sky at Night Magazine).
The total lunar eclipse of 16 May kicks off with the penumbral eclipse at 02:32 BST (01:32 UT). This is a weak part of any lunar eclipse and difficult to detect. As the Moon moves deeper into the penumbra the shadow's depth increases, and you're likely to see this as a dark shading near the western limb.
Apokaliptikus napfizika – Magyar kutatók a napfizikai kutatások élvonalában (Természet Világa)
A Természet Világa folyóirat május számábanjelent meg Dr.Belucz Bernadett cikke a napfizika földi hatásairól
Elég csak az utóbbi évtizedek mozifilmjein végigtekintenünk, hogy számba vegyük hányféle módon képzelte már el az emberiség a világvégét. Napjaink kedvelt katasztrófafilmjei a természeti csapások széles skáláját mutatják be a vulkánkitöréstől a tűzvészeken és földrengéseken át a világűrből érkező meteoritokig. Ezeket látva mindenki megtalálhatja a számára leginkább valószínűsíthető forgatókönyvet az emberi civilizáció megsemmisülésére. De mi a helyzet valójában?
Prof. Emeritus Eugene N. Parker, a pioneering astrophysicist whose contributions to solar physics were so enormous that NASA named its Parker Solar Probe mission after him, died March 15. He was 94.
Eugene Parker, University of Chicago Prof. Emeritus of Astronomy and Astrophysics, is remembered for seminal contributions to the understanding of our sun and solar system.(Forrás: Photo by John Zich/University of Chicago).
Parker was internationally known for proposing the concept of the solar wind—an idea that was first met with skepticism to outright ridicule. The theory was later proven to be correct, reshaping our picture of space and the solar system. Parker went on to revolutionize the field of astrophysics, unraveling the complex physics behind magnetic fields in space and the dynamics of plasma.
In August 2018, at the age of 91, he became the first person to witness the launch of their namesake spacecraft.
That same year, Parker was asked about the advice he would give to early-career scientists.
“I have never made a significant proposal but what there was a crowd who said, ‘Ain’t so, can’t possibly be,’” Parker responded. “If you do something new or innovative, expect trouble. But think critically about it because if you’re wrong, you want to be the first one to know that.”
“I don’t think it is in any way an overstatement to say that the field of heliophysics exists today largely because of the work of Dr. Eugene Parker,” said Nicky Fox, director of NASA’s Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington and a friend of Parker’s. “Even though Dr. Parker is no longer with us, his discoveries and legacy will live forever.”
From alligator mating calls to heavenly dance of the Sun
Scientists discover unprecedented parallels and explain these wonders of our nature.
Jet-like behaviour is extremely common in nature. One of the most visually appealing examples occurs during the mating display of the male alligator, when the alligator submerges its neck just below the water-line and bellows at bass frequencies, causing jets of water to dance in a beautiful display on the lake surface. The physical mechanism responsible for this effect is known as Faraday excitation and was first demonstrated in a shallow fluid with an elastic membrane by English physicist, Michael Faraday in 1831. Far away on the Sun’s surface, a similar display of jet-like behaviour is ubiquitously observed in the super-hot plasma, also called the fourth state of matter, in the form of ‘spicules’. However, unlike with the jets caused by the amorous male alligator, solar spicules are yet to be fully explained.
To make progress towards fully understanding solar spicules, a team of researchers from Hungary, India and UK, including Prof Robertus Erdélyi and Dr Marianna B Korsós (Dept. of Astronomy, Eötvös University and also at Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation, Gyula, Hungary, http://hspf.eu) have found an intriguing connection between fluid solutions vibrating on a speaker displaced horizontally and the forest of vertically elongated plasma jets known as spicules on the Sun’s surface. Father Secchi originally discovered spicules in 1872. However, they remain one of those miscellaneous objects in modern plasma-astrophysics.
The group, led by Dr. Piyali Chatterjee, from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru, proposed a very simple mechanism to understand the formation, as well as abundance, of spicules. Essentially, the ubiquitous and well understood convection in the lower solar atmosphere - analogous to boiling water in a hot pan - serves almost periodic but strong kicks to the plasma in the solar chromosphere, the shallow layer just above the visible solar surface. The material in the chromosphere is 500 times lighter than the photosphere, meaning these strong kicks from the bottom shoot the chromospheric specular plasma outward in the form of elongated jets, between 300-1000 km wide and 5000-30000 km tall. In the observed solar atmosphere, spicules come in all sorts of different heights and speeds, with this complexity being one of the main obstacles to understanding their formation. Now, the work of this international team has shown for the first time that solar convection can, by itself, drive all kinds of different jets.
Prof Erdelyi said: “We have worked as a team, and enjoyed learning a lot from our early career scientists, Mr Sahel Dey a PhD student, and post-doctoral researchers Dr Marianna B. Korsós, Jiajia Liu, and Chris Nelson who all made very important contributions. The Indian team, lead by Dr Piyali Chatterjee and including Dr Murthy, with their unique insight into polymer fluid physics has made a truly fundamental discovery.” “The common mechanism known as non-linear wave breaking is also manifested in other areas like rogue waves in oceanography, spiral arms of galaxies, fibre optics, etc.”
Dr Marianna Brigitta Korsós, also a Post-Doctoral Research Assistant in the Solar System Physics Group at the Department of Physics at Aberystwyth University said: “This research was about finding direct evidence for how about 3 million spicules are present on the Sun at any given time. I am very proud to be part of this collaboration as a young female researcher at Aberystwyth University and I have learnt that how two different research fields jointly can find simple explanation for a long-standing science problem. Now, I strongly believe that different research fields should do joint projects because they can learn from each others and make leap forwards in the science. ”
This work is extremely important in the field. Due to the high frequency of spicules - about 3 million are present at any one time in the solar atmosphere - it is thought that these events could play a key role in carrying the mass and energy required to account for key open problems in solar physics, including sustaining the solar wind and heating the solar corona to millions of degrees K.
The researchers have published their findings in the journal Nature Physics. The team from Hungary contributed with expertise on data analysis from observations taken by the IRIS spacecraft and used advanced processing techniques when analysing the data.
Attláné Erdei (Julika) became the best accountant in Békés county!
Congratulations to Attláné Erdei (Julika) for the honorary title! We wish you much more success and good work! At the same time, thank you for the immeasurable amount of help you have contributed to the success of the Solar Physics Foundation!
"Polymeric jets throw light on the origin and nature of the forest of solar spicules" has been published online in Nature Physics
Jet-like behaviour is extremely common in nature. One of the most visually appealing examples occurs during the mating display of the male alligator, when the alligator submerges its neck just below the water-line and bellows at bass frequencies, causing jets of water to dance in a beautiful display on the lake surface. The physical mechanism responsible for this effect is known as Faraday excitation and was first demonstrated in a shallow fluid with an elastic membrane by English physicist, Michael Faraday in 1831. Far away on the Sun’s surface, a similar display of jet-like behaviour is ubiquitously observed in the super-hot plasma, also called the fourth state of matter, in the form of ‘spicules’. However, unlike with the jets caused by the amorous male alligator, spicules are yet to be fully explained.
To make progress towards fully understanding solar spicules, a team of researchers from Hungary, India and UK, including Prof Robertus Erdélyi and Dr Marianna B Korsós (Dept. of Astronomy, Eötvös University and also at Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation, Gyula, Hungary, http://hspf.eu) have found an intriguing connection between fluid solutions vibrating on a speaker displaced horizontally and the forest of vertically elongated plasma jets known as spicules on the Sun’s surface. Father Secchi originally discovered spicules in 1872. However, they remain one of those miscellaneous objects in modern plasma-astrophysics.
The first author of the paper, Mr. Sahel Dey, is a final year PhD student at Indian Institute of Astrophysics and IISc, Bengaluru. The team was led by Indian researchers, Dr Piyali Chatterjee on solar plasma simulations and Dr Murthy O. V. S. N. from Azim Premji University on the laboratory experiments. The team from Hungary and the UK worked on data analysis from observations taken by the IRIS spacecraft and contributed advanced processing techniques included Drs Jiajia Liu and Chris Nelson from the Queen’s University Belfast.
The ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft has captured the largest solar prominence eruption ever observed in a single image together with the full solar disc.
(Forrás: Solar Ham).
Solar prominences are large structures of tangled magnetic field lines that keep dense concentrations of solar plasma suspended above the Sun’s surface, sometimes taking the form of arching loops. They are often associated with coronal mass ejections, which if directed towards Earth, can wreak havoc with our technology and everyday lives.
This latest event took place on 15 February and extended millions of kilometres into space. The coronal mass ejection was not directed at Earth. In fact, it is travelling away from us. There is no signature of the eruption on the solar disc facing the spacecraft – which is currently approaching the Earth-Sun line – meaning that it must have originated from the side of the Sun facing away from us.
The imagery was captured by the ‘Full Sun Imager’ (FSI) of the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) on Solar Orbiter. FSI is designed to look at the full solar disc even during close passages of the Sun, such as during the upcoming perihelion passage next month. At closest approach on 26 March, which will see the spacecraft pass within about 0.3 times the Sun-Earth distance, the Sun will fill a much larger portion of the telescope’s field of view. Right now, there is still a lot of ‘viewing margin’ around the disc, enabling stunning detail to be captured by FSI out to about 3.5 million kilometres, equivalent to five times the radius of the Sun.
Solar Orbiter and SOHO’s view of a giant eruption - side by side
Other space telescopes such as the ESA/NASA SOHO satellite frequently see solar activity like this, but either closer to the Sun, or further out by means of an occulter, which blocks out the glare of the Sun’s disc to enable detailed imagery of the corona itself. Thus, the prominence observed by Solar Orbiter is the largest ever event of its kind to be captured in a single field of view together with the solar disc, opening up new possibilities to see how events like these connect to the solar disc for the first time. At the same time, SOHO can provide complementary views to even larger distances.
Solar Orbiter and SOHO’s view of a giant eruption – wide view
Other space missions were also watching the event, including NASA’s Parker Solar Probe. Next week, Solar Orbiter and Parker Solar Probe will perform dedicated joint observations during Parker’s perihelion passage.
Even spacecraft not dedicated to solar science felt its blast – the ESA/JAXA BepiColombo mission, currently in the vicinity of Mercury’s orbit – detected a massive increase in the readings for electrons, protons, and heavy ions with its radiation monitor.
And while this event did not send a blast of deadly particles towards Earth, it is an important reminder of the unpredictable nature of the Sun and the importance of understanding and monitoring its behaviour. Together with ESA’s future dedicated space weather mission Vigil, which will provide unique views of events like these, we can better protect our home planet from the Sun’s violent outbursts.
SpaceX says a geomagnetic storm just doomed 40 Starlink internet satellites (space.com)
The satellites launched on Feb. 3, only to be hit by the storm a day later.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches 49 Starlink internet satellites into orbit from Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Feb. 3, 2022. (Image credit: SpaceX).
SpaceX is in the process of losing up to 40 brand-new Starlink internet satellites due to a geomagnetic storm that struck just a day after the fleet's launch last week.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 49 Starlink satellites on Thursday (Feb. 3) from NASA's historic Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A day later, a geomagnetic storm above Earth increased the density of the atmosphere slightly, increasing drag on the satellites and dooming most of them.
"Preliminary analysis show the increased drag at the low altitudes prevented the satellites from leaving safe mode to begin orbit-raising maneuvers, and up to 40 of the satellites will reenter or already have reentered the Earth’s atmosphere," SpaceX wrote in an update Tuesday (Feb. 8).
Geomagnetic storms occur when intense solar wind near Earth spawns shifting currents and plasmas in Earth's magnetosphere, according to the Space Weather Prediction Center , which is operated by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This interaction can warm Earth's upper atmosphere and increase atmospheric density high enough above the planet to affect satellites in low orbits like SpaceX's new Starlink craft. Friday's geomagnetic storm came on the heels of a sun eruption on Jan. 30 that sent a wave of charged particles toward Earth that was expected to arrive on Feb. 2.
The 49 satellites SpaceX launched last week were deployed in an initial orbit that skimmed as low as 130 miles (210 kilometers) above Earth at its lowest point. SpaceX has said it intentionally releases Starlink batches in a low orbit so that they can be disposed of swiftly in case of a failure just after launch. That orbit design, it turned out, left the fleet vulnerable to Friday's geomagnetic storm.
"In fact, onboard GPS suggests the escalation speed and severity of the storm caused atmospheric drag to increase up to 50 percent higher than during previous launches," SpaceX wrote in its update. The satellites were then placed in a protective "safe mode" and commanded to fly edge-on "like a sheet of paper" to minimize drag effects as the company worked with the U.S. Space Force and the company LeoLabs to track them with ground-based radar, it added.
This still from a SpaceX launch video shows the 49 Starlink internet satellites stacked in launch position as they are carried into orbit on their Falcon 9 rocket on Feb. 3, 2022.(Image credit: SpaceX).
But for most of the new Starlink satellites, the drag was too much. Locked in their safe mode, up to 40 of them were expected to fall out of orbit like space debris just days after their launch.
"The deorbiting satellites pose zero collision risk with other satellites and by design demise upon atmospheric reentry — meaning no orbital debris is created and no satellite parts hit the ground," SpaceX wrote of the satellites' reentry. "This unique situation demonstrates the great lengths the Starlink team has gone to ensure the system is on the leading edge of on-orbit debris mitigation."
SpaceX's Starlink launch last week, called the Starlink 4-7 mission, was the company's third Starlink flight of 2022. The 49 satellites aboard were expected to join more than 1,800 other Starlink satellites currently in orbit. The mission was SpaceX's third launch in four days, following the launch of an Italian Earth-observation satellite on Jan. 31 and another for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office on Feb. 2.
The Starlink project has come under criticism by astronomers due to the megaconstellation's impact on astronomical observations, since the high number of satellites crossing the night sky can leave streaks in telescope views. Since then, SpaceX has worked to limit the visibility of their Starlink satellites to reduce their impact on the astronomy community.
Lecture on solar physics at the Erkel Ferenc High School in Gyula
Robertus Erdélyi and Szabolcs Soós gave a lecture to the students of Gyulai Erkel Ferenc High School in the first month of the new year.
A Nap koronájának rendkívül magas hőmérsékletét az alacsony részecskesűrűségű közeg nem közvetíti hatékonyan, többek között ez biztosítja a szonda túlélését. A Parker szonda működéséről, a napfizikai kutatásokkal és űridőjárással kapcsolatos jelentőségéről és egy lehetséges űrvihar hatásairól Erdélyi Róbert csillagásszal, a Magyar Napfizikai Alapítvány kuratóriumának elnökével beszélgettünk.
Minden eddiginél közelebb a Naphoz
Ahogy arról korábban beszámoltunk, a NASA Parker szondája (Parker Solar Probe) áprilisban minden eddiginél közelebb repült a Naphoz, és a mérések szerint sikerült átlépnie az Alfvén-felületnek nevezett határt, ahol már a mágneses erők határozzák meg a részecskék dinamikáját, vagy, ahogy a NASA közleményében is írják, itt ér véget a Nap légköre és kezdődik a napszél birodalma.
Ebben a kontextusban a légkör megfogalmazás némileg pontatlan, mivel, ahogy azt Erdélyi Róbert, a Sheffieldi Egyetem Napfizikai és Űrplazma Kutatóközpontjának vezetője, a Magyar Napfizikai Alapítvány kuratóriumának elnöke és az ELTE csillagászati professzora kérdésünkre elmondta, a Nap légköre valójában nem a korona határáig tart, maga a Föld is a Nap atmoszférájában kering, bár ahogy közelítünk a Naphoz a hőmérséklet természetesen egyre növekszik.
A Parker szonda nyolcadik repülése során elért, a Nap felszínétől (ami szintén nem egy jól körülhatárolható, szilárd felszínt jelent) 13 millió kilométeres távolságban lévő és a kilencedik repüléskor megközelített 10,5 millió kilométeres határ viszont így is a Naphoz legközelebb eső régió, amelyet valaha elért egy űreszköz, ezen a területen pedig rendkívül magas, akár több millió Celsius-fokos hőmérséklet uralkodik. Joggal merül fel a kérdés, hogy vajon hogyan képes egy szonda működőképes maradni ilyen extrém körülmények között, vagyis miért nem olvad el a Parker napszonda?
A magyarázatot egyrészt a szonda hőpajzsa adja meg, amelyről még szót ejtünk később, másrészt a hőátadás folyamatának működése, amely az űrbeli körülmények között, a részecskék nagyon alacsony sűrűsége miatt nem olyan hatékony, mint itt, a Földön.
Valójában mit jelent az, hogy valami több millió Celsius-fokos?
Ha veszek egy vasat és felforrósítom nagyon nagy hőmérsékletre, fájna, ha megérintenénk. Ha viszont valamilyen gázt melegítek magas hőmérsékletre, és a gáz elég ritka, akkor azzal egy pohár teát sem lehetne felmelegíteni" - magyarázta Erdélyi Róbert. "Ez a helyzet a Nap légkörében is. Ha közel megyünk a Naphoz, ott hiába több millió fokos a hőmérséklet, olyan kicsi a sűrűsége a légkörnek, hogy hőkapacitása nem nagyon van."
Ennek ellenére ez a környezet is alkalmas arra, hogy az űreszközt felmelegítse vagy akár kárt is okozzon benne, mivel a csillagból kiáramló rendkívüli sebességgel haladó részecskék, amelyeknek egyenként nagyon nagy az individuális energiája, a szondát elérve interakcióba lépnek annak atomjaival és tönkre is tehetik. Ennek a napszélnek elnevezett folyamatnak az elméletét egyébként a szonda névadója, Eugen Newman Parker asztrofizikus dolgozta ki az ötvenes években, miután kiszámította, hogy csak úgy lehet a Nap felszíne stabil, ha folyamatosan áramlik ki belőle az anyag.
A szonda speciális védelme
Ez ellen véd a szonda hőpajzsa, amely így csak ezer Celsius-fok közeli hőmérsékletet kell, hogy kibírjon, és, bár még ez is magasnak számít, de léteznek olyan anyagok, amelyek kellően strapabíróak és alkalmasak a feladatra. A 2,4 méter átmérőjű, 115 milliméter vastag hőpajzs (Thermal Protection System, TPS), amelyet a Johns Hopkins APL tervezett meg, két széntartalmú réteg között elhelyezett szén-kompozit habból áll, kívülről, a Nap felőli oldalán pedig fehér kerámia bevonat védi a napsugaraktól. A tesztek során az árnyékoló 1650 Celsius-fokos hőmérsékletnek is ellenállt, így kellő védelmet nyújt az alatta található eszközök számára.
A szonda egyetlen berendezése, amelyet nem takar le az árnyékoló, az a Faraday-pohár, amely az ionok és elektronok áramlását detektálja: ezt az eszközt viszont olyan magas olvadáspontú anyagokból készítették, amelyek akár 2000-3000 Celsius-fokos hőmérsékletet is elviselnek. Az érzékelő titán-cirkónium-molibdén ötvözetből készült, 2349 Celsius-fokos olvadásponttal, az elektromos kábelek pedig nióbiumból állnak, amelyeket zafírkristály nanocsövek takarnak. Ezenfelül a napelemes paneleket, amelyek a Nap közelében automatikusan behúzódnak az árnyékoló mögé, egy ioncserélt vízzel működő hűtőrendszer is hidegen tartja.
A Parker szonda áprilisi, nyolcadik repülésének nagy horderejét az adja, hogy most először sikerült elérni az Alfvén-felületet egy űreszközzel, de mi az esemény gyakorlati jelentősége, hogyan járulnak hozzá a Nap közvetlen közelében végzett megfigyelések a tudományos kutatásokhoz?
Az asztrofizika megoldatlan rejtélye
Erdélyi Róbert, aki nemzetközi kutatócsapatával a Nap fotoszférája és koronája közötti hőmérsékleti különbségek eredetét kutatja és két évvel ezelőtt áttörést ért el a plazmahullám-pulzusok észlelésével kapcsolatban, elmondta: a Parker műhold az eddiginél jóval több információt gyűjthet a mágneses térről és arról, hogy az milyen szerepet játszik a Nap légkörének melegítésében.
"A Nap felszíne "csak" öt-hat ezer Celsius-fokos, de ha bemegyünk a belsejébe, ott egyre melegebb lesz a fúziónak köszönhetően. Azonban a felszíntől távolodva is egyre növekszik a hőmérséklet, ami már kevésbé érthető jelenség." - mondta a professzor - "Úgy kell elképzelni, mintha otthon a forró radiátortól vagy kályhától távolodva egyre melegebbet érzékelnénk: ez látszólag ellentmond a termodinamika törvényeinek, de mégis ehhez hasonló folyamat zajlik a Nap felszínén. Az öt-hatezer Celsius-fok a felszíntől távolodva növekszik, bizonyos régiókban akár a harmincmillió fokos hőmérsékletet is elérheti. Ez a jelenség alapvető kérdése és megoldatlan rejtélye az asztrofizikának, aki ezt megoldja, az nagyon nagy lépést tesz a tudomány területén."
A felfedezésnek nem csak az asztrofizikában, hanem a gyakorlati életben, az energiaellátás megreformálásában is nagy jelentősége lehet, mivel a földi mini-csillagok, vagyis a fúziós reaktorok is a Napban megfigyelhető folyamatok alapján működnek. "A fúziós reaktorokban hidrogénizotóp atomok ütköznének össze, fuzionálnának és héliumatomok keletkeznének belőlük, eközben pedig energia szabadulna fel, mivel a héliumatomok tömege kevesebb, mint az eredeti hidrogénatomok tömege és ez a tömegkülönbözet átalakul energiává." - mondta Erdélyi. A fúziós módszerrel tiszta energia állítható elő erősen környezetkímélő módon, a folyamat közben ugyanis nem keletkeznek káros anyagok, amelyek a környezetet szennyezik, ellentétben a fosszilis üzemanyagokat felhasználó energiatermelési módokkal. Körülbelül száz gramm csapvízből és két és fél gramm lítiumból egy európai háztartás teljes generációjának energiaigényét el lehetne látni a fúziós technológiával.
Ha tudnánk, hogy a csillagok pontosan hogyan fűtik fel a légköreiket ilyen hatalmas hőmérsékletekre, ahol a fúziót be lehet indítani, elleshetnénk tőlük a módszert és átültethetnénk a gyakorlati életbe - tette hozzá a professzor.
A csillagász a Magyar Napfizikai Alapítvány kuratóriumának elnökeként az űridőjárás megfigyelésében is érdekelt, mivel a gyulai önkormányzat segítségével felépített és az alapítvány által működtetett Gyulai Bay Zoltán Napfizikai Obszervatóriumban, amely jelenleg Magyarország egyetlen napfizikai obszervatóriuma, többek között a napkitöréseket monitorozzák, hogy a földi elektromos rendszerekre veszélyes geomágneses viharok megjelenését minél hamarabb észlelhessék. Míg az 1859. szeptember 1-jén bekövetkező Carrington-esemény, amelyet az egyik, feljegyzésekkel is alátámasztott legnagyobb geomágneses viharként tartanak számon, csak néhány távírókészüléket (és kezelőiket) tette tönkre, addig a mai, mindent elektromos rendszerekkel behálózó világban sokkal komolyabb károk keletkezhetnének egy hasonló intenzitású esemény alkalmával. Az obszervatórium műszereinek segítségével azt próbálják megjósolni, hogy a következő hat-nyolc-tíz órában lehet-e számítani űrvihar kialakulására.
"Az űrviharok hatása a mai, technológiára épülő, földi civilizációra nézve nagyon nagy, ugyanis az űrvihar mikroáramokat gerjeszt, ezek a mikroáramok pedig kárt okoznak a chipekben, így a repülőktől kezdve a bankrendszerekig minden, ami chipekkel működik, gyakorlatilag tönkremehet." - mondta a professzor - "Eddig szerencsénk volt, hogy egy nagyobb űrvihar nem találta el a Földet az utóbbi időkben, de ha a Carrington-fler ma alakulna ki, akkor a becslések szerint akár kettőtől tíz évig nem lenne áram a Földnek azon régiójában, ahol magasan fejlett technikai infrastruktúrára épülő berendezkedés van."
Ezért próbálják meg előrejelezni az űrviharok megjelenését a földi obszervatóriumok megfigyelései által, és ebben segíthet a Parker szonda is, mivel az általa közvetített információk közelebb viszik a kutatókat a koronaanyag-kidobódások kialakulásának megértéséhez. Magyarországon jelenleg hiányzik a jól kiépített protokoll, amelyet egy napkitörés negatív hatásainak elkerülésére életbe lehetne léptetni, miután befut a figyelmeztetés a közelgő veszélyről, így a gyulai obszervatórium ilyen jellegű adatait egyelőre leginkább csak a Napfizikai Alapítvány munkatársai tudják hasznosítani, például ilyen esetekben kikapcsolják az elektromos eszközeiket. A értesítési rendszer kiépítésére nagy szükség lenne: Erdélyi Róbert elmondása szerint ha a Covid okozta károk és rizikófaktor egy skálán egy nagyságrendű besorolást kapnának, akkor az űrvihar által jelentett veszély nyolcvan nagyságrendű lenne. A jövőben, remélve, hogy a protokoll előbb-utóbb megszületik, még nagyobb jelentőséget kaphat az űridőjárás minél pontosabb monitorozása, és ebben is szerepet játszhat a Parker szonda tevékenysége.
A Parker szonda felfedezéseiről az elkövetkező időkben sokat hallhatunk még, mivel küldetése előreláthatólag egészen 2025-ig tart majd, a legutolsó repülése alkalmával nagyjából 6 millió kilométerre közelíti meg a Nap felszínét a tervek szerint. Az űridőjárással kapcsolatos megfigyelésekről pedig a Magyar Napfizikai Alapítvány által rendszeres megrendezett tudományos ismeretterjesztő előadásokon is szerezhetünk bővebb ismereteket, a rendezvények során a résztvevők távcsövekkel figyelhetik a Napot és a napfizikai kutatások rejtelmeibe is betekintést kaphatnak az érdeklődők.
(Fotó: Andrew Wang, NNASA/CXC/INAF/Argiroffi, C. et al./S. Wiessinger, ESA/Science Office, NASA)
We wish you a merry Christmas and a successful new year!
EAST calendar 2022
Dear EST fans! The new EST calendar is out!
1.000 promotional calendars about EST have been designed and produced. The calendar of this year tries to honour the research institutes participating in the EST.
You can download it from our website: here. You can upload the calendar to your own community interface, tag it, and use the hashtag # ESTCalendar2022.
Planetáriumok és bemutató csillagvizsgálók Workshop
2021. november 21-22-én tartották a Planetáriumok és bemutató csillagvizsgálók szerepe az oktatósban X. workshopot a Zselicben, Pécsen. Rendkívül sokszínű és tartalmas előadásokat és beszámolókat hallhattunk. Az Alapítványtól Belucz Bernadett, Soós Szabolcs és Asztalos Balázs vett részt.
Tizedik alkalommal szervezte meg a Zsolnay Kulturális Negyed Planetáriuma és a MTA PAB Csillagászati és Űrkutatási Munkabizottsága a "Planetáriumok és bemutató csillagvizsgálók szerepe az oktatósban Workshopot". A workshop célja lehetőséget adni az érintett egyesületeknek, szervezeteknek, vállalkozásoknak és személyeknek, hogy bemutathassák planetáriumuk, illetve bemutató csillagvizsgálójuk oktatási eszközeit, módszereit.
A találkozó első napján Forgács Balázs, az Utazó Planetáriumtól tartott egy rendkívül hasznos és sokrétű előadást a "Hatékony online média használat és a marketing tervezés alapjai." címmel, majd ezt követően az Utazó Planetárium 7m-es kupolájában tekinthettek meg a résztvevők néhány új filmet. Aworkshop második napján hallhattuk a különböző planetáriumok és obszervatóriumok beszámolóit, milyen programokat tartottakaz évben, milyen fejlesztéseket terveznek, mit terveznek a jővő évben. Mizser Attila beszélt az idén 75 éves Magyar Csillagászati Egyesületről, korabeli érdekességeket és képeket is bemutatott. A Kecskeméti Planetáriumtól, Szűcs László a planetárium oktatásban beltöltött szerepéről és a kisgyermekeknek szánt élő előadásokhoz használt ötleteikről beszélt. José Jiménez Garrido az Astroandalustól szintén a planetáriumukról beszélt. Csizmadia Szilárd a Vega Csillagászati Egyesülettől az ismeretterjesztés és amatőrcsillagászat a 21. század online világában betöltött szerepéről beszélt. A szünet után Hegedüs Tibor a SZTE Bajai Obszervatóriumtól a bajai "Csillagleső" planetáriumról beszélt, majd Belucz Bernadett az Alapitványtól a céljainkról eszközeinkről, módszereinkről. Gyarmathy István egy rendkívül érdekes előadást tartott a hortobágyi emberek csillagmitológiáiról és csillagvilágáról. Kovács Gergő, a debreceni Agórától egy, a szupernóvákról szóló saját fejlesztésű Nightshade skriptet mutatott be nekünk. Bemutatkozott a Bükki Csillagda. Megismerhettünk egy egészen egyedülálló oktatási segédanyagot is, amit a Pécsi Tudományegyetem gondozásában jelent meg. A Star Wars-filmekben látható bolygók és helyszínek adnak hátteret a hagyományos földrajz oktatás témaköreihez és az ismert közegben, újszerű cselekményeken keresztül a főhős egy missziót teljesít és ezen keresztül mutat be olyan természeti, társadalmi és gazdaságföldrajzi folyamatokat, amelyek tanulása, feldolgozása a hagyományos keretek között nehézségeket okozhat. Forgács Balázs beszélt a planetáriumok számára elérhető műsorokról és számos más planetárium és obszervatórium beszámolóját is meghallgathattunk milyen rendkívül színes és ötletes megoldásokkal igyekeznek azadott település fiataljaihoz közelhozni a csillagászat tudományát.
Bízunk benne, hogy a 2022-es évben is részt tudunk venni a rendezvényen, nagyszerű élmény volt! Köszönjük a szervezőknek és a Zsolnay Kulturális Negyed Planetáriumának!
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EST contest registration closing soon
The deadline for registering to the EST school contest “The Sun at a glance” is approaching fast. We will close the registration form on Friday November 12th.
We are very happy with the results. So far, 2114 students from 15 different countries have signed up for the contest. EST will be present in 189 secondary schools all over Europe, involving more than 215 teachers. See the attached image. This should be regarded as a great success!
The participant statistics, broken down by countries and schools, are available on the EST website
There, the names of all the students are listed as well.
HUGE SUCCESS! 10 HUNGARIAN SCHOOL 14 TEAMS STARTED THE COMPETITION! Budapest (Veres Pálné Gimnázium), Debrecen (Debreceni Egyetem Kossuth Lajos Gyakorló Gimnáziuma és Általános Iskolája, Debreceni Csokonai-Vitéz Mihály Gimnázium), Gyula (Gyulai Erkel Ferenc Gimnázium és Kollégium), Hódmezővásárhely (Németh László Gimnázium), Kecskemét (Kecskeméti Református Gimnázium), Kiskunfélegyháza (Kiskunfélegyházi Szent Benedek Középiskola 4 csapata!), Mátészalka (Mátészalkai Esze Tamás Gimnázium), Oroszlány (Hamvas Béla Gimnázium 2 csapata!), Sárbogárd (Sárbogárdi Petőfi Sándor Gimnázium). Good luck!
SWATNet School 1: Introduction to Space Weather
Dr Marianna Korsos, Noémi Zsámberger and Dr Bernadett Belucz have participated at summer school.
This summer school will introduce key concepts of space weather and relevant domains from Sun to Earth, space weather effects, as well as principles of forecasting.
The school will take place November 8 - 12, 2021 and is organized fully online. It consists of lecturers, homework (both pre-assignments and during the school) and group work.
Themes of the school relate to SWATNet main topics, Solar, Heliospheric (Helio) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Schedule (times are CET):
Nem az a kérdés, hogy eljön-e az elektromos világ vége, hanem az, hogy mikor (forrás: Index)
Éltető csillagunk, a Nap egyben a modern civilizáció végét is jelentheti. Természetéből adódóan űrviharokat generál, amik kiüthetik az elektromos hálózatokat bolygókon. De mi ez, és miért veszélyes? Erdélyi Róbert csillagász magyarázza el.
A Nap tizenegy éves ciklusokban változik, a ciklus első három-négy évében a csillag felszínén napfoltok jelennek meg, amik heves napkitöréseket bocsátanak ki. A napkitörések, melyek egyben a Naprendszer legnagyobb energiájú robbanásai, heves plazmarobbanások a csillag fotoszférája fölött – ennek látható kísérői a flerek, a hirtelen erős kifényesedések a Nap felszínén –, és egy-egy ilyen reakció során több milliárd tonnányi anyag hagyhatja el a Napot, ha instabil a napkitörés környéki mágneses tér a csillagon. Ilyenkor a napkorona egy darabja kilökődik az űrbe, innen a jelenség neve is: koronakidobódás, röviden CME a jelenség angol nevének megfelelőjéből (Coronal Mass Ejection). A napkitörések által a bolygóközi térben útjára indított részecskéket a Föld mágneses mezeje többnyire eltéríti, így igazi veszélyt nem jelentenek a bolygónkra. A koronakidobódással kísért napkitörés során azonban a Napból leváló, másodpercenként akár több ezer kilométeres sebességgel haladó plazmafelhő, benne a töltött részecskékkel, mágneses felhővé átalakulva teszi meg útját az űrben. Ezt nevezik napviharnak, ami már potenciális veszélyforrás a földi létre.
Miért lehet veszélyes egy napvihar?
Az, hogy civilizációnkra veszélyt jelenthet egy napvihar, összefügg azzal, hogy társadalmunk rendkívüli mértékben függ az elektromosságtól és az arra épülő elektromos hálózatoktól. Ezek lehetnek globális magasfeszültségű hálózatok vagy akár egy háztartási kenyérpirítót vezérlő chip.
A CME-ket rádiókitörések kísérik, amik zavarhatják a földi rádiós kommunikációt, a radarokat és az elektromos hálózatokat. 1967-ben például majdnem atomháború lett belőle, mert az amerikai légierő azt hitte, a szovjetek zavarják a radarjaikat, miközben egy koronaanyag-kidobódást kísérő rádióhullám volt az igazi felelős. A nukleáris pusztítást az űridőjárás-előrejelző csoportnak sikerült megakadályoznia a katonai vezetésnek még időben leadott szakvéleménnyel.
Ha a Föld a Napból kiszakadó plazma útjába kerül, melynek mágneses polaritása ellentétes a Föld magnetoszférájának mágneses terével, olyan erős geomágneses vihar keletkezhet, ami megzavarhatja, rosszabb esetben teljesen tönkreteheti a navigációt; a mágneses tér ingadozása és a magnetoszférán átjutó részecskék jelenléte pedig kóboráramot indukálhat, ezzel túlterhelve és tönkretéve az elektromos hálózatokat és berendezéseket. Azonos polaritás esetén valamivel gyengébb viharra lehet számítani, mely maximum sarki fény képében jelenik meg. Főként a magasabban fekvő területek vannak kitéve veszélynek egy erős geomágneses vihar esetén, például Kanadában 1989-ben Québec tartomány hatmilliós lakossága maradt fél napra áram nélkül egy napkitörés miatt. Talán a legismertebb geomágneses vihar az 1859-es Carrington-esemény volt. A Napon ekkor több olyan intenzitású fler és koronakidobódás is történt, hogy a töltött részecskék 3-4 nap helyett 18 óra alatt elérték a Földet, tönkretéve a távírórendszert, és akkora sarki fényt generálva, hogy az még a Földközi-tenger szélességén is látható volt.
Az előbbi hatások miatt az is veszélybe kerül, aki nem a Földön (és azon belül a földön) van. A Napból érkező lökéshullám által felgyorsított részecskék károsíthatják a repülőgépeket, az űreszközöket, illetve kockázatot jelentenek ezek személyzetére is. Idén az Index is írt róla, hogy a Nap jelenleg is tartó, 2019-ben kezdődött 25. ciklusa akár veszélybe sodorhatja a NASA Holdra visszatérő Artemis-programját. Az űrben egy napvihar még nagyobb veszélyt jelent, hisz például a Holdon dolgozó asztronautákat vagy a bolygóközi térben repülő űrhajót és legénységét már nem védi a Föld magnetoszférája.
Erdélyi Róbert, a Sheffieldi Egyetem Napfizikai és Űrplazma Kutatóközpontjának vezetője, az ELTE Csillagászati Tanszékének professzora és a Magyar Napfizikai Alapítvány egyik alapítója segít megérteni, kell-e félni a Naptól
Gyuláról szólnának, ha jön a vihar
Egy napkitörés okozta világvége az egyik a tökéletes bizonyossággal bekövetkező armageddonszcenáriók közül. A napviharok százszázalékos pontossággal kiszámíthatatlan természete miatt éppen ezért rendkívül fontos a globális és lokális rendszerszintű felkészülés, felkészítés. Ennek elősegítésében az űridőjárás megfigyelése kiemelt jelentőségű lehet, például a SAMNet-rendszerrel, aminek része a Magyar Napfizikai Alapítvány által üzemeltetett gyulai Bay Zoltán Napfizikai Obszervatórium is. A megfigyelőállomás jelenleg felújítás alatt áll, az épületet idén novemberben adják át, ha pedig bekerül a jelenleg az Egyesült Királyságban található, nemzetközi kooperációban kifejlesztett és megépített robotnaptávcső is, ez lesz a legfejlettebb megfigyelőállomás a rendszerben.
A SAMNet (Solar Activity Monitor Network, vagyis Mágneses Napaktivitás-megfigyelő Hálózat) alapító obszervatóriumában, Gyulán saját fejlesztésű, a mágneses tér mérésére alkalmas műszerekkel vizsgálják a Nap alsóbb légkörét – a fotoszféra és a kromoszféra között –, ahol azok a nagy energiájú flerek és koronakilövellések keletkeznek, melyek komoly zavarokat okozhatnak a földi életben. A Gyulán végzett munka fő célja a flerek és a napkitörések pontosabb, a jelenleginél jóval megbízhatóbb előrejelzése.
Erdélyi Róbertet, a Sheffieldi Egyetem és az ELTE csillagászprofesszorát, a napkitöréseket vizsgáló nemzetközi kutatócsapat, a SAMNet és a Magyar Napfizikai Alapítvány egyik alapító tagját kérdeztük a napviharokról, a lehetséges felkészülésről és a napviharok földi életre gyakorolt hatásairól.
Ez jelenleg a 25. napciklus, amiben vagyunk. A másfél évszázada gyűjtött adatok alapján a páratlan napciklusoknál az extrém események a második félidőben, a ciklus vége felé következnek be. A napkitörések erősségét ötfokozatú skálán mérik, a különböző betűvel jelzett (A, B, C, M és X) kitörések ereje között tízszeres a szorzó. Nemrég egy X1-es erősségű vihar érte el bolygónkat, ezt lehetett érezni?
E. R.: Még Magyarországon is, igen. Például földmérő műszerek mentek tönkre, azok a munkák megakadtak egy napra.
Az 1859-es Carrington-esemény hol helyezkedett el a skálán? Igaz, hogy annál jóval erősebb napkitörés is bekövetkezhet?
Az X6–X10-es erősségű lehetett. Azóta is történtek már hasonló erősségű kitörések, sőt pár éve, 2012-ben volt egy, amely erősebb volt, mint a Carrington-fler. A szerencsénk az volt, hogy ez nagyjából 30 fokos szögben elkerülte a bolygónkat.
Ha ez az űrvihar lecsapott volna a Földre, az súlyos probléma lett volna az áramellátástól kezdve a bankrendszerek működésén át egészen a telefonok, számítógépek, de akár a modernebb mosógépek működéséig. A 19. század közepéig nem jelentett problémát az űridőjárás, akkor lett ez fontos, amikor az emberiség elkezdte kiépíteni az első távírórendszereket. Az 1859-es esemény során a távíróközpontokban dolgozók lehetnek az első ismert áldozatai az űridőjárásnak. De ilyenkor nemcsak a közvetlen, hanem a közvetett kárt is nézni kell.
Nagy méretű koronakidobódás a Nap oldalán 2015. június 17–18-án, melyet a NASA Solar Dynamics Obszervatóriuma az ultraibolya fény 304 angstrom hullámhosszán rögzített. A plazma egy része visszazuhan a Napba, a többi részecskefelhőként folytatja útját az űrben
Mit használnak a vizsgálatokhoz és az előrejelzésekhez? Nemrég például dr. Korsós Marianna kollégájával a mesterséges intelligencia felhasználhatóságának és alkalmazhatóságának határait vizsgálták.
Az EU-nak jelenleg ez az egyik legfontosabb kutatási iránya, az űridőjárás igen aktuális kérdés, hiszen szeretnénk kimozdulni a Földről, felfedezni a Naprendszert. Azt pedig nem szeretnénk, hogy az űrhajósok félúton megsüljenek.
Akárhogy is szeretnénk, hogy ne így legyen, a Nap egy teljesen átlagos csillag, ami ugye nem is az univerzum közepén van. A Napban van mágneses tér, ennek van egy ciklikus változása. A Napon lévő mágnesesség egyik jele, hogy a felszínén megjelennek mágnesesen erősebb, sötétebbnek látszó régiók, konyhanyelven ezeket hívjuk napfoltoknak. Ezek az indikátorai annak, hogy ott a mágneses tér erősödik. Ahogy pedig a napciklus halad az időben előre, ezek a napfoltok és napfoltcsoportok úgy a 40-50. szélességi kör magasságából elkezdenek a Napon egyre lejjebb megjelenni, közelebb kerülni a Nap egyenlítőjéhez. Ezeket lehet ábrázolni a pillangódiagram (Maunder-diagram) segítségével.
Ahol sok napfolt van, az egy aktív régió, ez a bölcsője ezeknek az igen heves és nagy energiájú kitöréseknek. Ha nagyon össze van keveredve a pozitív és negatív mágneses tér, az egy előjele annak, hogy ott hamarosan fler vagy koronaanyag-kidobódás lehet. És itt van a Nobel-díjas kérdés, hogy pontosan mi a megbízható előjele ezeknek a kitöréseknek. Ezt ma még teljes bizonyossággal nem lehet tudni, csak jó becsléseink vannak.
Az ember megpróbálja figyelni a napon a mágneses tereket, azoknak a szerkezetéből bizonyos vizsgálatok után meg lehet mondani, hogy 6-10-20 óra múlva lesz-e ilyen kitörés, illetve hogy lesz-e egyáltalán.
De a Nap körülbelül 150 millió kilométerre van, és ha egy kitörés be is következik, annak is időre van szüksége, hogy elérje a Földet, ha egyáltalán ebben az irányban halad. Most épül egy nagy távcső, a European Solar Telescope (EST), amiben jelenleg a Napfizikai Alapítványon keresztül benne vagyunk, az EU tagjaként remélhetőleg Magyarország is részt vesz majd a projektben. Jelenleg az alapítványon keresztül a kollégákkal azon dolgozunk, hogy azt a zónát tudjuk vizsgálni, ahol a Nap körül a hőmérséklet egy ilyen esemény során megemelkedik. Korábban többnyire mindig csak a Nap felszínére fókuszáltunk a napkutatásoknál, de ez nem igazán jó, mivel a felszín felett pár ezer kilométerrel elhelyezkedő régiót kell vizsgálni az űridőjárást irányító fizikai folyamat bölcsőjének megértéséhez.
Miért nem az űrből figyelik meg a Napot, miért a Földről vizsgálják?
Az a lényeg, hogy folyamatosan lássuk a Napot. Ahhoz, hogy az űrből ugyanezt a munkát elvégezzük, legalább két műhold kell. De annak a költségei kapcsán milliárddolláros összegekről beszélünk, míg a földi állomások esetén ennek a tizedéből ki lehetne építeni akár minden második időzónában egy-egy űridőjárás-előrejelző, napmegfigyelési obszervatóriumot, melyek hálózatot alkotnak.
Ha megfelelő számú ilyen őrszem állomás van, akkor csak az kell, hogy ott egyvalaki mindig lássa a Napot. Az ilyen őrszem obszervatóriumoktól megérkeznek az adatok a gyulai központba, onnan pedig már akár figyelmeztetést is ki tudunk adni.
Milyen pontossággal és mennyi idő alatt tudnak egy-egy napkitörést észlelni, és róla meghatározni, hogy veszélyt jelent-e?
Ma már ott tartunk, hogy 6-10 órára meglehetősen nagy biztonsággal tudjuk előre jelezni a Napon a flerek és a CME-k kialakulását. Aki ennél jobbat tud, az az élvonalába kerül az egésznek. Kollégám, Korsós Marianna kidolgozott egy ilyen módszert, amivel egy napra előre lehet jelezni az eseményeket bizonyos valószínűséggel.
Az előrejelzés sajnos még közel sem százszázalékos. Hiába mondja a meteorológus is, hogy vihar lesz, néha nem lesz vihar. Annyi paramétertől függ az egész folyamat, hogy jelenleg még nem lehetünk teljesen biztosak, de azért elég jó biztonsággal ezt már meg lehet jósolni.
Tegyük fel, hogy egy Földre veszélyes napkitörést vesznek észre Gyulán, mi történik ilyenkor, kit figyelmeztetnek? Van valamilyen vészhelyzeti protokoll, amit egy napvihar esetén alkalmazhatnak? Az Egyesült Államokban több szervezet is dolgozik különböző programokon a napkitöréssel járó veszélyek elhárítására.
Jelenleg napvihart előrejelző intézkedési protokoll Magyarországon még sajnos nincs, de például a NASA-nak most is van hasonló rendszere. Ilyen központi rendszereket ki lehet és ki kell dolgozni, ez lenne a következő lépés, ha már nagy pontossággal – kilencven százalékkal – tudjuk mérni egy napvihar valószínűségét. Az adatainkat most is megosztjuk, bizonyos előrejelzéseket most is meg tudunk adni. De ez nincs ingyen, hisz az előrejelzés előállítása sincs ingyen. Az amerikai földrengés-előrejelzés példája szerint most annak továbbítjuk az adatokat, aki támogatja a kutatást és a vonatkozó műszerfejlesztést.
A Magyar Napfizikai Alapítványnál jelenleg például állami támogatás nélkül dolgozunk, leszámítva azt, hogy a gyulai önkormányzattól az épületre kaptunk támogatást – a gyulai obszervatóriumért a helyi önkormányzat a lehetőségeihez képest messze többet tett, mint azt várhattuk volna. Ez egy rendkívül pozitív, egyedi eset, és köszönet érte a helyi vezetésnek. Magát a tudományos programot, a távcső megépülését és üzemeltetését azonban nyilván nem tudják támogatni, és nem is egy önkormányzat feladata ez. A gyulai vezetés azonban abban is sokat segített, hogy a TOP-pályázatok közé is be tudjuk nyújtani projektünket. Ha nincs megfelelő támogatás, a bürokrácia lassú, illetve a pályázati rendszer teljesen kiszámíthatatlan, az egy hatalmas biztonsági rés. Hazánkban picit most ugyan jobb lett a helyzet, hogy van egy lelkes űrállamtitkárunk, de a lehetőségei és a biztosított lobbiereje messze nem olyan, mint ami egy Magyarország státuszú országtól elvárható lenne.
Mondok egy példát, Magyarországnak nincs hivatalosan napfizikai obszervatóriuma, Albániával vagyunk egy kategóriában. Pedig a tudósanyag megvan, szakembereink a nemzetközi élvonalban vannak, nemzetközi projektekben játszanak vezető vagy meghatározó szerepeket, és az elméleti háttér megvan.
Utóbbira igen jó példa az ELTE Csillagászati Tanszékén, illetve az újonnan alakult Űrcentrumban folyó magas szintű oktatás és kutatás. Ezek a kollégák messze erejükön felül teljesítenek szűkös anyagi körülmények között. Itt, kérem, a támogatás és a megfelelően kidolgozott, magasabb szintű stratégiai koncepció hiánya a probléma. Hosszú távon ezzel pedig mindenki veszít.
Az ideális megelőzés úgy érhető el, ha egyrészt biztonsággal tudunk előre jelezni, másrészt van egy megfelelően kiépített hálózata ennek, harmadrészt az obszervatórium jelzi a megfelelő szakhatóságnak a veszély szintjét, ők pedig lépnek, amennyiben szükséges.
Mennyi ideje lenne a földieknek felkészülni az érkező űrviharra?
Akár két-három napot is el lehetne érni a megfelelő űrbéli és földi rendszerrel, csak ebbe be kell fektetni. Extrém esetben akár csak egy nap, ami eltelhet aközött, hogy megtörténik egy napkitörés, és a részecskék ideérnek a Földre. De ha tudjuk előre két-három nappal, hogy kitörés következik be, akkor még marad rá idő, hogy felkészüljünk. Vihar is van, de attól még lemegyünk a Balatonra, hogy délután esni fog. Csak este ne menjünk bele a vízbe. Ugyanez van itt is. Nem áll meg az élet egy potenciális űrvihar miatt, csak megfelelően kell reagálnunk rá. Jelenleg azon dolgozunk nemzetközi szinten, hogy ezt a felkészülési folyamatot felgyorsítsuk.
Elég lenne az elektromos rendszereket kikapcsolni? Gondolok itt például az villamosenergia-szolgáltatók hálózatainak leállítására, az otthoni, árammal működő eszközök kihúzására a konnektorból.
Igen, pontosan. Kapcsold ki azt a műszert, kütyüt, ami veszélyben lehet. Itt pár óráról van szó, amíg ezek a viharok elmennek. Nagyon gyors a sebességük, ez a Földön úgy átmegy, mint a huzat, de amíg jön, addig kárt okoz. Csak ahhoz, hogy kikapcsoljuk például egy kórháznak vagy egy országnak az elektromos rendszerét, nagyon pontosan és megbízhatóan kell előre jelezni.
Mit gondol, ha bekövetkezne, mekkora kárt okozna egy, az 1859-es Carrington-eseményhez hasonló geomágneses vihar a Földön?
Hangsúlyoznám, nem az a kérdés, hogy bekövetkezik-e egy katasztrofális potenciállal bíró űrvihar, hanem az, hogy mikor. A „mikort” azonban pontosan egyelőre nem tudjuk. Ilyenkor az áram kimarad, a GPS-rendszerek összeomlanak, nagyfeszültségű vezetékek leéghetnek, a trafóállomások nem bírják ezeket a nagyon nagy áramlökéseket. Ha utóbbiak leégnek, ezeket újra le kell gyártani, ez nem egy kétperces dolog.
Az a becslés, hogy ha egy Carrington-eseményhez hasonló fler eltalálná a Föld technikailag fejlettebb részét, az egy 2-3 trillió dolláros anyagi veszteség lenne, nem beszélve a járulékos veszteségekről.
Például meddig bírjuk víz nélkül? Elég egy nagyváros közepén a vízellátásnak összeomlania, hogy súlyos következményei legyenek egy űrviharnak. De mondok egy másik példát: az Egyesült Államokban megy a tejesautó, át kell neki szelnie a nevadai sivatagot, a sofőr a GPS-t használja, ha nincs GPS, eltéved, a tej közben megromlik, ki lehet dobni az egészet. Ha ezeket a kisebb károkat is összeadjuk, napi több száz millió dollárokról van szó – ekkora kárt okozna egy ilyen extrém esemény a gazdaságnak. Normális űridőjárási viszonyok is okozhatnak problémát, az M5 fölöttiek már gondot eredményezhetnek a technoszférában, pedig az M5 erősségű flerek bőven nem a legnagyobbak.
Különböző biomarkerekből tudjuk, hogy az utóbbi évezredben a Carringtonnál nagyobb flerek is voltak, ezek az úgynevezett szuperflerek. És ezek biztos, hogy újra be fognak következni. Még egyszer: a kérdés az, hogy mikor.
Az emberéletre közvetlen veszélyt jelenthet egy ilyen vihar?
Úgymond, nem veszélyes, nem fogunk konkrétan mind meghalni. De minden, amiben chip van, és mikroáramok keletkeznek, az tönkremehet. A következmény a probléma.
Mi van azokkal, akik például beépített szívritmus-szabályozót használnak?
Mágnesesen elvileg mindent le lehet árnyékolni az űrviharok elől, de ez rendkívül drága, és a gyakorlatban talán kivitelezhetetlen. Így számukra valószínűleg életveszélyes helyzet lenne. Ha katonánk lennénk, erre mondanánk, hogy járulékos veszteség, ami természetesen rendkívül rossz annak, akit érint.
A Nemzetközi Űrállomás vagy a kínai Mennyei Palota űrállomás legénység é re, esetleg a Holdat a tervek szerint 2024-től aktívan kolonizáló űrhajósokra veszélyesebb lenne a napvihar? Ha igen, miért?
Az űreszközök védelme azért megoldható megfelelő anyaggal, mágneses árnyékolással, ezek az eszközök jobban fel vannak készítve egy ilyen eseményre, mint például egy hagyományos családi ház. A sugárzás az egyik probléma, meg vannak a részecskék, elektronok, protonok. Gondoljunk rájuk úgy, mint golyókra, ezek több ezer kilométer per másodperces sebességgel lövik és erodálják az anyagot. Ellenállnak az űrműszerek, de nem mindig és nem a végtelenségig, sok műholdat vesztettünk már el az űrviharok miatt. De ezeket az eszközöket is le lehet kapcsolni időben, csak ugye ehhez is tudni kell, hogy mikor jön egy ilyen vihar. Az eszközön kívül levő űrhajósok már más tészta, nekik ajánlott biztonságos helyre vonulni.
Ha már beütött a krach, mennyi idő alatt lehetne helyrehozni a károkat, visszaállítani a világot abba az állapotába, ahogy a napkitörés előtt volt? Egyáltalán lehetséges ez?
Az a becslés, hogy ha Európát eltalálja egy komolyabb űrvihar, az akár kettő–tíz év áramkimaradást is tud okozni helyenként. Éves szinten kell gondolkodni a kimaradást illetően. Az emberiség már felállt többször hatalmas természeti katasztrófákból, a világháborúk után, súlyos gazdasági szétesések után is. A civilizációt viszont komolyan visszavetné, akár több száz évvel is, hisz pont az infrastruktúrát verheti szét egy ilyen súlyosabb űrvihar.
Prof. Robertus Erdélyi, Dr Marianna Korsos and Dr Bernadett Belucz have participated at SB meeting.
We had quick nominal agenda summarising key news of those Work Packages being now active. After that we had time for discussion and for that time it was largely dedicated to the remaining things we needed for SWATNet School 1: Introduction to Space Weather.
A SATELIX planetáriumi műsort a Magyarországon működő planetáriumok egy időpontban, 2021.október 9-én délután mutatják be magyar nyelven!
"Űrkutatás mindennapjainkban", Műholdak, űrtechnikai fejlesztések mindennapi életünkben. Mire jók a műholdak és mi lesz a jövőjük? Érdekes és látványos planetáriumi műsor felnőtteknek és gyerekeknek!
SATELIX Planetáriumi FILMBEMUTATÓ országos helyszínei 2021.10.09-én!
Debrecen, Agóra Tudományos Élményközpont;
Kecskemét, Bács Kiskun Megyei TIT Élménycentrum, Kecskeméti Planetárium;
Zselic, Zselici Csillagda;
Baja, Csillagleső Planetárium;
Pécs, Zsolnay Planetárium;
Salgótarján, Nógrád Megyei TIT Élményközpont;
Budapest, Utazó Planetárium a Műszaki Tanulmánytárban ;
Budapest, Svábhegyi Csillagvizsgáló, a Csillagászati és Földtudományi Kutatóközpont látogatóközpontja;
Ógyalla, Szlovák Központi Csillagvizsgáló;
Magyar Napfizikai Alapitvány és a Sheffieldi Egyetem.
XVIIth Hvar Astrophysical Colloquium
Prof. Robertus Erdélyi, Dr Bernadett Belucz and Szabolcs Soós have participated at the biennial conference series.
The Hvar Astrophysical Colloquium (HAC) is organized every two years in the town of Hvar, Croatia with aim to bring together researchers from Europe and beyond, devoted to instrumentation, fundamental as well as applied research in the field of solar and heliospheric physics, space weather and space climate.
Solar Interior, dynamo, large scale flows and the Solar Cycle
- includes instrumentation and research regarding solar interior, helioseismology, emerging flux, sunspots, active regions, large scale flows, solar dynamo, long-term solar activity, solar cycle predictions and related topics
Dynamics and fundamental processes in the solar atmosphere
- includes instrumentation and research regarding global coronal magnetic field, coronal heating, coronal rain, coronal loops, coronal bright points, coronal holes, Ellerman bombs, jets, magnetic reconnection, waves and instabilities in the solar photosphere, atmospheric seismology and related topics
Eruptive Processes in the Solar Atmosphere
- includes instrumentation and research regarding solar flares, coronal mass ejections, particle acceleration, flux rope formation, eruption initiation, eruptive filaments, coronal dimmings, Moreton waves, EUV waves, coronal shocks, solar radio bursts, and related topics.
Dynamics of the Heliosphere, Solar-Terrestrial Relations, Solar Wind, Space Weather and Space Climate
- includes instrumentation and research regarding origin and structure of solar wind, solar wind transients, propagation, evolution, morphology and structure of CMEs and SIRs, effects of solar wind transients on galactic cosmic rays and planetary magnetic fields, solar energetic particles, solar-terrestrial relations, long term datasets, influence of solar activity on planetary atmospheres and related topics.
Prof. Robertus Erdélyi, Dr Bernadett Belucz, Dr Marianna Korsos, Anett Elek and Noémi Zsámberger have participated at the biennial conference series.
The European Solar Physics Meetings (ESPM) are organised every three years by the board of the European Solar Physics Division (ESPD), a joint division of the European Physical Society (EPS) and the European Astronomical Society (EAS). The meetings bring together a large number of from Europe and beyond, who are active in the theoretical and observational study of solar phenomena.
The 16th European Solar Physics Meeting (ESPM-16), originally planned for 2020, took place as a virtual online meeting in 6-10 September 2021, with free registration for all participants.
You can access the posters and presentation materials uploaded by the authors in the meeting timetable.
Nagyon örömmel tudatjuk mindenkivel, hogy az ősz elején megérkezett az Alapítvány újonnan beszerzett mobil planetáriuma!
A Magyar Napfizikai Alapítvány az idei évben elindítja a Bay Zoltán Gyulai Planetáriumot, amit elsődlegesen széleskörű természettudományos ismeretterjesztés céljából szerzett be.
A kupola 5 méter átmérőjű és egyszerre akár 25 fő befogadására is képes. Szeretnénk szinte minden korosztályt megszólítani. A planetáriumban lehetőség lesz a manapság egyre népszerűbbé váló full dome filmek megtekintésére, ennél azonban mi szeretnénk többet nyújtani. Terveink között szerepel olyan interaktív előadások, beszélgetések megtartása, ahol a közönség lehetőséget kap arra, hogy egy szakcsillagásszal elbeszélgessenek az őket érdeklő témákról és feltegyék kérdéseiket.
Hamarosan elkészül a planetárium honlapja is, ahol aktualitásokról, elérhetőségekről és műsorainkról is tájékozódhatnak az érdeklődők.
A Magyar Napfizikai Alapítvány is részt vesz az idei "Egy hét a csillagok alatt rendezvényen".
A rendezvény célja, hogy a csillagos égbolt élményét közelebb hozza az emberekhez. Különösen fontosab ezek a kezdeményezések, hiszen lehetőséget teremt arra, hogy az érdeklődők választ kapjanak csillagászattal kapcsolatos kérdésekeikre. Várunk mindenkit szeretettel augusztus 15-én Balatonrendesen a Kultúrház mögött (8255, Balatonrendes, Fő u. 9.).
A rendezvényen való részvétel ingyenes, de előzetes bejelentkezés szükséges!
The Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation is organizing a scientific event, the Astronomy Day in Gyula, on 24th July. We warmly invite and welcome all those who are interested to the Almásy Castle in Gyula, where the event will take place.
We aim to bring the local scientific life closer to people, and to create an opportunity for those interested to get answers to their astronomy-related questions from our professional astronomers. We want to achieve this with a diverse and interesting event that goes beyond simply listening to a lecture. At the same time, we hope that the Astronomy Days in Gyula will create a tradition as well.
The event is free to attend.
International Educational Infographic Contest - The Sun at a Glace
The objective of the contest is to encourage students to design an infographic (images and text) that explains a solar phenomenon or some particularity of solar telescopes, including EST.
This contest aims to encourage students to learn about our star and to create a visual summary of their research in the form of an infographic. This format is very suitable for cross-disciplinary and collaborative work.
The contest is open to groups of students of 14-15 and 15-16 years of age. Working teams should not exceed four students, plus a leading high-school teacher.
The contest is open only to the teaching community in any European Union country plus Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the UK. The contest is not open to companies or individuals.
Each team will have to create an original infographic about some aspect related to solar research that is clear, attractive, and understandable to the general public. Infographics can deal with a wide range of topics, from the properties of the Sun or any of its features and Sun-Earth relations to the principles of solar observation, telescopes, and solar instruments. An extensive list of suggested topics can be found on the contest website, but the subject is free (as long as it is related to the Sun).
An infographic is a collection of images, charts, and minimal text that provides an easy-to-understand overview of a topic. As in the examples below, infographics use striking, engaging visuals to communicate information quickly and clearly.
Teams must register to participate in the contest. There is no fee to enter the contest. Registration must be done by the teacher leading the student’s team. Registration will open on June 1 and close on October 30, 2021, at 23:59 CET. The registration form is available on the EST website at here. The information required to register includes (1) the school’s name and website; (2) the name, email address, telephone, and country of residency of the teacher; and (3) the students’ names and birth dates.
Designs must be submitted using the online form available at here. Submissions must include the final design and pictures of the process. Not more than one design may be submitted by the same group of students. The same teacher is allowed to submit as many designs as groups he/she is leading. Designs must be submitted by the teacher leading the students’ team. Entries submitted by students will be automatically disqualified. Designs can be submitted anytime after registration. The deadline for submitting designs is December 20, 2021, at 23:59 Central European Time.
There will be three prizes:
The two best designs will win a trip to Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain) to visit Teide Observatory and the various European solar telescopes in operation there.
The third prize will be an H-Alpha Solar Telescope package.
Subject to the legal requirements outlined in this document, the winning designs will be announced on the EST website and social media profiles by January 28, 2022.
The jury will be international and multidisciplinary. It will include solar physicists, science communicators and design experts.
All submitted work must be original and not based on any pre-existing design. It is the sole responsibility of each participant to ensure that the design does not infringe copyright, privacy rights, regulations, orders or directions of any third party.
The Sun’s atmosphere is hundreds of times hotter than its surface – here’s why (Dr Mariannna Korsos, HSPF member)
The visible surface of the Sun, or the photosphere, is around 6,000°C. But a few thousand kilometres above it – a small distance when we consider the size of the Sun – the solar atmosphere, also called the corona, is hundreds of times hotter, reaching a million degrees celsius or higher. The paper is available here.
This spike in temperature, despite the increased distance from the Sun’s main energy source, has been observed in most stars, and represents a fundamental puzzle that astrophysicists have mulled over for decades.
In 1942, the Swedish scientist Hannes Alfvén proposed an explanation. He theorised that magnetised waves of plasma could carry huge amounts of energy along the Sun’s magnetic field from its interior to the corona, bypassing the photosphere before exploding with heat in the Sun’s upper atmosphere.
The theory had been tentatively accepted – but we still needed proof, in the form of empirical observation, that these waves existed. Our recent study has finally achieved this, validating Alfvén’s 80 year-old theory and taking us a step closer to harnessing this high-energy phenomenon here on Earth.
The coronal heating problem has been established since the late 1930s, when the Swedish spectroscopist Bengt Edlén and the German astrophysicist Walter Grotrian first observed phenomena in the Sun’s corona that could only be present if its temperature was a few million degrees celsius.
This represents temperatures up to 1,000 times hotter than the photosphere beneath it, which is the surface of the Sun that we can see from Earth. Estimating the photosphere’s heat has always been relatively straightforward: we just need to measure the light that reaches us from the Sun, and compare it to spectrum models that predict the temperature of the light’s source.
Over many decades of study, the photosphere’s temperature has been consistently estimated at around 6,000°C. Edlén and Grotrian’s finding that the Sun’s corona is so much hotter than the photosphere – despite being further from the Sun’s core, its ultimate source of energy – has led to much head scratching in the scientific community.
Scientists looked to the Sun’s properties to explain this disparity. The Sun is composed almost entirely of plasma, which is highly ionised gas that carries an electrical charge. The movement of this plasma in the convection zone – the upper part of the solar interior – produces huge electrical currents and strong magnetic fields.
These fields are then dragged up from the Sun’s interior by convection, and burble onto its visible surface in the form of dark sunspots, which are clusters of magnetic fields that can form a variety of magnetic structures in the solar atmosphere.
This is where Alfvén’s theory comes in. He reasoned that within the Sun’s magnetised plasma any bulk motions of electrically charged particles would disturb the magnetic field, creating waves that can carry huge amounts of energy along vast distances – from the Sun’s surface to its upper atmosphere. The heat travels along what are called solar magnetic flux tubes before bursting into the corona, producing its high temperature.
These magnetic plasma waves are now called Alfvén waves, and their part in explaining coronal heating led to Alfvén being awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1970.
Observing Alfvén waves
But there remained the problem of actually observing these waves. There’s so much happening on the Sun’s surface and in its atmosphere – from phenomena many times larger than Earth to small changes below the resolution of our instrumentation – that direct observational evidence of Alfvén waves in the photosphere has not been achieved before.
But recent advances in instrumentation have opened a new window through which we can examine solar physics. One such instrument is the Interferometric Bidimensional Spectropolarimeter (IBIS) for imaging spectroscopy, installed at the Dunn Solar Telescope in the US state of New Mexico. This instrument has allowed us to make far more detailed observations and measurements of the Sun.
Combined with good viewing conditions, advanced computer simulations, and the efforts of an international team of scientists from seven research institutions, we used the IBIS to finally confirm, for the first time, the existence of Alfvén waves in solar magnetic flux tubes.
New energy source
The direct discovery of Alfvén waves in the solar photosphere is an important step towards exploiting their high energy potential here on Earth. They could help us research nuclear fusion, for instance, which is the process taking place inside the Sun that involves small amounts of matter being converted into huge amounts of energy. Our current nuclear power stations use nuclear fission, which critics argue produces dangerous nuclear waste – especially in the case of disasters including the one that took place in Fukushima in 2011.
Creating clean energy by replicating the nuclear fusion of the Sun on Earth remains a huge challenge, because we’d still need to generate 100 million degrees celsius quickly for fusion to occur. Alfvén waves could be one way of doing this. Our growing knowledge of the Sun shows it’s certainly possible – under the right conditions.
We’re also expecting more solar revelations soon, thanks to new, ground-breaking missions and instruments. The European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter satellite is now in orbit around the Sun, delivering images and taking measurements of the star’s uncharted polar regions. Terrestrially, the unveiling of new, high-performance solar telescopes are also expected to enhance our observations of the Sun from Earth.
With many secrets of the Sun still to be discovered, including the properties of the Sun’s magnetic field, this is an exciting time for solar studies. Our detection of Alfvén waves is just one contribution to a wider field that’s looking to unlock the Sun’s remaining mysteries for practical applications on Earth.
How to extract vast amounts of energy from the solar photosphere: Anti-symmetric magnetic waves caught in action
Unique torsional magnetic plasma waves have been discovered and observed on the Sun’s surface by an international team of researchers.
The team of researchers, led by Professor Róbert Erdélyi, head of the Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Centre at the University of Sheffield, have confirmed the existence of highly elusive antisymmetric torsional waves, also known as torsional Alfvén waves after Hannes Alfvén who predicted Alfvén waves theoretically in 1947.
The waves have been recognised for their importance in many research areas, including neutrino physics, the physics of interstellar medium, their role in mechanisms of particle acceleration around supermassive black holes, nuclear fusion research and in a wide range of industrial applications.
The energy carrying capability of Alfvén waves is of fundamental interest in solar and plasma-astrophysics, where the extreme heating of the solar and stellar atmospheres, up to a few million degrees, remains unexplained.
Professor Erdélyi, from the University of Sheffield, said: “This was truly fascinating and thrilling research. To successfully hunt the mysterious signatures of these most peculiar magnetic waves that are present in the 4th state of matter in our Universe is a rare opportunity.
“The international race is on to find torsional Alfvén waves in nature. This is a strategic research area for many funding agencies because of the capability of these magnetic waves to heat up plasma up to 30 million degrees. If we would fully understand how this heating takes place, we could copy it from nature and harvest free, green energy to save our planet. If we do not act now, it may soon be too late for all of us, given the level of energy needs in order to maintain the running of our high-tech society and our entire technosphere.
“We have worked as a team, and I enjoyed learning a lot from our early career scientists, Drs Marianna B. Korsós, Chris Nelson and Callum Boocock who all made very important contributions.”
The solar atmosphere is penetrated with magnetic fields that are observed in bunches, called solar magnetic flux tubes. In a uniform magnetic flux tube, Alfvén waves manifest as either axisymmetric or anti-symmetric torsional perturbations.
However, their incompressible nature makes them the most elusive type of wave in the Sun, and detecting their direct signature remained a challenge. It’s impossible to “see” these waves, only measure the perturbations in some special components of the magnetic and velocity fields.
Thanks to high spatial and temporal resolution spectropolarimetric observations of the solar atmosphere made by the IBIS instrument, it was not only possible to confirm the existence of the waves in solar magnetic flux tubes but also identify them as a mechanism to extract vast amounts of energy from the solar atmosphere.
In addition, state-of-the-art supporting numerical simulations were carried out to provide new insights into the excitation mechanisms of these peculiar magnetic waves.
Dr Chris Nelson, from the University of Sheffield, said: “The detection of torsional oscillations in the visible imprints of the magnetic field itself is a wonderful result. This work opens up a range of future researches that can really test our understanding of how frequent and important Alfvén waves are in the solar atmosphere. I look forward to making further progress over the next few years with the next generation of solar telescopes.”
The team was led by Dr Róbert Erdélyi, Head of the Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Centre (SP2RC) from the University of Sheffield’s School of Mathematic and Statistics and President-Curator of the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation, and Dr Marco Stangalini of the Italian Space Agency.
The full UK team included Dr Chris Nelson from the University of Sheffield and Queen’s University Belfast, Dr Marianna Korsós from the University of Sheffield and Aberystwyth University and Drs Callum Boocock and David Tsiklauri from Queen Mary University London.
Dr Marco Stangalini: “In our study we do not only detect this elusive wave mode, but also find that it is very efficient in extracting a large amount of energy from the photosphere. This amount of energy is even larger than what needed to heat the solar corona so the question is now where does this energy go. This is a fundamental question that will be better addressed thanks to the availability of new data from exciting projects like Solar Orbiter and DKIST, which will provide a tomographic view of the solar atmosphere with unprecedented resolution.”
Dr Marianna Korsós: “The research was about to find direct evidence for the presence of purely magnetic waves that earned the most prestigious prize to Alfvén about 50 years ago for its prediction. This is a fantastic area of astronomy that develops rapidly thanks to the better and better detectors. I am very proud to be part of this collaboration as a young female researcher and have learnt a lot about this thrilling area of science.”
STFC Introductory Course in Solar and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 2021
This year’s Summer School is provisionally planned to be held in-person at Durham University from the 22ndto the 27thof August. However, if the government’s easing of restrictions between now and then changes so that an in-person meeting is not deemed sensible, then the school will instead be held online. The final decision on this will be made by the 30thof June.
Registration is free for all STFC funded students. Non-STFC students will be subject to a registration fee and should consult the webpage above for more details.
The Summer School is intended as an introduction to solar physics and solar-terrestrial interactions, aimed at PhD students starting in Autumn 2021. The 5-day course will consist of a number of lectures delivered by experts from across the UK. The lectures will cover a range of topics, from a general introduction to Plasma Physics to more specialised areas such as magnetic topology.
In addition to the core lectures there will a careers Q&A, a session on surviving a PhD, an interactive introduction to Python/SunPy and a conference dinner on the Thursday evening. Accommodation for students during the week will be in one of Durham's colleges.
Preliminary details of the programme may be found at:here
Solar Orbiter (SOLO) was launched successfully in February 2020 and is now in cruise phase. All instruments are healthy and are starting to deliver high quality data. While the mission is still in cruise phase, the remote sensing instruments already produce scientific grade data. In these conditions, and with the nominal mission phase starting at the end of the year, six Remote Sensing Scientific Working Groups are dedicated to the coordination of scientific activities on topics relevant to the remote sensing instruments. The main objective of these groups is to foster discussion and exchanges in the context of, but not limited to, the new Solar Orbiter remote sensing data. The remote sensing science working groups will be open to all without restriction.
A kick-off meeting will take place on May 10 at 2pm CEST. The meeting (remote, see connection details below) will include presentations of the six remote sensing instruments of SOLO by the PIs, followed by introductions to the working groups by the chairpersons.
14:00 Introduction to the working groups. F. Auchère
14:15 EUI. D. Berghmans
14:30 Metis. M. Romoli
14:45 PHI. J. Hirzberger
15:00 SoloHI. R. Colaninno
15:15 SPICE. F. Auchère
15:30 STIX. S. Krücker
16:00 Introduction to the website. Daniel Verscharen
16:15 Atmospheric heating. Chairs: Pradeep Chitta & Hui Tian
16:30 Dynamo & solar cycle. Chairs: Zhi-Chao Liang & Jie Jiang
16:45 Magneto-convection. Chairs: Luis Bellot Rubio & Shahin Jafarzadeh
17:00 Solar wind origin. Chairs: Nicki Viall & Enrico Landi
17:15 Eruptive events. Chairs: Kevin Dalmasse & Stephanie Yardley
17:30 Cross-calibration. Chairs: Dan Seaton & Giulio Del Zanna
The Space Weather Awareness Training Network (SWATNet) is a Marie – Sklodowska – Curie Action Innovative Training Network (ITN) project. The project aims at breakthroughs in our physical understanding of the key agents of Space Weather.
We are now in the process of hiring 12 Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs) to pursue their PhD degrees. The project is funded by the European Commission under the framework of the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks Programme, Grant Agreement No 955620. The recruitment procedure of SWATNet follows the recommendations outlined by the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.
Concept: SWATNet educates 12 PhD students in the field of heliophysics with training led by experienced supervisors in a challenging, inherently international and interdisciplinary research environment. The consortium consists of nine Parties from eight European countries, as well as several recognized companies in the field. The PhD projects focus on analysing and forecasting solar activity, solar eruptions and energetic particles accelerated by these eruptions. Students will use state-of-the-art observations and research techniques, including cutting-edge numerical simulations of the solar corona and the inner heliosphere, as well as machine learning analysis methods. All students will be introduced to the basics of solar observations at our partner observatory and conduct 1-3 months of industrial training.
Employment: Employment of each PhD student adheres to the regulations by each host university and the rules of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions. The positions are limited to a duration of 36 months and they are full-time. Note that this period includes an obligatory 6-12 month period of project related work (i.e., Secondment) in another SWATNet host country. The positions may be extended according to national regulations and depending on the availability of additional funds. Students do not need to defend their thesis during the project, but must be enrolled in a doctoral programme leading to the award of joint/double doctoral degrees. Students are ensured an employment contract, other direct contract or fixed amount fellowship agreement during their training.
How to apply: You can apply for a maximum of three (3) projects and where you indicate your order of preference. Familiarize yourself with our projects and find the information where to send your application from below by following the links to the project specific pages. The following information needs to be included in the applications:
Curriculum Vitae and List of Publications
Degree certificates and transcripts of your academic records (list and grades of the courses and BSc/MSc works)
Contact details of 2 referees (name, work address, phone, email)
Indication of eligibility (read carefully from above).
Any additional documents/requirements requested by specific nodes (see details from the project list)
The deadline of the applications is 7 May 2021 [at 23:59 local time at the host]. The application period may however vary due to the local university rules/times, see the project descriptions
Lists of Projects:
Curriculum Vitae and List of Publications
Degree certificates and transcripts of your academic records (list and grades of the courses and BSc/MSc works)
Contact details of 2 referees (name, work address, phone, email)
Indication of eligibility (read carefully from above).
Any additional documents/requirements requested by specific nodes (see details from the project list)
Project 1 Pre-eruption magnetic configuration and eruption forecasting. Host:University of Ioannina/Academy of Athens, Greece. Secondment Host: University of Sheffield, UK.
Project 2 Assessment of the Near-Sun CME Magnetic Field. Host: University of Ioannina/Academy of Athens, Greece. Secondment Host: Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Poland.
Project 3 Three-dimensional solar flare forecasting. Host: University of Sheffield, UK Secondment Host: University of Ioannina/Academy of Athens, Greece.
Project 4 Modelling periodic and quasiperiodic variations in solar activity. Host:Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary. Secondment Host: University of Sheffield, UK.
Project 5 A global MHD coronal model. Host: Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Poland Secondment Host: University of Helsinki, Finland.
Project 6 CME evolution in the corona. Host: University of Helsinki, Finland. Secondment Host: KU Leuven, Belgium.
Project 7 Particle acceleration at coronal shocks. Host: University of Turku, Finland. Secondment Host: KU Leuven, Belgium.
Project 8 Particle transport in interplanetary medium. Host: KU Leuven, Belgium. Secondment Host: University of Turku, Finland.
Project 9 The P-DBM beyond 1 AU: forecasting CME arrival in the whole heliosphere. Host: Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata, Italy. Secondment Host: University of Sheffield, UK.
Project 10 Forecasting Solar Activity with Deep Learning. Host: Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata, Italy. Secondment Host: University of Coimbra, Portugal
Project 11 CME arrival modelling with Machine Learning. Host: University of Sheffield, UK Secondment Host: Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata, Italy
Project 12 Development of mathematical morphology algorithms to characterize the solar activity. Host: University of Coimbra, Portugal Secondment Host: University of Sheffield, UK.
The Space Weather Awareness Training Network (SWATNet) establishes a unique PhD network in the field of heliosphysics. The project aims at breakthroughs in our physical understanding of key agents of Space Weather at Earth.
This Consortium consists of nine Parties from eight European countries (Finland, Greece, Hungary, Belgium, UK, Italy, Poland and Portugal), as well as several recognized companies in the field.
SWATNet educates 12 PhD students in the field of heliosphysics with training by experienced supervisors in highly international research environments.
Students will achieve a set of versatile transferable skills through day-to-day research work and training with our industry partners.
Student projects focus on analysing and forecasting solar activity and space weather with cutting-edge and interdisciplinary research techniques.
The project SWATNet officially started March 1st 2021!
We had our Kick-Off meeting online 22-23 March. It was two days of intensive zooming with all academic and industrial partners attending to the meeting.
On Monday we first introduced ourselves and then the Coordinator Emilia gave the overview presentation of the project and we discussed management and general rules of this type of the training network (which are many!).
After that Manolis, Stefaan and Dario presented the scientific work packages. There are three of them in SWATNet and they cover the processes from Sun to Earth, and timescales from seconds related to solar eruptions to several solar cycles. The projects for students are all tackling very current and interesting research problems using various cutting edge techniques.
Tuesday was reserved for discussing outreach/dissemination and training. Leading companies in the field that offer training for SWATNet students presented themselves.
Finally we had a very instructive discussion session with our Project Officer Roxane.
The international team of researchers led by Professor Róbert Erdélyi managed to explore in detail what the limits of applicability of Artificial Intelligence (AI) are when it comes to making predictions about the magnetic field of the Sun. They reported their ground-breaking findings in the prestigious Nature Astronomy journal.
The use of AI is becoming ever more popular nowadays in the fields of solar- and plasma physics, as well as in space weather forecasting. A new model was recently developed, which was, based on earlier scientific investigations, expected to be able to reconstruct the magnetic map of the 5400 degree hot surface of the Sun, the photosphere, in nearly perfect detail. As input parameters, the MI received observations of chromospheric heights with a temperature of about 50000 degrees within the solar atmosphere, which were taken by NASA’s SDO satellite.
A precise survey of the solar atmosphere would be an significant step forward in plasma-astrophysics, as it is the magnetic field of our central star that plays a very important role in the formation of the so-called solar magnetic active regions. To make this survey possible, Róbert Erdélyi, Professor of astronomy at the University of Sheffield and ELTE and President of the Board of the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation, established an international network for observing space weather called SAMNet (Solar Activity Monitor Network) based in Gyula. With its self-developed instruments for measuring magnetic fields, SAMNet explores the lower regions of the solar atmosphere between the photosphere and the chromosphere.
It is this dynamically changing active region where high-energy flares (flashes of light) and plasma pulses (coronal mass ejections) are formed, which can then lead to highly serious space weather disturbances. Space weather is a term summarising all disturbances which originate from the Sun and are detectable near the Earth. More serious anomalies in space weather, called solar storms, can, for example, significantly damage GPS and telecommunication satellite systems, or generate excess voltage in high-voltage transmission lines thus disrupting continuous power supply in even continent-wide areas.
Figure: Magnetograms of the Sun (a) from observations and (b) generated with AI (source: Liu et al., Nature Astronomy, 2021)
Fantastic results may be reached with the use of artificial intelligence, but, as Róbert Erdélyi explained, in the course of their research the group found that results of an AI can easily be misleading without a mathematical analysis of the physical phenomena characterising high-energy solar eruptions. “We must not look at artificial intelligence as an all-knowing crystal ball; if AI is not used appropriately, we can come to false conclusions. Mathematical and physical modelling is fundamentally important in these investigations,” said the Professor.
“Our research aimed to check the results we obtained using artificial intelligence in space weather forecasting ,” added Marianna Korsós, postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Astronomy of ELTE and member of the international research group. “We are talking about an exciting and rapidly developing interdisciplinary area, however, its results must be handled with certain reservations. I am very proud that I could be a part of this international cooperation as a young researcher, I learned a great deal about how such new technology can be utilised.”
After introducing innovations, Jiajia Liu (University of Sheffield and Queen’s University Belfast), Yimin Wang (University of Sheffield), Xin Huang (Chinese Academy of Sciences), Marianna Korsós (ELTE and University of Aberyswith), Ye Jiang (University of Sheffield), Yuming Wang (University of Science and Technology of China) and Róbert Erdélyi proved that, contrary to previous scientific ideas, data from the AI model may only be used critically and very carefully in forecasting the structure of magnetic fields at the solar surface.
“We noticed that the AI model, which used to be thought of as perfect, performed far worse than expected,” explained Jiajia Liu and Yimin Wang. “For now, artificial intelligence can not appropriately reproduce the complete unsigned magnetic flux values in the solar atmosphere and other important physical parameters, such as the net magnetic flux value, or the number of neutral lines separating magnetic fields. These count as fundamental parameters in space weather forecasting.”
The researchers added: their result is also supported by currently known physical models. The theory of magnetohydrodynamics states that observations of the chromosphere and the corona do not provide sufficient information about the details of photospheric magnetic spatial structures.
“AI is a rapidly developing area of science, which has widespread applications and is becoming ever more common in our everyday lives. However, users must be aware of its limitations, too, especially when it comes to its applicability in science,” warned Róbert Erdélyi. “In the lack of basic mathematical and physical models, AI often generates flawed models or data, even if we use the most advanced artificial intelligence or machine learning techniques.”
This research was conducted at ELTE, in the framework of and supported by the topic of astro- and particle physics of Institutional Excellence Program for Higher Education. The researchers reported on their ground-breaking result in the prestigious Nature Astronomy journal.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
EST Calendar 2021
Dear EST lovers, The new EST Calendar 2021 has arrived!
You can download it from our website innen. You can upload the calendar to your personal social networks, tag us, and use the hashtag ESTCalendar2021. The subject of the calendars this year is solar instrumentation.
The AGU Fall Meeting will be one of the world's largest virtual scientific conferences, with exciting programming and events. To assist in minimizing scheduling conflicts, #AGU20 is scheduled from 1-17 December, excluding weekends. Most content will be prerecorded or available as posters for attendees to view and peruse outside of scheduled sessions during the meeting. The Fall Meeting will be available in our online platform. We have partnered with various audio-visual providers to ensure quality streaming. Fall Meeting 2020 will be held from 1-17 December. All #AGU20 Fall Meeting sessions and events will be held in a virtual platform. Only registered attendees will be able to access 1,000+ hours of scientific content, from posters to Union sessions. With more than 23,000 attendees from 110+ countries, we also offer numerous opportunities for you to network to meet new colleagues and friends.
Earth and space science makes a valuable impact on our everyday lives and the community's support of each other is a consistent inspiration to us all. Whether working from home, participating in virtual field work, or reopening labs and offices during this global pandemic, AGU's community of Earth and space scientists are continuing the important work leading to discoveries and solutions - advancing the collective understanding of the world around us. On behalf of the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation, Dr. Bernadett Belucz participated at the meeting.
On October 15, 2020, the Hungarian Astronautical Society (MANT) held the Hungarian Space Research Day.
The event, originally organized at the headquarters of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, was held in the form of an online broadcast due to the COVID-19 epidemic, for which all those interested in the profession were expected. Among others, dr. Orsolya Ferencz, Minister of the Interior, also gave a presentation. On behalf of the Foundation, Dr. Bernadett Belucz participated in the event.
We held the 1st Astronomy Days in Gyula on September 26-27. Despite the coronavirus and the mandatory visitor limit, the event has an extraordinary success. Thank you to everyone who came, listened to us, asked questions and watched the Sun through our binoculars!
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The visitors had the chance of knowing more about EST. EST Communication Office congratulates our Hungarian colleagues for this initiative. They also promoted the event through the EST channels. They invite you to visit the gallery of images of the event at here. We also thank you for their support!
The first observation of GSO’s new Solar Telescope
Although the Sun seems to be inactive in the past couple of years, it still shows subtle fantastic features. See at the limb, at about "4 o'clock” where one can notice a beautiful protuberance, which is 10-20 times larger than Earth.
Interview with Dr. Belucz Bernadett about the Astronomy Days in Gyula (source: Gyulakult)
On 26th and 27th September, exciting programs and nine interesting events will attract the current and future lovers of the Sun, the stars and astronomy to Gyula, to the Almásy Castle. Among other things, there will be an opportunity to observe the night sky through the telescopes of the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation with the assistance of professional astronomers. About the Gyula Astronomy Days, Dr. Bernadett Belucz, member of the board of trustees of the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation, gave us information.
- The original goal was to give further momentum to domestic solar physics researches, and we would like to become a leading research center in the field of space weather on an international level as well. The renovation and expansion of the Gyula Observatory is a part of this process - said Dr. Bernadett Belucz in connection with the intentions behind the event. - The project aims to renovate and expand the observatory, and is being implemented with the support of the municipality of Gyula. For that we are grateful and would like to give something back - she said.
The event will take place at the Almásy Castle in Gyula
Astronomy is quite popular, but the general knowledge is rather scanty, which is exponentially true for solar physics. We would like to change this with the best intentions. Ultimately, this also means that we would like to bring science closer to everyday life, as there are a number of phenomena that actually have an extraordinary impact on our everyday lives.
The Sun, as the central celestial body, is present in every moment of our lives and plays a decisive role in it, directly and indirectly. Of course, it is no coincidence that the veneration of the Sun as a deity can be observed throughout human history around the world. The ancient Egyptians venerated this celestial body as a god. Furthermore, Re (Ra) was one of their most significant gods. His authority extended to heaven, earth, and the underworld. He played an important role in several creation myths, and was considered the divine father of the king.
For centuries, churches and tombs have been built based on astronomical orientation, that is, based on the annual route of the sun: on equinoxes and solstices. These notable dates were accompanied by extraordinary events and celebrations around the world. The course of the Sun determines the alternation of the seasons and days, so we have adapted our significant calendar systems to it since ancient times.
Solar activity is the key to the so-called space weather, which is intended to study how high-energy particles and magnetic fields originating from the Sun effect Earth. Everyday technologies such as telecommunication and aviation are increasingly exposed to complex physical processes resulting from the interaction of particles flowing from the Sun and the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Our primary goal is to understand and to predict the processes and causes of space weather in detail.
The detailed program
In addition, our foundation is involved in the EST project (European Solar Telescope), which aims to build Europe's largest solar telescope. It is a revolutionary new, 4-meter diameter telescope and was designed to examine the active Sun in unprecedented resolution. Hungary has never before participated in such a large-scale scientific project. Those interested in the project can hear more about it during the Astronomy Days in Gyula as well.
- We would like to show the beauty of this profession, and why and what makes solar physics interesting. During these two days, professional astronomers will help us to do so - explained dr. Belucz Bernadett. She emphasized that they would like this event to go beyond them simply standing up and listing information. On September 26 and 27, there will be an opportunity to ask questions, make comments, and initiate conversations.
- After the presentations, we will provide an opportunity for participants to talk to our astronomers and ask questions in the form of a scientific forum. There will also be an opportunity to explore the Sun and the night sky with the telescopes provided by the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation and with the help of professional astronomers. They will show various celestial objects, but this requires a clear, cloudless sky. She brought up as an example, that the telescopes are suitable for examining Jupiter with about a half an inch of a diameter. We can discover for ourselves the four great moons of Jupiter, the Galilean moons, the stripes of its atmosphere, and maybe we will also be able to see a bit of the red spot.
GREGOR, the largest solar telescope in Europe located on Teide Observatory, Tenerife in the Canary Island and operated by a German consortium led by the Leibniz Institute for Solar Physics (KIS), has obtained unprecedented images of the fine-structure of the atmosphere of the Sun.
Europe's largest solar telescope GREGOR reveals intricate structures of solar magnetic fields in very high resolution. The image was taken at the wavelength of 516 nm. Credit: KIS
The Sun is the only star that we can observe in detail. It has a profound influence on our planet as life and civilization depends on the radiation and high-speed particles coming from this fascinating celestial object. This stream of radiation and particle flux varies in time and can be very dangerous as a result of the largest explosions in the entire Solar System. The potentially highest risks are the solar explosions know the solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The physical processes that determine the speed, form, energy, etc. of flares and CMEs is governed by the solar magnetism. By studying the magnetism on the Sun, we can understand how the solar influence is forming on Earth and minimize damage of satellites and technological infrastructure in our technosphere. The GREGOR telescope allows scientists to resolve details as small as 50 km on the solar surface, called the photosphere, which is a tiny fraction of the solar diameter of about 1.4 million km. This is as if one saw a needle on a soccer field perfectly sharp from a distance of one kilometre.
“This was a very exciting, but also extremely challenging project. In only one year we completely redesigned the optics, mechanics, and electronics to achieve the best possible image quality.” said Dr. Lucia Kleint, who led the project and the German solar telescopes on Tenerife. GREGOR has now obtained the highest resolution images of the Sun ever taken by a European telescope.
Prof. Dr. Svetlana Berdyugina (Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg and Director of the Leibniz Institute for Solar Physics (KIS)), says: “The project was rather risky because such telescope upgrades usually take years, but the great team work and meticulous planning have led to this success. Now we have a powerful instrument to solve puzzles on the Sun.” The new optics of the telescope will now allow scientists to study magnetic fields, convection, turbulence, solar eruptions, and sunspots in great detail. First light images obtained in July 2020 reveal astonishing details of sunspot evolution and intricate structures in solar plasma.
A technical description of the redesign of GREGOR was recently published by the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics in an article led by Dr. L. Kleint (see here ).
Credit: European researchers have access to observations with the GREGOR telescope through national programs and a program funded by the European commission. New scientific observations are starting in September 2020.
A sunspot observed in high resolution by the GREGOR telescope at the wavelength 430 nm. (Click to play)
Our scientists at Gyula Bay Zoltan Solar Observatory congratulate to colleagues at KIS and are looking forward to carry out joint scientific programmes with this fantastic ground-based facolity, GREGOR, in order to better understand how to predict space weather and provide services to mitigate the adverse effects caused by solar eruptions.
The Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation is organizing a scientific event, the Astronomy Days in Gyula, on 26th and 27th September. We warmly invite and welcome all those who are interested to the Almásy Castle in Gyula, where the event will take place.
We aim to bring the local scientific life closer to people, and to create an opportunity for those interested to get answers to their astronomy-related questions from our professional astronomers. We want to achieve this with a diverse and interesting event that goes beyond simply listening to a lecture. At the same time, we hope that the Astronomy Days in Gyula will create a tradition as well.
The detailed program.
The event is free to attend.
Our binoculars for presentations have arrived
Our grant application, "The Utilization of the Szép Szilágyi Forestry Memorial for Astronomical Educational and Community Shaping Purposes", submitted with the identification number LEADER_VP6-19_2_1_65-8-3_8-17_1969745812, supported by the Hungarian State and the European Union, received a positive assessment. We used the grant to purchase two binoculars for presentations. These arrived to Gyula at the end of July. They will be tested at the II. Strategic Meeting in Gyula.
Professor Róbert Erdélyi examines the Sun with our new telescope.
The Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation acquired an 80 mm diameter Lunt LS 80T Halpha solar telescope with SkyWatcher AZ-EQ6 Pro GoTo mechanics from the LEADER tender. The Lunt Etalon filter is famous for providing good image resolution. The 80mm lens diameter and the 560mm focus show a nice contrasting, detailed picture of the Sun's surface, the sunbursts and protuberances. Its bandwidth is less than 0.7A, which is responsible for the highly contrasting image of the solar surface. The binoculars are perfectly collimated, with no coma defects, spherical defects, or astigmatism that would degrade the image. The binoculars also feature a B1200 block filter and an advanced air pressure tuning system, a Pressure Tuner. The B1200 is great for both visual solar monitoring, as well as taking photographs with small or medium-sized CCD chip cameras.
Our other binocular for nightly observations is a 150mm SkyWatcher achromatic refractor with 1200mm focus, equipped with Fraunhofer lens and a SkyWatcher EQ5 mechanism. Thanks to its high performance and excellent image quality, it is a very versatile binocular that requires minimal maintenance and is extremely long-lasting, as the lenses and their coatings are extremely durable. Whether we want to observe the ripples of the clouds of Jupiter or the rings and clouds of Saturn, we will get a sensationally detailed picture. Thanks to its good light utilization, even deep-sky objects appear in extreme detail through the binocular.
Thanks to our successful tenders pályázatainknak , the renovation of the observatory has begun. It was time to hold another strategic meeting in Gyula.
The strategic meeting held on 29 July was attended by Prof. Róbert Erdélyi, Dr. Marianna Korsós and Dr. Bernadett Belucz. The primary purpose of the meeting was to discuss ideas, plans, issues, and questions with the specialists who renovating the observatory. Each step of the renovation process was discussed in detail with relevant experts. Following the discussion, we also assessed the condition of the observatory. To close out the meeting, we set up and tested our new binoculars for presentations. We will present our binoculars in detail in a separate article and under a separate menu on the website.
Visual design of the observatory of the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation
A NEOWISE naked-eye comet in Gyula
Professional photographer Sándor Pénzes created a wonderful series of photos of the comet Neowise. This series can now also be viewed on the HSPF website. Sándor Pénzes kindly agreed to post his video and a picture on the foundation's website.
The Neowise comet is the first naked-eyed comet in a long time. No wonder that both professional and amateur astronomers have been excited since March to see the unusual phenomenon which is moving in a northwestern direction.
Neowise comet over Badacsony. Source: Turista Magazin
The C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) comet can be observed during early twilight at the beginning of July, and from 15 July during the early evening hours. By now, it has become circumpolar, meaning it does not rest below the horizon but circles on the sky. In August, it will only be possible to observe it with smaller binoculars.
Neowise comet over Stonehange. Source: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap200722.html
Those who wonder what trajectory the comet takes can found more information here
The SWATNET project received €3,177 million funding from the European Commission's Marie Curie Actions Innovative Training Network this year. The international program examining the physical processes of space weather is a cooperation between astrophysicists from Eötvös Loránd University and from our Foundation. It helps young researchers in gaining more experience in a research field which attracts outstanding global interest.
The SWATNET (Space Weather Awareness Training Network) project is among the winners of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Networks for joint PhD programs in 2020. In addition to Eötvös Loránd University, the international consortium has 15 members from 7 other countries, a third of whom is industry players engaged in innovative research development. The coordinating institution is the University of Helsinki. From Hungary, the Gyula-based Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation – led by Róbert Erdélyi – participates in the project.
Innovative Training Networks (ITNs) are the leading doctoral programs in Europe, bringing together universities, research institutes and other scientific institutions and the industrial sector in order to provide doctoral training for young researchers. On the one hand, the networks help professionally development and help achieve scientific results, and on the other hand they help gain international experience.
Only 10% of the 1 500 applications submitted in the ITN category is supported by the European Commission. These include 12 tenders in the EJD (European Joint Degree) category, including SWATNET.
The subject of the four-year project is to study the physical processes of space weather and to develop more reliable and more accurate space weather forecasting methods. Among other things, researchers are looking for answers to such fundamental plasma astrophysical questions as the origin of the Sun's magnetic activity, and a more accurate modeling of the predictability of solar flares using mathematical methods, supercomputers, and machine learning methods.
Róbert Erdélyi and Kristóf Petrovay are among the leaders of the research teams involved in the international program to study the physical processes of space weather and help young researchers gain experience. Róbert Erdélyi is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of our Foundation and professor at the University of Sheffield. Kristóf Petrovay is an internationally renowned expert of our Foundation and Head of the Department of Astronomy at Eötvös Loránd University.
As part of the research program, young researchers spend at least one month at the Zoltán Bay Solar Physics Observatory of the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation in Gyula. With the support of the Municipality of Gyula and the Hungarian state’s Széchenyi Program, the observatory is now in the last, exciting phase of its renovation. It is expected to open to the public during the fall of 2021, when a larger international solar physics summer school will also be held at the institution. The summer school is organized as part of a € 9,996 million SOLARNET program across Europe which brings together the European solar physics observatories and solar research institutes. The large-scale project brings together 36 research institutes and economic operators involved in research development from 17 countries. The participants – including SWATNET doctoral students – will carry out preparatory research for the 4m European Telescope (EST), which will be completed by the second half of 2020.
Science of EST book
The Science Of EST is a weekly series of short articles explaining the scientific problems that will be addressed by the European Solar Telescope. Written by scientists involved in the EST project, they are published also in the EST social media channels under the hashtag #TheScienceOfEST.
After more than 14 months of activity, #TheScienceOfEST series comes to an end. We have published a total of 61 articles weekly since March 2019. The book The Science of EST collects all 77 articles written by professional solar astronomers from 30 different European research centers and universities.
Here for more information on EST and for download.
EST Virtual Solar Kit
Two Activity Books of the EST Virtual Solar Kit have published.
They contain a total of 6 hands-on activities for students in the age range from 10 to 16 years. The two books cover the topics: Telescopes and solar observations and Magnetic fields and solar phenomena. These are two cornerstones of the EST project.
Here for more information on EST and for download.
The Sun often releases flares, explosive events occurring in the solar atmosphere. They were discovered in England in the nineteenth century by Richard Carrington at Redhill Observatory, south of London.
The clearest and most detailed images of the Sun have been captured by the largest telescope in the world. Just-released first images and videos from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (IST) reveal unprecedented detail of the Sun’s surface, with experts saying it will enable a new era of solar science and a leap forward in understanding the Sun and its impacts on our planet.
Cropped section of the full field from NSF’s Inouye Solar Telescope’s first light image. Credit: NSO/AURA/NSF
The new images from NSF’s Inouye Solar Telescope 4-meter solar telescope, which sits near the summit of Haleakalā in Hawaiʻi, show a close-up view of the Sun’s surface including a pattern of turbulent “boiling” plasma that covers the entire Sun. The images also show cell-like structures - each about the size of Texas - which are the signature of violent motions that transport heat from inside the Sun to its surface.
The new images were taken with cameras developed and supplied by a UK consortium led by Queen’s University Belfast. Professor Robertus Erdélyi (University of Sheffield, Dept of Astronomy, Eötvös University, Budapest and the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation) is member of the multi-institutional consortium and has led the developoment of a number of data analysis tools using Machine Learning techniques. These tools, e.g. MONAMI (Mapping Of Non-potentiAl Magnetic fIeld) or ASDA (Automated Swirl Detection Algorythm) will be crucial in making new discoveries and in the exploitation of the unprecedented ultra-high resolution solar data provided by IST.
Professor Erdélyi said: “The Inouye Solar Telescope with its 4-m aperture will open revolutionary new avenues for the strategic research carried out not just at our Universities and research establishments but also across Europe and elsewhere. These images will help us to better understand the physical processes of the lower solar atmosphere, and will now provide plenty of new research opportunities for our PhD students and post-doctoral research fellows to embark on. In particular, we are now thrilled to analyse these data and making a step towards understanding how magnetic waves [see our Nature Communication paper: Nature paper] and solar spicules [see our Science paper: Science paper] determine the physical conditions in our best natural plasma laboratory, the Sun”
He added: “I am also very proud that other early-carrier Hungarian scientist from the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation,and also at Eötvös University have contributed to our software development. Dr Marianna Korsós, who has recently defended successfully her PhD, has made major contribution to the MONAMI tool, while Dr Norbert Gyenge -another fresh PhD- has contributed to visualize magnetic fields in the solar atmosphere. These are fantastic efforts from our younger colleagues who will in due course fully exploit the discovery opportunities provided by this world-leading solar telescope”
Professor Mihalis Mathioudakis of Queen’s University Belfast, who led the UK consortium, said: “The imaging produced by the Inouye Solar Telescope opens new horizons in solar physics. Its imaging capability allows us to study the physical processes at work in the Sun’s atmosphere at unprecedented levels of detail. We worked hard over the past few years with Belfast-based Andor Technology to develop the cameras that equip the Inouye Solar Telescope and it is highly rewarding to now see this fascinating imaging.”
Experts also say the telescope will play a critical role in better understanding the Sun and space weather, and provide important details for scientists.
NSF Director, France Córdova, said, “NSF’s Inouye Solar Telescope will be able to map the magnetic fields within the Sun’s corona, where solar eruptions occur that can impact life on Earth. This telescope will improve our understanding of what drives space weather and ultimately help forecasters better predict solar storms.”
Activity on the Sun, known as space weather, can affect systems on Earth. Magnetic eruptions on the Sun can impact air travel, disrupt satellite communications and bring down power grids, causing long-lasting blackouts and disabling technologies such as GPS. It is one of the core strategic research activities of HSPF to contribute to space weather research even with our modest –in comparison to IST- telescope establishment at Gyula solar Observatory.
Finally resolving these tiny magnetic features is central to what makes the Inouye Solar Telescope unique. It can measure and characterize the Sun’s magnetic field in more detail than ever seen before and determine the causes of potentially harmful solar activity.
“It’s all about the magnetic field,” said Thomas Rimmele, director of the Inouye Solar Telescope. “To unravel the Sun’s biggest mysteries, we have to not only be able to clearly see these tiny structures from 93 million miles away but very precisely measure their magnetic field strength and direction near the surface and trace the field as it extends out into the million-degree corona, the outer atmosphere of the Sun.”
Better understanding the origins of potential disasters will enable governments and utilities to better prepare for inevitable future space weather events. It is expected that notification of potential impacts could occur earlier - as much as 48 hours ahead of time instead of the current standard, which is about 48 minutes. This would allow for more time to secure power grids and critical infrastructure and to put satellites into safe mode.
NSF’s new ground-based Inouye Solar Telescope will work with space-based solar observation tools such as NASA’s Parker Solar Probe (currently in orbit around the Sun) and the European Space Agency/NASA Solar Orbiter (soon to be launched). The three solar observation initiatives will expand the frontiers of solar research and improve scientists’ ability to predict space weather.
“These first images are just the beginning,” said David Boboltz, program director in NSF’s division of astronomical sciences and who oversees the facility’s construction and operations. “Over the next six months, the Inouye telescope’s team of scientists, engineers and technicians will continue testing and commissioning the telescope to make it ready for use by the international solar scientific community. The Inouye Solar Telescope will collect more information about our Sun during the first 5 years of its lifetime than all the solar data gathered since Galileo first pointed a telescope at the Sun in 1612.”
Notes: The journal Nature Communications should be credited as the source of the research article. All images can be used if proper credits are given. For further scientific information, please contact: Professor Robertus Erdélyi (Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dept. of Astronomy, Eötvös University, Budapest (Hungary), on email email@example.com. For further media information please contact: Dr Bernadett Belucz, Public Affairs Manager, Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation, Gyula (Hungary), on email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared in the March issue of AERO magazine. Many thanks to Professor Béla Kálmán for making it available to us, moreover, for providing an interesting addition!
Following the success of the Parker spacecraft launched by NASA, the ESA Solar Orbiter (SolO) was launched from the Kennedy Space Center with the help of an Atlas-V 411 booster at 4:03 a.m. (UT) on 10 February, 2020. NASA is also a major participant in the program. Its main purpose is to observe the Sun’s less studied surface areas around the axis of rotation, and to study the Sun-Earth relations in order to understand and predict the more stormy phases of space weather.
The Solar Orbiter in front of the Sun
The sunspots were already known around at the beginning of our time. Observations were recorded, especially in Eastern chronicles. In Europe, after the invention of the telescope in the early 1600s, Galileo Galilee and Christopher Scheiner made regular observations. However, the real interest increased when Heinrich Schwabe discovered the 11-year sunspot cycle, and several others noticed that the outbursts in the Earth’s magnetic field – the number of “magnetic storms” – changes according to the number of the sunspots. Richard Carrington's observation on 1 September in 1859 was of great importance. He saw a solar flare that could also be observed in white light. This was followed by the largest magnetic storm ever observed. Physicists doubted the connection between the two phenomena because of the low energy content of the light phenomenon, but measurements from the Luna-1 spacecraft in 1959 showed that it is the solar wind that transmits the effects of the Sun to the Earth’s environment. That there is a constant particle flow from the Sun has long been suspected because of the changes in comets’ tails. Eugene N. Parker (after whom the NASA spacecraft was named) wrote down this theory in 1958, and after the Luna-1, spacecrafts regularly monitor it. The Earth is protected from the solar winds by its own magnetic field, which forms a cavity in the solar wind, the magnetosphere. This gets disturbed by the clouds of particles propagating in the solar wind. The general state of the Earth's environment, the strength of the electromagnetic and particle radiation around us and their changes has been called space weather for some decades now. It can have an important impact on Earth and on the state of the spacecrafts moving around the Earth and in the solar system. For example, proton radiation growth of extreme strength could be fatal to an astronaut working in space, and magnetic storms could affect power supplies in the Nordic countries, disturb the GPS system, aviation, and long oil pipelines. For these practical reasons, it is important to keep an eye on the Sun and solar wind, which is one of the goals of the Solar Orbiter.
The side facing the Sun with the openings of the instruments looking through the heat shield
Its orbit around the Sun will initially be highly variable, using the gravitational field of the Earth and Venus several times to get closer to the Sun and to tilt its trajectory out of the ecliptic, that is, the trajectory of the Earth. After the first gravitational maneuvers, the spacecraft enters a resonant orbit with Venus, and it can approach it several times in a row to rotate the trajectory. After about 3 ½ years, the final elliptical observation path will take it closer to the Sun. It will be within the orbit of Mercury, around 42 million km away from the Sun (about 60 times the radius of the Sun, 0.28 AU, Astronomical Unit, the average Sun-Earth distance). Here the temperature of the heat shield facing the Sun can reach up to 500 degrees. Some of the instruments take photographs of the surface of the Sun through holes cut in the heat shield. (The Parker spacecraft can get closer to our star; however, it doesn't have a solar camera because it would melt at 1,500 degrees Celsius.) By the end of its design lifetime, which is about 7 years, the angle of inclination of the SolO orbit will be 24 degrees. At the end of the extended program it will be 33 degrees so it will be able to take photographs with significantly better visibility of the Sun's lesser-known polar regions. Mostly European researchers took part in the preparation of the program and the instruments, but there are contributors from all over the world. The number of authors in the Astronomy and Astrophysics journal's current description of instruments is close to or more than a hundred. In Hungary, the Wigner Physics Research Center in Csillebérc participated in the construction of the magnetometer by developing a ground monitoring device, and will also participate in the research later.
Location of the instruments on the spacecraft
The 10 instruments of the 1,800 kg spacecraft can be divided into two groups, those that perform on-site measurements and remote sensors (cameras). The 4 on-site measuring devices measure the particle flow properties of the solar wind at the spot of SolO. The SWA solar wind plasma analyzer measures the particle stream’s density, velocity, temperature, and composition. The EPD high energy particle counter determines the frequency and composition of these particles. The MAG magnetometer records changes in the magnitude and direction of the on-site magnetic field. The RPW radio and plasma wave detector is both an on-site and a distance sensor: with its antennas it simultaneously detects the electric and magnetic fields around the spacecraft and the propagating radio waves.
The remote sensing instruments photograph different layers of the solar atmosphere from the surface of the Sun, the photosphere, over a wide range of electromagnetic radiation, from X-rays to visible light. The PHI polarimeter seismometer transmits detailed images of the solar disk, the photosphere, in the range of visible light, measuring the total vector (magnitude, direction) of the magnetic field at all points, and the line-of-sight (LOS) velocity of the material. These extremely complex measurements will provide the basis for comparing the phenomena measured by other instruments. It contains two telescopes. The HRT high-resolution telescope has a resolution of 1 arc-second corresponding to the EUI high-resolution telescopes and in close proximity to the Sun allows the observation of objects that have a size of 150 km. This is extremely important for observing the assumed current layers originating at the start of the flares. The FDT full disk telescope captures the entire solar disk in its field of view at all distances. Both telescopes have a polarization modulator that measures magnetic field and LOS, with an image size of 2048 x 2048 pixels. The EUI extreme-ultraviolet imager photographs the higher layers on the solar atmospheric layers in the spectral lines of the chromospheres and the crown (1216, 304, and 174 Ångström). It contains three telescopes, one photographing the entire solar disk with a field of view of 3.8 x 3.8 degrees (there will also be close-ups!), alternating between 174 and 304 Å (1 million degree and 80,000 degree plasma radiation, respectively), with 10 arc-seconds resolution. The sensor is 3072 x 3072 pixels. The other two telescopes take 1 arc-second resolution, 2048 x 2048 pixel images of the solar disk in its 174 Å (1 million degrees) and 1216 Å hydrogen Lyman-alpha spectrum (30,000 degrees) in the upper chromospheres. The diameter of their field of view is 1 solar radius from a distance, and 1/3 solar radius near the Sun. Based on its data, the heating of these layers can be examined. The SPICE imager spectrograph performs spectral analysis of the same layers. It monitors two spectral ranges, the wavelengths between 700-792 and 970-1053 Ångström. There are many spectral lines formed in the chromospheres and in the solar corona between 10,000 to 10 million K temperatures so the physical conditions prevailing there can be determined. The STIX X-ray telescope detects solar thermal and non-thermal X-ray emission from 4 to 150 keV with a 7 arc-seconds spatial and 1 keV energy resolution, up to twice of the radius of the solar disk. Its images are calculated from the intensities measured behind 32 shielding grid systems using mathematical methods.
The trajectory of SolO
All of these instruments deal with the solar disk and its immediate surroundings. With regards to the terrestrial effects, it is very important to monitor the formation of solar wind flow and the propagation of sometimes high-velocity plasma clouds from active phenomena all the way to the orbit of Earth (and beyond). Such observations are already disturbed by the light of the solar disk, so they are covered with an external or an internal shielding disc, or the Sun does not even enter the field of view. The Metis chronograph’s annular field of view examines the inner crown in the vicinity of the Sun. It divides the incoming light into two. On the one hand to the visible spectral range and on the other hand to the ultraviolet spectral line of the hydrogen Lyman-alpha. Near the Sun, the field of view is 1.7-3.0, at a distance it is 4.0-7.5 solar radius. SoloHI examines the spread of the solar wind. It peeks out on the side of the spacecraft. It looks towards the side of the solar disk by 25 degrees, with the edges of its field of view being at an angular distance between 5.4 to 45 degrees from the direction of the Sun. The five-piece lens projects the image onto 4K x 4K (exactly 3920 x 3920) resolution sensor consisting of four parts. Although there is no atmospheric scattered light in space, the camera photographing very faint solar wind objects in the visible spectral range had to be protected against the scattering of light reflected from the spacecraft’s solar cells.
The finished spacecraft
Along with the Parker and Stereo-A spacecraft orbiting around the Sun and other spacecrafts around the Earth (SDO, SOHO), SolO is launching a new onslaught to reveal the secrets of the Sun. We are still in the solar minimum. However, at Christmas, in addition to an object from the ending 24th solar cycle, two new active areas belonging to the 25th solar cycle were also visible on the Sun, one in each hemisphere. Solar activity is expected to rise slowly in 2020 and we will gain new knowledge with the new instruments.
The structure of a sunspot
Metis’ field of view (gray ring) at different solar distances
Addendum: A printed version of this article appeared in the March 2020 issue of AERO Magazine. After the completion of the manuscript, SolO was launched with an Atlas-V 411 booster from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 04:03 am on the 10 February 2020. Its equipments are working fine, waiting to be turned on when the spacecraft gets near to the Sun. In the meantime, it turned out that its orbit crosses the tail of the ATLAS comet that was discovered in the last days of 2019 (it crosses the ion beam on 31st May 2020 and the dust tail on 6th June 2020). Therefore 4 instruments were switched on, from which the most interesting results are expected.
ATLAS comet on the recording of STEREO-A spacecraft in the first days of June 2020
Within the framework of the collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, the Solar Orbiter satellite, the new “big thing” in plasma astrophysics, was launched at dawn on 10 February. A part of the project, Róbert Erdélyi, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation and professor of astronomy at the University of Sheffield and ELTE, will study the plasma outflow of the Sun at its ultraviolet wavelength.
Scientists first expressed the need for a satellite to study the Sun’s plasma eruptions in 1999, with the European Space Agency (ESA) planning a mission for 2008-2013. However, serious technical obstacles were encountered during the construction of the probe. One of the great challenges was the thermal insulation of the spacecraft which required several years of development so that the equipments will be able to tolerate heat up to 520 C.
The cooling range of the Solar Orbiter was eventually made like a “sandwich”, with several layers of titanium, coated with a special material called SolarBlack. The cover of spacecrafts is usually white because of the reflection of light, but the white color is turned gray by ultraviolet radiation, which significantly changes the thermal properties of the probe and can adversely affect its instruments. Due to its special protective cover, the Solar Orbiter has already been named Blackbird by scientists.
The Solar Orbiter’s footage will introduce never-before-seen sides of the Sun (Image source: satellite: ESA / ATG medialab; Sun: NASA / SDO / P. Testa (CfA))
The cover, which is able to withstand extreme heat, was needed to enable the Solar Orbiter to study the Sun up close. Scientists are curious about how the Sun creates and operates the giant protective bubble that surrounds the solar system, the heliosphere, and why this bubble changes from time to time. To define the Sun’s activity cycle, researchers think the key could be the Arctic territories of the Sun. The Solar Orbiter is the first spacecraft that can give a picture of this mysterious region.
Before the Solar Orbiter was launched for its seven-year mission, all satellites examining the Sun moved along the ecliptic, but now scientists can look at the Sun from above and see the poles as well. This is especially important because space weather events can only be predicted with a sufficiently accurate model of the Sun's global magnetic field.
It is hoped that the Solar Orbiter will provide data in unprecedented detail on the relationship between the Sun and the events happening in the heliosphere. Based on these measurements scientists will likely to be able to determine what the connection is between what is happening on the Sun's surface and what we observe near to Earth.
Róbert Erdélyi, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation and professor of astronomy at the University of Sheffield and at ELTE Institutional Excellence Program for the Higher Education is the member of the SPICE Team in the project. SPICE is the instrument that will study the plasma outflow of the Sun at its ultraviolet wavelength, i.e. the 4th state of matter of the material of the universe. The instrument plays an important role in exploring and predicting the development of focal points of solar flares, so-called active regions. Furthermore, due to the unique orbit of the satellite, the task of the SPICE camera is to study the physical conditions of the numerous collimated magnetic plasma jets forming on the surface of the Sun.
The SPICE instrument was developed by an international consortium led by the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL). At the celebration following the successful launch of the satellite on 10 February 2020, researchers at RAL in England informed the public about the mission of the solar satellite. Róbert Erdélyi in his keynote opening speech emphasized that the satellite helps to understand the flow of matter from the poles of the Sun that can speed up to thousands of km /s and is called the solar wind, which is a determining factor in our space weather.
At the celebration following the launch, the head of the UK Science and Technology Council, Róbert Erdélyi (second from left), the chief engineer and the senior engineer of SPICE cut a cake modeling the Solar Orbiter.
According to the researchers, we can expect preliminary results as early as May, but full, scientific processing of the data is expected to begin in November 2021.
The Solar Orbiter satellite has been launched successfully at about 5am CET today.
We are pleased to share some moments of the celebration at RAL (Rutherford Appleton Lab, UK) that took place after Robertus delivered the keynote science talk about SOLO. RAL led the development of the SPICE instrument on-board the satellite. SPICE will observe the Sun in EUV with fantastic details. We are eagerly waiting for the polar images of the Sun, to be taken first time in history, that SOLO will provide after its cruising phase.
The QuEST for Sunspot Dynamics goes on! (The QuEST III)
The QuEST goes on! And episode 3 is already here! John Evershed discovered that the light coming from one side of sunspot penumbrae is shifted to the blue, whereas the light from the opposide side is shifted to the red. This phenomenon is known as the Evershed effect.
Don't miss the story of the Eversheds at Kodaikanal Solar Observatory in the third episode of our cartoons video series: "The QuEST for Sunspot Dynamics"
John and Mary Evershed spent most of their career at the Kodaikanal Observatory, where they discovered the existence of gas motions in the penumbra of sunspots.
The consortium of the European Solar Telescope (EST) met last week in Prague to discuss the roadmap towards the future implementation of EST and assess the progress of the EST-related projects. The meetings, held over three days at the Czech Academy of Sciences, brought together a significant representation of the European Solar Physics community in the field of high spatial resolution.
Members of the PRE-EST project shared the latest strategic and technical developments related to EST. This project, funded by the EU H2020 programme to develop a detailed plan for the implementation of EST, has worked intensively during the last year to consolidate the EST design, including the adoption of an 800-mm adaptive secondary mirror to ensure that EST is equipped with the most advanced technology. All works have a clear aim in sight: having a detailed Construction Plan by 2022.
SOLARNET H2020 also held its first annual meeting in Prague. The EU-funded project, which continues the work started by its predecessor under the same name, aspires to integrate the major European infrastructures in the field of high-resolution solar physics. During this first meeting, a comprehensive review of the annual activities was made: networking activities and schools, mobility programmes to ensure access to research infrastructures, and joint research activities.
The meetings were supported by the Czech Republic Ministry of Youth, Education and Sport under the large research infrastructure project LM2018095. The commitment of the Czech Republic with EST was recently reaffirmed in the last update of the Czech National Infrastructure Roadmap, which prioritised and consolidated the Czech participation in the construction and operation of the European Solar Telescope.
EAST General Assembley, Charles University, Prague
The European Association for Solar Telescopes also held its annual meeting. After approving the minutes of ESAT GA 2019, reporting on EAST activities, EAST-TAC, Dr. Salvo Gugliemino (Università di Catania, Italy) was elected as the new EAST Executive Director (in substitution of Dr. Marco Stangalini).
Founded in 2006, the association is now formed by 26 institutions from 18 countries (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and UK). The goal of the association is to ensure access of European solar astronomers to world class ground-based high-resolution observing facilities. EAST is also the promoter of the European Solar Telescope.
The EAST president highlighted that the role of EAST, at the moment, is to guarantee continuity. Indeed, all the relevant activities are actually carried out within the framework of the EST related projects like SOLARNET and PRE-EST. For this reason, the activities carried out within EAST are very limited.
Dr. Rolf Schlichenmaier reported on the SOLARNET activities (see attached presentation) with a particular focus on the activities carried out during the first year of the project (i.e. milestones, deliverables). Following this presentation, the EAST TAC activities were discussed. The EAST Time Allocation Committee (EAST TAC) allocates the observing time of the SOLARNET ACCESS program, and the International Time Program (ITP) of the International Scientific Committee. During the presentation, Prof. Dan Kiselman also reported on the recent first call for computation time, for which only a limited number of proposals were received.
Given the difficulties linked to the major tasks and peculiarities of ground-based solar physics and data calibration, there followed a discussion on the possible role of SOLARNET in providing assistance to the community. It is agreed the feedbacks from the community are important to take actions aimed at optimizing the scientific return from the facilities currently available.
EST SAG, Charles University in Prague
Members of the European Solar Telescope consortium are in Prague attending several meetings to monitor the progress of the project.
The PRE-EST Executive Committee, the EST Science Advisory Group - the team responsible for developing science cases and identifying the key scientific requirements of the telescope- met this morning, as did the Project Office team. In the afternoon, the European Association for Solar Telescopes held its annual General Assembly.
Our Foundation’s member Marianna Korsós defended her PhD
The title of thesis: Developing a Novel Flare Prediction Method Based on the Debrecen Sunspot Data Catalogue
The continuous interaction between the Sun and our planet is made up of a series of complex events called, in short, space weather. Knowing and understanding the physical background of space weather is now essential to protect humanity and our highly advanced technosphere from high-energy rays that occasionally erupt from the Sun and pose a significant risk, as well as from high-velocity charged particle streams.
During the PhD studies, a new prediction method was developed to track the pre-flare dynamic changes of delta-type Active Regions (ARs) in hourly resolution at the photosphere level using the analysis of the SOHO / MDI-Debrecen sunspot catalog. The two new proxy parameters (G_M and WG_M) follow the temporal change of the horizontal gradient of the line-of-sight magnetic field in a delta-type sunspot between umbras with close but opposite magnetic polarities, from the moment of their appearance to the eruption of the flare. The detailed analysis of the temporal development of the two newly introduced parameters helped to identify new and highly characteristic pre-flare behaviors, i.e., flare precursors. Further statistical studies have shown that these flare precursors are suitable for estimating (i) the strength of the expected strongest flare outburst and (ii) the time of the expected flare outburst for eruptive events larger than M5. In addition, they are capable of estimating whether (iii) an eruptive event greater than M5 is expected in the next 18 hours.
In addition, two other important predictive parameters have been introduced in order to be able to pre-filter ARs whose development is worth following and applying the above-mentioned prognostic procedure to them. The first introduced parameter is the daily average of the horizontal gradient of the line-of-sight magnetic field (G_DS), while the second one is the separation parameter (S_L-F). These two pre-filter parameters characterize how mixed the opposite magnetic polarities of ARs are. A change in the magnitude of the two parameters over time can predict 24 hours in advance (or less likely, albeit up to 48 hours in advance) whether or not the expected high-energy flare outburst will be accompanied by a CME eruption that is dangerous to us.
3rd UK Solar Orbiter Workshop, St Andrews
We are pleased to announce that the 3rd UK Solar Orbiter Workshop took place at the University of St Andrews between the 13-14th January 2020. The meeting occurred just before the launch of Solar Orbiter in February 2020..
The Workshop took place in the School of Physics, part of the University of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland in Lecture Theatre C. Prof Erdélyi participated at the meeting and discussed some future collaborations. In particular, on his way, he stopped by at Durham University to discuss the future and further development of the SAMM (Solar Activity Magnetic Monitor) telescope at GSO (Gyula, Bay Zoltán Solar Observatory) of SAMNet (Solar Activity Monitor Network).
Abstracts can be found on the meeting webpage at: here.
EST Calendar 2020
Dear EST lovers, The new EST Calendar 2020 has arrived!
You can download it from our website HERE. You can upload the calendar to your personal social networks, tag us, and use the hashtag ESTCalendar2020.
The subject of the calendars this year are the EST Science Targets. In the calendar we have tried to showcase the most interesting science cases that the teams working for EST are performing at the moment, and how EST will help to improve their results.
The outer atmosphere of the Sun, which extends outward for several million kilometers beyond the visible solar surface, is called the corona. Although the temperature in the core of the Sun is as high as 15 million degrees, it drops to a mere 5700 degrees at the solar surface (photosphere). Above the photosphere, however, the temperature starts to increase again with height, reaching millions of degrees or more in the corona. What causes this coronal-temperature increase is one of the biggest yet-to-be-solved mysteries in modern astrophysics, because the temperature increases as one goes further and further away from the heat source instead of dropping. To give an analogy, you expect to get colder as you move away from a hot oven, not hotter. But such a “temperature increase with distance from source” is just what happens in the corona of our start, the Sun.
Solar spicules, originally discovered by Father Secchi in 1877, are small-scale (~200-500 km wide) magnetized geyser-like jets observed ubiquitously in the solar chromosphere, the interface between the photosphere and corona. These jets are narrow columns of plasma that dynamically shoot upward to heights of about 5,000 km above the solar surface. It is estimated that at any given moment in time there are about a million spicules in the solar atmosphere, forming a forest of thin and magnetized plasma ejecta. Many solar physicists suspect that spicules serve as a conduit for mass and energy to flow from the lower atmosphere to the corona. In other words, spicules may be the key to solving the coronal heating problem. It is also conjectured that if about 1 % of spicular material is able to leave the Sun in the form of solar wind that would be sufficient to provide the plasma that is filling the interplanetary space between the Sun and planets. However, it is still unclear whether they provide sufficient energy to sustain the million-degree hot corona and drive the solar wind.
A composite image of the solar corona obtained during the 2017 total solar eclipse. The solar disk part is a 171 Å image taken by the AIA telescope of NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft. The off-limb part shows a composite and enhanced image of the coronal red line and green line taken by two telescopes of China’s Peking University and Yunnan Observatories, respectively (Chen et al. 2018, Astrophys. J.).
Despite the importance of these magnetized jets, their formation process is still poorly understood. Many hypotheses have been proposed to explain the origin of spicules, such as the passage of shock waves with a major contribution from colleagues from Eotvos University (De Pontieu, Erdelyi and James, Nature, 2004), upward forces associated with magnetized plasma wave propagation, magnetic forces amplified through interactions between neutral and charged particles, warps in two-dimensional sheet-like structures, propulsion by huge magnetized plasma swirls (another major contribution lead by our ELTE professor (Nature Communication 2019), “reconnection” between oppositely-directed magnetic fields, and so on. To date however, there is still no consensus in the astrophysical community on the spicule-production mechanism. A major impediment to our understanding of the formation process of spicules is simply that they are very hard to see well: they are so small (narrow) that they are near the limit of what our earlier telescopes have been able to resolve. That is, earlier telescopes were of insufficient resolution and sensitivity for us to observe spicules well enough to sort through which of the many ideas might be correct. Now, new high spatial resolution and high time-cadence observations have unveiled groundbreaking insight into the generation mechanism of many spicules, and into the possible contribution of spicules to coronal heating.
Prof Erdelyi, the Head of SP2RC research group at SoMaS, Sheffield University and at Dept of Astronomy, Eotvos University said “The current state-of-the-art observations gave an entirely new opportunity for us to look into the origin of these plasma ejecta that puzzle astrophysicists well over a century. Progess was made by bringing together observeres, modellers and theoreticians. We cannot now await to move even further when ever larger telescopes, like the Danile K. Innouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) next year, or in the near future the European Solar Telescope (EST) will be available with even higher resolution capabilities.”
The present study on this highly-debated and fundamental astrophysical topic of solar spicules was carried out by an international team led by Dr. T Samanta and Prof. H Tian from Peking University, China. Other team members included a mix of junior and senior scientist. For the membership of the international research team please see the author list. The team performed observations with the 1.6-m Goode Solar Telescope (GST) at the Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO), the world’s largest-aperture and highest-resolution solar telescope that is currently operational (Fig. 2). The telescope observed copious spicules at ultra-high spatial resolution (~45 km) and high cadence (~3.5 s) using the Hydrogen-alpha (Hα) spectral line, and simultaneously measured the magnetic fields in the solar photosphere at high-spatial resolution (~150 km).
The Goode Solar Telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory (Image courtesy of Wenda Cao and Philippe Henarejos).
Their observations show that the dynamic interaction of magnetic fields with different polarities is responsible for the generation of many spicules. Spicules mostly originate from the boundaries of the so-called magnetic network (a grid-like pattern on the solar surface where magnetic field is highly concentrated into vertical tubes). Bursts of spicules are often accompanied by the emergence of new magnetic elements near the spicule footpoints, where the newly emerging magnetic elements have a polarity opposite to the dominant polarity of the already existing magnetic network (Fig.3). Although small-scale magnetic flux emerges ubiquitously in the quiet-Sun, only when it is close to the strong existing network fields (often within 3000 km) does it generate spicules. Magnetic flux cancellation (the decrease of magnetic flux with time when two opposite-polarity flux elements run into each other), a signature of magnetic field line reconnection, is clearly identified at the footpoints of some spicules.
Left: H&alpha blue wing image showing solar spicules (the elongated dark features). Right: Two examples show that spicules originate from the interaction between opposite-polarity magnetic fields. The overlain blue and red contours represent magnetic fields with opposite polarities (Samanta et al. 2019, Science). Data courtesy: BBSO/GST.
These observations strongly support the hypothesis that the process of magnetic reconnection drives many spicules. The new study found this general progression of events leading to spicules: Weak magnetic fields appear frequently near the existing large-scale network fields. Occasionally, small-scale weak fields of polarity opposite that of the network will grow outward and migrate toward the network, where they reconnect with the adjacent or overlying network field in the upper photosphere or low chromosphere, and this produces the spicules.
To learn about the relationship between spicules and the hot solar corona, the team matched the BBSO spicules observations with simultaneous observations from the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) on board NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft. From this joint data set, they found that it is very common for spicules to be heated to typical coronal temperatures. Coronal emission (visible in images of the 171 A passband that is sensitive to emission from million-degree materials) clearly appears at the top of the observed spicules (Fig.4). While connections between some spicules and hot corona have been seen before (e.g., De Pontieu et al. 2011), the team’s cutting-edge observations provide the best evidence yet that magnetic reconnection in the partially ionized lower solar atmosphere drives spicules and produces hot plasma flows into the corona, thus providing a direct link between magnetic activities in the lower atmosphere and coronal heating. Advanced computer simulations and theoretical investigations based on these new groundbreaking observational results should be performed in the future to help solving the long-standing coronal heating problem.
Two examples showing that coronal emission appears at the top of spicules. Each panel shows a Hα blue wing (grey) image overlain with the simultaneously taken AIA 171 A (yellow) image (Samanta et al. 2019, Science). Data courtesy: NASA/SDO and BBSO/GST.
T. Samanta, H. Tian, V. Yurchyshyn, H. Peter, W. Cao, A. Sterling, R. Erdélyi, K. Ahn, S. Feng, D. Utz, D. Banerjee, Y. Chen, Science 366, 890 (2019).
Y. Chen, H. Tian, Y. Su, et al., Astrophys. J. 856, 21 (2018).
B. De Pontieu, S. W. McIntosh, M. Carlsson, et al., Science 331, 55 (2011).
B De Pontieu, R. Erdelyi, S. P. James, Nature, 430, 536 (2004).
Notes: The journal Nature Communications should be credited as the source of the research article. All images can be used if proper credits are given. For further scientific information, please contact: Professor Robertus Erdélyi (Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation, email: email@example.com, or Dept. of Astronomy, Eötvös University, Budapest (Hungary), on email firstname.lastname@example.org. For further media information please contact: Dr Bernadett Belucz, Public Affairs Manager, Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation, Gyula (Hungary), on email: email@example.com.
Prof R. Erdelyi visited a number of Chines universities and research institutions
Prof R. Erdelyi visited a number of Chines universities and research institutions (USTC, Hefei; NAOC, Beijing; Peking University; Ningbo University, Wuhan University) as part of a CAS PIFI award to collaborate on MHD wavs, jets, spicules, vortexes and nonlinear fluid waves.
He delivered a number of seminars and colloquia during this period. One of the great outcomes of this visit was the 1st SAMNet meeting on 23 December 2019 at Hefei University, where colleagues from a many of the major Chines solar observatories represented themselve. A MoU was formulated and modus operandi established towards manifesting the Chinese nodes of SAMNet. RE also visited Wuhan University to further discuss the development of a tuneable MOF with solar applications.
The kick-off event for the Space Weather Innovation, Measurement, Modelling and Risk Study (one of the Wave 2 programmes of the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund) took place in the Wolfson Library of the Royal Society on Tuesday November 26th. Seventy-five people attended the event, representing a range of academic institutions, as well as representatives from industry, government and public sector research establishments such as the UK Met Office.
SWIMMR (Space Weather Instrumentation, Measurement, Modelling and Risk) is a £20 million, four-year programme that will improve the UK's capabilities for space weather monitoring and prediction. There will be an emphasis on space radiation, which can affect aircraft systems, changes in the upper atmosphere, affecting communications, and surges in the current in power grids and other ground-level systems. These are significant risks to the infrastructures we rely on in daily life and are recorded in the UK's National Risk Register.
SWIMMR will develop and deploy new instruments, models and services to support the UK space weather community and the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre. This programme will significantly add to the UK's capability to predict and mitigate the hazards of space weather, as well as providing a basis for wider international collaboration over the four year lifetime of the proposal and beyond.
The funding forms part of the Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF), delivered by the UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) to drive an increase in high quality multi- and interdisciplinary research and innovation. It will ensure that UKRI's investment links up effectively with government research priorities and opportunities. The programme is a collaboration led by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) with NERC and supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Department for Transport and the Ministry of Defence. The programme has been outlined in close association with the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre (MOSWOC).
The programme will be delivered through a series of activities managed by either STFC or NERC. The STFC funding component will be delivered via a mixture of open calls for research projects and commissioned work under standard public sector procurement rules. Both types of activity will directly help improve the ability of the Met Office to predict space weather events so as to reduce their potential impact.
Prof R. Erdely delivered the Science talk: MHD Wave Coupling in the Solar Atmosphere - Waves, Vortexes, Instabilities.
Topics were discussed:
Solar Orbiter status;
SPICE instrument status;
MISO development status;
Science WG report (science studies, dumbbell usage etc.);
EIS/IRIS/EVE cross-calibration campaigns.
The SUCOSIP process starts for the evaluation of a possible location for EST at ORM
A proposal has been presented to the International Scientific Committee of the Observatorios de Canarias (CCI) to consider a location near the Swedish Solar Telescope (ORM, La Palma) as a preferential site.
Proposed EST site at Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, near the Swedish Solar Telescope (lowermost facility) and the William Herschel Telescope (at the top left). Photo: Gabriel Pérez (IAC)
The EST project presented a proposal to the International Scientific Committee of the Observatorios de Canarias (CCI) to consider a location near the Swedish Solar Telescope (SST) at the Observatorio del Roque de Los Muchachos (ORM, La Palma) as a preferential site for the telescope, following the decision adopted by the EST project Board on October 4th. The proposal was presented to the SUCOSIP (SUb-COmmittee on SIte Properties of the International Scientific Committee) during its meeting in La Laguna on November 13th, 2019. SUCOSIP is a committee of experts which, among other tasks, supervises the impact that proposed new infrastructures may have on existing facilities and recommends actions that could minimise this impact.
SUCOSIP acknowledged the excellence of the proposed site for solar observations, as has been demonstrated by the outstanding performance of the SST. The group recommended that the EST project perform further analyses to study the influence of the EST building and associated facilities on the nearby William Herschel Telescope, taking into account the particular wind profiles at the observatory. The impact on other minor surrounding facilities should also be analysed. SUCOSIP concluded that it is most important to carry out parallel solar site testing measurements at the SST and the Vacuum Tower Telescope (VTT), located at Teide Observatory (OT, Tenerife) using the Wide-Field Wavefront Sensor installed by the Stockholm University at these two telescopes. The outcome of such parallel measurements will be most interesting for the diurnal characterisation of both observatories.
SUCOSIP presented these recommendations to the CCI during its 82nd meeting, held in the University of La Laguna on November 14th, 2019. The CCI agreed with the recommended actions. The process of evaluation will require further iterations in SUCOSIP's future meetings before a final decision by the CCI can be taken.
Meeting on Future Instruments for the Telescopes at the Observatorios de Canarias
Scientists and engineers from the European Solar Telescope participated in FITOC2019, the meeting on Future Instruments for the Telescopes at the Observatorios de Canarias.
Scientists and engineers from the European Solar Telescope have participated in FITOC2019, the meeting on Future Instruments for the Telescopes at the Observatorios de Canarias. The event was held in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain) from 11 to 13 November, and gathered more than 80 international experts.
Mary Barreto, EST Technical Director, was one of the speakers. Barreto gave an update on EST ongoing work, which at this point focuses mainly on the design and construction plan, and the site selection. Barreto also emphasized the international aspect of this project, in which 26 European research institutions are involved, "making EST a truly European venture".
The day before, EST engineer Icíar Montilla, from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, had presented the main projects on adaptive optics being developed by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, including the Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics system (MCAO) for EST, designed to correct the turbulence for a wide range of observing elevations, from the zenith down to very near the horizon, providing high spatial resolution observations in the visible over large fields of view. During her talk, she dubbed the MCAO as "one of the most challenging AO systems ever built, with uniform correction over a field of view of 1 arcminute at 500nm running at 2KHz". Earlier, EST researcher Dan Kiselman, from the Institute for Solar Physics (Stockholm University), called the Swedish Solar Telescope "a trailblazer for EST", and listed the lessons learnt from this telescope, one of EST's older sisters together with THEMIS and GREGOR.
The objective of the meeting was to examine the plans for existing and future instrumentation installed in the Canary Island observatories, whether for night observations, including infrared and high energy astrophysics, or solar physics. Key issues for discussions were the future scientific direction of the observatories, possible "blind spots" and overlaps between instrumentation, synergies between current and prospective facilities, and the specific observational strengths of Observatorios de Canarias.
For more information, check out the meeting website at: here.
The European Solar Telescope participates in the ESFRI Workshop on the Future of Research Infrastructures
As one of the infrastructures included on the ESFRI Roadmap 2016, the European Solar Telescope attended ESFRI workshop on the Future of Research Infrastructures in the European Research Area.
From 6 to 8 November, La Palma (Spain) hosted a wokshop on the Future of Research Infrastructures in the European Research Area. Organised by ESFRI, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, the meeting gathered more than 100 representatives of major European science infrastructures, including the European Solar Telescope - which was included on the ESFRI Roadmap in 2016.
Intended as a comprehensive reflection process on the current challenges and future role of existing and future European research infrastructures, the meeting was co-organised by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, the EST consortium coordinator. During his welcome speech, Rafael Rebolo, IAC Director, emphasized the need for the European Solar Telescope to become a reality and to function as a global infrastructure, open not only to European researchers but also to Asian scientists. Extending cooperation outside European borders was also emphasized by Adam Tyson, Head of the Unit for Research and Industrial Infrastructures of the European Commission. Tyson added that research infrastructures "need a strategic vision that goes beyond the area in which they work, generating connections and providing services that help researchers face today's major problems such as climate change or digital transition".
Topics covered during the workshop included the integration of infrastructures in the European Open Science Cloud, financing models, good practices, synergies with other national programmes and infrastructures, and the role of European research infrastructures in enhancing the innovation and competitiveness of the European Research Area. The discussions and reflections will be used to write a prospective white paper on the future of research infrastructures in Europe.
ESFRI, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, is a strategic instrument to develop European scientific integration and to strengthen its international outreach. Its mission is to support a coherent and strategy-led approach to policy-making on research infrastructures in Europe, and to facilitate multilateral initiatives leading to their better use and development, at EU and international level. It was established in 2002 with a mandate from the EU Council.
An international team of scientists led by Prof Robertus Erdélyi (Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation [HSPF], Eötvös University (Budapest) and University of Sheffield (UK)) have discovered previously undetected observational evidence of frequent energetic wave pulses with the size of the UK, transporting energy from the solar surface to the higher solar atmosphere.
Magnetic plasma waves and pulses have been widely suggested as one of the key mechanisms which could answer the long-standing question of why the temperature of the solar atmosphere rises dramatically from thousands to millions of degrees as you move away from the solar surface.
There have been many theories put forward, including some developed at HSPF, Eötvös and Sheffield Universities – for example, heating the plasma by magnetic waves or magnetic plasma – but observational validation of the ubiquity of a suitable energy transport mechanism has proved challenging until now.
By developing innovative approaches, astronomers at the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation, Department of Astronomy of Eötvös University (Budapest, Hungary), applied mathematicians at the Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Centre (SP2RC) in the School of Maths and Statistics at the University of Sheffield, and the University of Science and Technology of China have discovered unique observational evidence of plentiful energetic wave pulses, named after the Nobel laureate Hannes Alfvén, in the solar atmosphere.
These short-lived Alfvén pulses have been found to be generated by prevalent photospheric plasma swirls several times the size of Hungary, which are suggested to have a population of at least 150,000 in the solar photosphere at any moment of time.
Professor Robertus Erdélyi (a.k.a. von Fáy-Siebenbürgen), said: “Swirling motions are everywhere in the Universe, from sinking water in domestic taps with a size of centimeters, to tornadoes on Earth and on the Sun, solar jets and spiral galaxies with a size of up to 520,000 light years. This work has shown, for the first time, the observational evidence that ubiquitous swirls in the solar atmosphere could generate short-lived Alfvén pulses.”
“The generated Alfvén pulses easily penetrate the solar atmosphere along cylinder-like magnetic flux tubes, a form of magnetism a bit like trees in a forest. The pulses could travel all the way upward and reach the top of the solar chromospheric layers, or, even beyond.”
“Alfvén modes are currently very hard to observe directly, because they do not cause any local intensity concentrations or rarefactions as they make their journey through a magnetised plasma. They are hard to be observationally distinguished from some other types of magnetic plasma modes, like the well-known transversal magnetic plasma waves, often called kink modes.
“The energy flux carried by the Alfvén pulses we detected now are estimated to be more than 10 times higher than that needed for heating the local upper solar chromosphere”, said Dr Jiajia Liu, postdoctoral research associate.”
Illustration of the Alfvén-pulse connection between plasma swirls observed in the solar photosphere and chromosphere. The photospheric and chromospheric images were recorded with the Hinode satellite, while colored lines between are visualizing the presence of magnetic field lines from our realistic numerical simulations using the Sheffield Advanced Code (SAC). Red and blue curves are swirls detected by the Automated Swirl Detection Algorithm (ASDA) developed by us. Credits: Liu et al. Nature Communications, 10:3504, 2019
“The chromosphere is a relatively thin layer between the solar surface and the extremely hot corona. The solar chromosphere appears as a red ring around the Sun during total solar eclipses.”
Professor Erdélyi added: “It has been a fascinating question for the scientific community for a long while – how the Sun and many other stars supply energy and mass to their upper atmospheres. Our results, as part of an exciting collaboration with a leading Chinese university, involving some of the very best early-career scientists like Drs Jiajia Liu, Chris Nelson and Ben Snow, are an important step forward in addressing the supply of the needed non-thermal energy for solar and astrophysical plasma heating.”
Visualisation of the analytical model in the Supplementary Material of Liu et al. Nature Communications, 10:3504, 2019. The gray cylinder represents a magnetic flux tube while green lines are magnetic field lines. Regions with the purple color in the field lines highlight the location of the propagating magnetic Alfvén pulse. Different colors on the central disk represent different local plasma densities. The figure illustrates how a magnetic Alfvén plasma pulse will show up as the observed chromospheric swirls. An online animation of this figure is available.Credits: Liu et al. Nature Communications, 10:3504, 2019
“We believe, these Hungary-sized or even bigger photospheric magnetic plasma swirls are also very promising candidates not just for energy but also for mass transportation between the lower and upper layers of the solar atmosphere. Our future research with my colleagues at SP2RC will now focus on this new puzzle.
The research, published by Nature Inc., involved postdoctoral researchers Drs Jiajia Liu, Chris Nelson and Ben Snow from the University of Sheffield in collaboration with Professor Yuming Wang from the University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei.”
Notes: The discovery has been published as an article in the prestigious journal of Nature Communications. Competition for publication in this journal is intense as only break-through results from a broad range of sciences are considered. The journal Nature Communications should be credited as the source of the research article. All images can be used if proper credits are given. For further scientific information, please contact:
Professor Robertus Erdélyi (Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dept. of Astronomy, Eötvös University, Budapest (Hungary), on email email@example.com. For further media information please contact: Dr Bernadett Belucs, Public Affairs Manager, Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation, Gyula (Hungary), on email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Topics were discussed as:
Discuss the revised version of Part III of the SRD;
Finalise EST SRD update 2019;
Planning for first meeting of SAG and EST project office at IAC.
PRE-EST Extraordinary Board Meeting
Topics were discussed as:
National Roadmaps update and future perspectives;
Approval of the Contribution for the Preparatory Phase of EST;
On Friday and Saturday 27-28 September 2019, the European Researchers' Night was celebrated across the continent. All over Europe, scientists and engineers took the streets and opened their laboratories to the European citizens.
The European Solar Telescope joined the effort as well, and events were organised in ten European cities: Athens (Greece), Budapest (Hungary), Catania and Rome (Italy), Dublin (Ireland), Granada and La Laguna (Spain), Ondřejov (Czech Republic). Poprad (Slovakia), and Stockholm (Sweden). Children and adults alike participated in solar observations, attended conferences and workhops and had the opportunity to meet EST scientists and engineers, learn about solar physics research, and discover the opportunities the EST will open.
The Department of Astronomy at Eötvos Lorànd University is organizing a numbers of exciting open programmes for the European Researchers' Night. From noon onwards, visitors will have the opportunity to observe the Sun with optical and H-alpha telescopes (subject to suitable weather). Detailed explanations will be provided by department staff, who will also answer any questions about astronomy that visitors may have. In addition a series of shows will be organized in the late afternoon in the Planetarium, and Dr. Bernadett Belucz will give an educational talk covering stellar constellations and their history, the Sun and planets, star formation, Hungarian research in astronomy, and the European Solar Telescope.
Prof R. Erdelyi visited a number of Chines universities and research institutions (USTC, Hefei; NAOC, Beijing; Peking University; Ningbo University) to collaborate on MHD wavs, jets, spicules, vortexes and nonlinear fluid waves.
He delivered a number of seminars and colloquia during this period. One of the great outcomes of this visit was a paper published in Science on spicule formation. The paper is available here.
Spicules are small jets of plasma from the surface of the Sun that last a few minutes. Around a million are occurring at any moment, even during periods of low solar activity. The mechanism responsible for launching spicules remains unknown, as is their contribution to heating the solar corona. Samanta et al. observed emerging spicules and the magnetic fields in the adjacent solar surface. They found that many spicules appear a few minutes after a patch of reverse-polarity magnetic field and that the overlying corona is heated shortly afterward. This result provides evidence that magnetic reconnection can generate spicules, which then transfer energy to the corona.
Spicules are rapidly evolving fine-scale jets of magnetized plasma in the solar chromosphere. It remains unclear how these prevalent jets originate from the solar surface and what role they play in heating the solar atmosphere. Using the Goode Solar Telescope at the Big Bear Solar Observatory, we observed spicules emerging within minutes of the appearance of opposite-polarity magnetic flux around dominant-polarity magnetic field concentrations. Data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory showed subsequent heating of the adjacent corona. The dynamic interaction of magnetic fields (likely due to magnetic reconnection) in the partially ionized lower solar atmosphere appears to generate these spicules and heat the upper solar atmosphere.
Prof Robertus Erdelyi delivered a talk on SAMNet - Solar Activity Monitor Network - A ground-based MOF network supporting space weather nowcasting.
With the advent of new facilities such as the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) and the proposed European Solar Telescope (EST), ground-based solar observations are on the cusp of experiencing a renaissance. These new facilities will probe the Sun at spectral, spatial and temporal resolutions beyond that previously possible as a result of new technical advances. There will also be a much-enhanced capacity for spectropolarimetric studies, which will need developments in our modelling capability and will open up opportunities for new instrumentation. The aim of this 3-day workshop was to bring together experts in observations, modelling and theory to prepare for first light from DKIST, which is expected later this year. In addition to two days of scientific discussion, there was also a third day dedicated to discussing next generation instrumentation, in preparation for EST and the 2nd generation instrumentation for DKIST. In particular, the aim of the third day was to identify and discuss novel materials, designs and approaches to observing the Sun that could be used for both ground-based and potentially also space-based observing. Therefore the workshop was of great interest to all of us working in the area of fundamental research, modelling and instrument developments.
The workshop will be held at MSSL from 23 - 25 July 2019; see Venue page for map and access details.
Space Climate 7- The Future of Solar Activity
The Space Climate Symposia Series brings together leading experts in the field of space climate.
The objectives of the Symposia are three-fold:
to better understand the causes and effects of long-term variations in solar activity, with focus on the solar magnetic dynamo, and how the magnetic field it generates produces the various phenomena collectively making up solar activity: e.g., sunspots, flares, coronal mass ejections, coronal holes, high-speed solar wind streams etc;
to better understand how the varying solar activity affects the near-Earth space, atmosphere and even climate, on time scales ranging from a few solar rotations up to several millennia;
to better understand the intricacies of the various datasets used to make inferences about long-term solar variations: e.g., the sunspot number time series and geomagnetic observations.
You can find the daily program in PDF here and list of posters in PDF version here.
Robertus Erdélyi and Marianna Korsos participated at Space Climate 7 symposia, you can read the abstract here.
The Royal Astronomical Society is proud to present the National Astronomy Meeting, to be held at Lancaster University in July 2019. NAM2019 will bring together hundreds of delegates from the UK astronomy community and will feature a wide-ranging scientific programme in parallel with exciting outreach and cultural events.
A formal welcome to the conference was given by the President of the RAS, Prof. Mike Cruise, and the Vice Chancellor of Lancaster University, Prof. Mark E. Smith.
In addition to the talks and posters, they have a range of plenary talks throughout the week. More details can be found here.
Full details of all of the oral presentations in the parallel sessions can also be downloaded as a single PDF, available here.
Noémi Zsámberger had a talk: MHD waves in multi-layered waveguides ( abstract)
Solar Physics Summer School at Raman Science Center, Leh (Indian Institute of Astrophysics)
The influence of the Sun on the Earth and on our technology is modulated by the solar activity cycle. The summer school focussed on the Physics of the Sun and Sun – Earth connection. The one week long international school introduced and trained the PhD students to the state-of-the-art theoretical and data analysis techniques. The techniques taught in the school have enhance the scientific outcome from various space as well as ground based observatories, with particular emphasis on Aditya-L1 of the Indian Space Research Organization.
This was a truely international School. The School's programme consisted of a set of specialised lectures (Robertus gave 3 pectures: MHD, MHD Waves and Solar AMgnto-Seismology) in advanced topics in solar physics, as well as hands-on and transferrable skills sessions in solar data analysis.
Approximately 35 students were lucky to be there after a competitive process and online application system. The school lasted for six wonderful days, and each participant was provided with local hospitality and some travel support.
We have also visited Pagong Lake for the NLST site and possible for a SAMNet node and discussed with scientists seeing and other environmental issues.
The Science Advisory Group updates the science requirement document
The Science Advisory Group presented a draft of the final version in May 2019. One of the main goals of the document is to identify critical science requirements for the telescope.
The SAG was constituted in November 2017 by the General Assembly of EAST and the Board of the PRE-EST project. It was charged with the task of providing a final statement on the science requirements.
Based on the conceptual design, the update of the Science Requirement Document (SRD) takes into account recent technical and scientific developments, to ensure that EST provides significant advancement beyond the current state-of-the-art.
The SRD develops the top-level science objectives of EST into individual science cases. Identifying critical science requirements is one of its main goals. Those requirements will define the capabilities of EST and the post-focus instrument suite. The technical requirements for the final design of EST will be derived from the SRD.
EST science cases. In May 2019, the SAG presented a draft of the final version of the SRD. Such a draft is currently under discussion.
The science cases collected in the SRD are not intended to cover all the science questions to be addressed with EST, but rather to provide a precise overview of the capabilities that will make EST a competitive state-of-the-art telescope, one to push the boundaries of our knowledge over the next few decades.
Those science cases are then translated into observing programmes describing the type of detailed observations needed to solve specific science problems. An effort is being made to define the parameters of the required observations as accurately as possible, taking into account both present capabilities and technological developments expected inthe near future.
As the top-level goal of EST is to understand small-scale processes in the solar atmosphere, it is designed to be a solar ‘microscope’. EST should be capable of reaching the highest possible image quality and spatial resolution. The final design must be optimised for the highest possible photon flux, with the premises of securing polarimetric accuracy and sensitivity.
The Flagship Event was held on April 11-12 at the Palais des Academies (Brussels, Belgium), and the IAU Amateur Astronomy Day took place the following day. A representation of EST participated in the celebrations.
The International Astronomical Union was founded exactly one century ago, in 1919. To commemorate this milestone, the IAU has organized a number of activities worldwide, with the motto “IAU 100 Years: Under One Sky”.
The Flagship Event was held on April 11-12 at the Palais des Academies (Brussels, Belgium). Prominent astronomers, astronauts, policy makers, and high-level representatives gave talks with a focus on the role of astronomy for diplomacy, peace, development, education, and the arts, as well as the involvement of the high-tech industry.
On April 13, the IAU Amateur Astronomy Day took place at the same venue. The event acknowledged the contributions of amateur astronomers to the advancement of astronomy. There were talks showcasing collaborative projects between professional and amateur astronomers, and parallel sessions where amateur astronomical associations exposed their work and history.
As one of the IAU100 Organisational Associates, the EST project was invited to attend the Flagship Event and the IAU Amateur Astronomy Day. A representation of EST from RoCS/UiO (Norway) and IAA-CSIC (Spain) participated in those meetings, advocating for EST and networking with other astronomers as well as with the amateur community. Amateur astronomers in particular showed a big interest in solar observations and enthusiasm in this pan-European project.
Venue: Spanish Research Council (CSIC) Brussels Delegation, Rue du Trône 62
Rolf Schlichenmaier, the coordinator of SOLARNET welcomed all the participants. The SOLARNET project officer, Keji Adumno, was also present. The coordinator gratefully acknowledged the help of the Project Officer during the grant agreement preparation phase.
All presentations from the coordinator and the work package leaders that are presented during the Kick-Off meeting are available at: here To view the presentations, click on "Conference contributions".
The follwoign were discussed:
Overview of SOLARNET Project (by Rolf Schlichenmaier)
Compilation of Partner Representatives for the SOLARNET General Assembly
On a hot day in August 1972 toward the end of the Vietnam War, dozens of naval mines off the coast of Hai Phong in North Vietnam began to explode without warning. In March 1989, a magnetic surge tripped circuits, knocking out power in the entire Canadian province of Quebec. While in 1859, an event sparked telegraph lines, igniting fires, and northern lights so bright that British stargazers could read newspapers at night. These days, scientists know that all these events were caused by intense space weather, capable of wreaking havoc on electric grids and electromagnetically sensitive technology.
Importantly, modern scientists have something that observers decades ago did not – sophisticated satellite data and modelling that can forecast space weather with accuracy.
‘If space weather forecasting is inaccurate…space storms can result in disruption in the operation of satellites, interruptions of communication, incorrect navigation data from GPS satellites, force the rerouting of polar flight paths, or set up ground induced currents that can severely impact the operation of power grids and pipelines,’ said Professor Robertus von Fay-Siebenburgen, who headed up a project called PROGRESS at the University of Sheffield in the UK.
During high periods of solar activity, the sun flings off massive chunks of changed plasma which can severely damage technological infrastructure on Earth. Image Credit - NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams.
Along with other scientists, he coordinated the work to improve the reliability of systems that predict space weather events by measuring the solar wind from distances further away from Earth than previously possible.
Solar activity follows an 11-year cycle of high and low periods. Those high periods are when it is most likely for events like coronal mass ejections (CMEs) to occur, where the sun flings off massive bulks of charged plasma into space. These charged particles, when directed towards Earth, can impact in as soon as half a day’s time. Many times the first real warning can only come an hour before.
‘The consequences of space weather hazards can result in anything from a mild operational inconvenience to total loss of segments of our modern technological infrastructure,’ said Prof. von Fay- Siebenburgen.
‘A worst-case scenario may cause the setback of the economy of a country even up to a decade.’
Solar storms have caused sea mines on Earth to explode and unusually bright northern lights in the past. Courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams.
That’s where improved forecasts come in.
‘If we can successfully forecast the state of the solar wind at L1 (a point between the Earth and Sun where gravitation forces are equal) based on observations of the solar disk, we can increase this forecast horizon to about one day (in a worst-case scenario),’ he said.
One way the project did this was by using more advanced computer modelling, instead of having to wait for observed results.
Using machine learning to sift through data, computers can predict the level of geomagnetic activity due to the interaction of the solar wind with the terrestrial magnetic field, forecasting how particles travel between the magnetic field and radiation belts.
For instance, what effect particles cause can depend greatly on the direction of a CME’s magnetic field.
‘Some of these particles may lose their energy to the atmosphere causing the aurora borealis/australis. Other particles can gain energy, thus posing a threat to the satellites orbiting in the vicinity of the radiation belts. Solar flares may emit intense bursts of X-rays that can penetrate deep into the ionosphere severely disrupting radio communications and navigation systems,’ Prof. von Fay- Siebenburgen said.
He thinks that we still have a long way to go in improving forecasts, noting that a ground-based monitoring network or satellites positioned to the side of or behind the Sun relative to the Earth could lead to further improvements.
‘These systems (ground- or space-based) would enable a reliable forecasting by up to three to five days, a lead time that the industry and other stakeholder have highly desired for a long time.’
Dr Richard Harrison at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK is on a similar track. He and colleagues in a project called HELCATS, used a satellite set up to monitor the Sun and Earth from a side view, known as STEREO, to gather data on CMEs and how they vary in speed, density, and direction throughout a solar cycle.
‘The idea was to exploit the STEREO Heliospheric Imaging data, with observations of over 1000 CMEs from 2007 onwards, and apply the latest and best analysis and modelling techniques to investigate the identification, tracking, and prediction of CME events in the heliosphere,’ he said.
By combining solar events seen from imaging with modelling, they were able to help improve predictions of arrival times on Earth by better understanding how CMEs interact with one another as they propagate outward from the Sun.
‘The HELCATS project is a resource for the research community. The catalogues will continue to be widely exploited and the assessment of the models has had a lasting impact on our approach to studies of Earth-impacting events,’ he said.
‘Forecasting space weather is becoming more and more important and our modern technologies are far more susceptible to impacts from space weather. The threat is recognised to the extent that severe space weather is now listed on the national risk registers of many countries.’
Spanish Research Council (CSIC) Brussels Delegation, Rue du Trône, 62, Brussels
Mariann Korsos represented Hungary. The following topics were discussed:
WP1 “Project Coordination and Management”
WP2 “EST Governance”
WP3 “EST Legal Structure”
WP4 “Financial Schemes of EST and Strategic Actions”
WP5 “Strategic Actions to Reinforce EST Visibility and Trans-national Engagement”
WP6 “Technical Works and Site Evaluation”
Discussion on aspects to be highlighted for the MTR.
PRE-EST Board meeting in Brussels
PRE-EST partners meet in Brussels for reviewing and updating the work carried out during the last 18 months. The meeting is being held on the premises of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Brussels.
The PRE-EST Board Meeting has started this morning at the CSIC Office in Brussels. A review and update of the work carried out during the last 18 months is taking place. The meeting is attending by PRE-EST partners. Progress of the different project Work Packages is being presenting and discussing. PRE-EST is a collaborative project funded by EU H2020 Programme under Grant Agreement 739500.
European Association of Solar Telescopes GA meeting
A regular EAST general assembly was held in Brussels on January 21, 2019 at the Spanish Research Council (CSIC; Rue du Trône 62) at 1 pm. Mariann Korsos represented Hungary.
New EAST Executive director was elected: Marco Stangalini.
The follwoing topics were discussed:
The vice-president asked to have the possibility of reporting on the German position with regard to EST at the end of the meeting.
The minutes of the last GA are approved without changes.
The president informed the assembly about his and the vice-president’s willingness to be reelected for 2019-2020.
Prof. Mats Carlsson and Prof. Oskar von der Lühe awere unanimously re-elected as president and vice-president, respectively, of EAST for 2019-2020.
Report on EAST activities: The executive director informed that a new repository containing all relevant documents and the 3 minutes of the meetings are available, and hosted on the Google Drive platform. The executive director also informed that this is hosted on an INAF Google business account and therefore no ownership is transferred to Google itself. Access to the cloud is restricted to EAST members and available only upon explicit request. The executive director also informed that, for practical reasons, the EAST mailing list was moved, together with all the contacts, to the new address email@example.com. After this, a discussion started on the possible relocation of the EAST website. It was suggested and agreed that the EAST website should remain a subsection of the web-portal, which aggregates in the same place all the information about EST and all its past and present related projects (e.g. SOLARNET, GREST, PRE-EST).
Membership requests were discussed.
Overview of SOLARNET II project was given.
Overview of GREST and PRE-EST projects and EST activities were given.
A team of researchers has helped to improve space weather forecasts so that todays technological infrastructure can be better protected from unexpected interruptions.
Many technologies and industries – from radio, TV, mobile phone technologies, to GPS and other navigation services and power transmission systems, to service industries such as banking – rely on satellites and other essential space and terrestrial infrastructure.
But weather events in space, originating on the Sun and propagating towards our home planet, can cause problems that stop systems that the global economy relies on from working properly.
The PROGRESS project, co-ordinated by Professor Robertus von Fay-Siebenbürgen in the School of Mathematics and Statistics, was set up as a European/US collaboration to develop Europe-wide tools to forecast solar wind conditions close to the Earth and their effects within the magnetosphere.
It brought together researchers from the School of Mathematics and Statistics and the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering at the University of Sheffield, alongside collaborators from Warwick, Finland, Germany, the USA, Ukraine, France, Sweden and Germany.
Professor von Fay-Siebenbürgen, who is the deputy head of the University of Sheffield's Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Centre, said: "We have exploited our combined expertise to create a comprehensive set of forecasting tools, combining data-based modelling techniques with improvements to state of the art physics-based models."
The team created created a numerical magnetohydrodynamics-based model by coupling two individual models to enable an advanced forecast of solar wind parameters. "The first, AWSoM, analyses the magnetic field at the solar surface, using it to simulate the solar atmosphere out to 25 solar radii. From this point outwards, the second model, SWIFT, propagates these solar winds out to 1.5 million kilometres upstream of the Earth," Professor von Fay-Siebenbürgen explained.
He added: "The new models developed by the consortium are based on our improved understanding of the dynamics of the radiation belts. The results are important for the scientific community as they give novel insight into physical processes of plasmas in the near-Earth environment."
When these space weather events arrive at the Earth they can result in increased numbers of 'killer electrons' capable of damaging satellites. "Our new models for the evolution of fluxes of electrons at geostationary orbit, the location of large numbers of satellites, are a significant improvement on those that went before," explained Professor Michael Balikhin from the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, who also played a key role in the project with colleagues Dr Simon Walker, Dr Richard Boynton and Dr Hua-Liang Wei.
UK Solar Mission Forum
UK solar missions forum: the future of missions, facilities and computing website. The purpose of this meeting (Royal Astronomical Society, London) was to look towards the future, and how the UK solar physics community to build on their world class heritage. The EST aspects were presented by Robertus.
The purpose of this meeting is to look towards the future, and how the UK solar physics community to build on our world class heritage. We particularly encourage student, and early career scientists along, as these missions take many years, and we hope that the future mission leaders will join us.The talks are available online.
EST Calendar 2019
Dear EST lovers, The new EST Calendar 2019 has arrived!
You can download it from our website HERE. You can upload the calendar to your personal social networks, tag us, and use the hashtag ESTCalendar2019.
The subject of the calendars this year are the EST Science Targets. In the calendar we have tried to showcase the most interesting science cases that the teams working for EST are performing at the moment, and how EST will help to improve their results.
An observatory with one of the world’s foremost, state-of-the-art solar telescope may start operating soon on top of the water tower in Gyula. The instrument is going to play a central role in the modern, worldwide uniquely reliable prediction of space weather, thus contributing to decreasing the damages caused by solar eruptions.
Earlier, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) had operated an observatory on the top of the water tower, however, the facility was closed down a few years ago by MTA. As Deputy Mayor Norbert Alt told us, subsequently, Professor Robertus von Fáy-Siebenbürgen turned to Mayor dr. Ernő Görgényi with the concept to place a solar telescope (back then still under development) on top of the approximately 45 metres high water tower. The capabilities of the location are excellent, since multiple rooms with similar aims had already been established in the building before.
Norbert Alt and és János Temesváry at one of the crucial sites of development. The city of Gyula has great prospects. Photo: Kiss Zoltán
Another participant in the project in representation of Gyula, János Temesváry explained that the Sun, as the basis and source of space weather, has significant social and economic impact on our daily lives. Various industries are influenced by space weather either directly (such as through the overcharging of electric cables, damages to communication and research spacecrafts, breakdowns in the operation of satellites) or indirectly (such as through the irregular functioning of the services sector, navigation and bank systems, and damages to oil and gas pipelines).
The solar telescope and the associated computer system could forecast solar flares sooner than it was possible before. This endeavour could evolve into a worldwide system, the first station of which could be Gyula. This initiative could therefore put the city on the map of international astronomical and scientific life and interest.
Norbert Alt added that the solar telescope has been developed in Italy, and the state-of-the-art instrument has been completed. In the meantime, two proposals have been submitted to aid the realisation of the related developments. One of these aims the modernisation of the observatory. The investment would mean structural reconstruction on the one hand, and energetic renewal on the other.
At the same time, another project is conducted with the coordination of the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation, too, which deals with the development of the interior of the observatory. This includes furniture, instruments, and anything the researchers working there will need.
“Currently, we are at the end of the planning phase and at the start of preparing the investment,” emphasized Norbert Alt. There are connections to several higher education institutions, such as the University of Debrecen and the Eötvös Loránd University, which means that, once the investment is realised, there could be an influx of students and scientific researchers to Gyula.
The Deputy Mayor added that Gyula, as a centre of tourism, cannot afford not to look at the touristic benefits of such a development, too.
“We are investigating this possibility,” he added.
Thanks to this initiative, researchers from Italy and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have visited Gyula in the previous few months.
Solar eruptions could be predicted sooner. János Temesváry explained that solar activity and the upper atmosphere of Earth are connected through several compley physical processes, which together are referred to as space weather. The atmosphere of the Sun extends from the photosphere seen as its surface all the way to the environment of the Earth. Technologies of everyday use are especially exposed to the continuous stream of high-velocity particles originating from the Sun, which can take the form of the solar wind or solar eruptions. These can generate excess voltage in the electric network, and, as a worst-case scenario, endanger the power supply of entire countries. During the so-called Carrington-event in 1859, the wires of telegraph networks began to throw sparks, causing certain telegraph buildings to catch fire due to the event.
The planned solar telescope is different from similar existing instruments in that it has been supplied with four magneto-optical filters, which researchers can use to observe the layers of the solar corona. They trust that this will enable them to predict solar eruptions 12 to 24 hours sooner than it is currently possible.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
The planned observatory on top of the water tower will investigate solar eruptions (source: Gyulai Hírlap)
The observatory may hold scientific as well as touristic significance for the city.
There is a plan to build an observatory investigating solar eruptions on top of the water tower, where another observatory had operated before the Hungarian Academy of Sciences closed it down. The instrument will have a special filter that enables researchers to predict solar eruptions several days earlier than it was possible before. We have talked about the details with Deputy Mayor Norbert Alt.
THe observatory will have a unique telescope.
Photo: Gyulai Hírlap – M-P. J.
The Deputy Mayor has shared that Professor Róbert Erdélyi turned to Mayor Ernő Görgényi with the idea to revive the solar physics observatory that had been functioning in Gyula for several decades.
Norbert Alt explained that there is a plan to build a unique telescope on top of the water tower, which could play a determining role in scientific life. The instrument has a filter which enables scientists to predict upcoming solar eruptions. The filter helps to investigate the colour changes on the Sun, and this can serve to predict when and where solar eruptions will occur.
All of this is especially important because a solar eruption can cause billions of dollars’ worth of damages in satellites and other electronic devices, and it can even lead tot he breakdown of certain systems which may lead to global problems. This telescope can help researchers prevent such damages.
We have found out that the observatory was closed down by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and the telescope was removed, but the facility – although it is not in a good state – is still there, untouched. Norbert Alt told us that a proposal has been submitted to further the energetic development of the observatory, and thanks to its favourable outcome, approximately 30 million forints can be spent on refurbishment. This means structural reconstruction on the one hand, and energetic renewal on the other hand.
Photo: Gyulai Hírlap – M-P. J.
At the same time, another project is conducted by the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation, which aims to improve the interior of the observatory. This includes furniture, instruments, and anything the researchers working there will need for their work.
The telescope has already been finished, and a viewing conducted in Italy by a delegation from Gyula. However, Róbert Erdélyi plans to establish a complete network with further instruments, so that observations may be conducted in several stations worldwide, 24 hours a day.
Norbert Alt emphasised that the construction of the telescope and the redevelopment of the observatory may have further benefits. The Gyula Observatory could become a defining institution and point of reference in science. Cooperation is underway with the University of Debrecen and Eötvös Loránd University. Furthermore, the opportunities for tourism are being examined.
In September, negotiations were conducted in Gyula, where the project was introduced to foreign partners. The Deputy Mayor added that everything depends ont eh success of the proposals, but probably, the telescope will arrive and take its final place one and a half years from now.
N. Gyenge, H. Yu (余海东 ), V. Vu, M. K. Griffiths and R. Erdélyi
Sheffield Solar Catalogue (SSC) is available from now on here
The Sheffield Solar Catalogue (SSC) project is a free and open-source software package for the analysis of solar data intents to establish a fully automated solar feature recognition environment from the raw images of solar observations to a user-friendly and science-ready data source. The underlying core program is able to provide a real-time comprehensive solar features data analysis environment, aimed to assist researchers within the field of solar physics and astronomy.
At this stage of development, SSC is suitable for generating sunspot data fully automatically, based on white light continuum and magnetogram observations by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) satellite (Pesnell, W. D. (2015). Solar dynamics observatory (SDO) (pp. 179-196). Springer International Publishing.). Although, the project is currently focused on sunspot groups and sunspot identification, the database will be extended later to other solar features, such as solar pores, faculae, coronal holes, jets, spicules and other solar phenomena.
Machine Learning in Heliophysics, September 16-20, 2019, Amsterdam (NL) - 1st Announcement
We are pleased to invite you to the conference ‘Machine Learning in Heliophysics’ to be held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands from September 16-20, 2019.
The goal of this first ML-Helio conference is to leverage the advancements happening in disciplines such as machine learning, deep learning, statistical analysis, system identification, and information theory, in order to address long-standing questions and enable a higher scientific return on the wealth of available heliospheric data.
We aim at bringing together a cross-disciplinary research community: physicists in solar, heliospheric, magnetospheric, and aeronomy fields as well as computer and data scientists. ML-Helio will focus on the development of data science techniques needed to tackle fundamental problems in space weather forecasting, inverse estimation of physical parameters, automatic event identification, feature detection and tracking, times series analysis of dynamical systems, combination of physics-based model with machine learning techniques, surrogate models and uncertainty quantification.
The conference will consists of classic-style lectures, complemented by hands-on tutorials on Python tools and data resources available to the heliophysics machine learning community.
In order to help us organize a conference better tailored towards the needs of the communities, we encourage you to register your interest and submit suggestions on: here
On behalf of the SOC, Enrico Camporeale (e.camporeale[at]cwi.nl)
Happy birthday, HSPF!
Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation is founded on 14th of November, 2016. Wish you all the success in the solar physics world!
Dr Bernadett Belucz received a scholarship from the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA) starting from September this year, and also works at Eötvös Loránd University from 1st September.
Bernadett arrived back home in July from the National Center for Atmospheric Research High Altitude Observatory (Boulder, Colorado). She was working with her former PhD supervisor, Dr Mausumi Dikpati, conducting research ont he shallow-water tachocline model and the widespread solar activity. During the post-doctoral research, they published an article with their colleagues, which is available at the following link. Naturally, the research will continue after her homecoming, too.
The EMS Annual Meeting: European Conference for Applied Meteorology and Climatology 2018 was held in Corvinus University Budapest, Hungary, from 3 to 7 September 2018.
We contributed to chair a session on space weather forecasting (UP2.5 The interconnection between the sun, space weather and the atmosphere) and had strategic discussions with European partners on promoting EST and SAMNET.
BUKS workshops are organised since 2009 when research groups from Belgium, UK, and Spain (hence BUKS) took the initiative to have a series of open and informal topical meetings to bring together researchers with interests on theoretical, observational and numerical aspects of MHD waves and seismology of the solar atmosphere.
BUKS2018 Workshop on "Waves and Instabilities in the Solar Atmosphere: Confronting the Current State-of-the Art" took place in La Laguna, Tenerife (Spain) from 3 to 7 September 2018, organised by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC).
The aim was to create a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas on recent results regarding observations, data analysis and theoretical/numerical modelling of waves, oscillations, associated instabilities and seismology of the solar atmosphere. Emphasis was given to the exploitation of present and future facilities, instruments and observational bands; the development and application of modern data analysis methods; and confrontation with state of the art modelling.
Scientific Organising Committee:
José Luis Ballester (Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain)
Ineke De Moortel (University of St Andrews, UK)
Robertus Erdelyi (University of Sheffield, UK)
Mihalis Mathioudakis (Queen's University Belfast, UK)
Valery Nakariakov (University of Warwick, UK)
Tom Van Doorsselaere (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium)
A number of our HSPF colleagues, partners and international experts participated the meeting providing excellent impetus for future solar research.
The First Gyula Strategic Meeting happened between 27-29th August, with the participation of mayor Dr. Ernő Görgényi, vice-mayor Norbert Alt, and the technical head of Gyula’s exhibition spaces, János Temesváry, on behalf of the local government of Gyula. It was a great honour that we could welcome to our circles Professor Yihua Yan from China (President of IAU Division E: Sun & Heliosphere; Director of Solar Physics Division & Director of CAS Key Laboratory of Solar Activity; National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences), as well as out italian colleagues, Roberto Speziali (INAF, Italy), Luciano Dal Sasso (Avalon Instruments, Italy), Vincenzo Mauriello (VM Technology and Arredo, Italy) and Alessandro Leonardi (Vice President at Unicredit Bank, Italy), and, last but not least, the Head of the Astronomy Department at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Professor Kristóf Petrovay. On behalf of HSPF, Professor Róbert Erdélyi (chair of the Advisory Board and founding member), Anett Elek (founding member), Dr Bernadett Belucz (Advisory Board member, chair of the Oversight Committee), and Marianna Brigitta Korsós (member of the Advisory Board) participated in the meeting.
The mayor welcomed all participants, and especially the Italian and Chinese colleagues at the meeting. He emphasised that they are committed tot he case for the Foundation and the Bay Zoltán Observatory in Gyula, as well as that, with the renovation of the Observatory, the infrastructural foundations will be secured. He expressed his joy over the fact that through the above-mentioned works, Gyula will become part of an international project. Financial resources are available both for the renovation of the Observatory, and for the acquisition of equipment; the telescope is ready, it is only waiting for the building to be finished; the experts are available; and the city is showing every willingness to bring this endeavour to fruition. We wish every success and good luck for working together!
Professor Kristóf Petrovay, the Head of the Astronomy Department at ELTE covered the history of solar physics in Hungary in his presentation, starting from the foundation of Eötvös Loránd University, and the establishment of the Faculty of Science, as well as the Department of Astronomy within this Faculty. He highlighted the main turning points of the creation of the Debrecen Heliophysical Observatory and the Gyula Observing Station, their interdependence, and their closure. Finally, he summarised how and why, as a consequence of these processes, the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation was called to life. We sincerely hope that every step in the future will serve as the starting point of a success story, thanks tot he cooperation of HSPF and the City of Gyula, and a laboratory agreement between ELTE and the Foundation.
The Chair of the Foundation, Professor Róbert Erdélyi, talked about why it is crucial to study space weather, flares, and CMEs. He talked in detail about the GYSAMM instrument, scheduled to start operation in the Bay Zoltán Observatory from next year; the plans of the Observatory; the plans of SAMM+; and about SAMMNet. Further discussion followed about the plans of the Foundation to acquire a mobile planetarium and a Lunt solar telescope, which would be especially helpful in outreach activities, bringing this vitally important field of science closer to the citizens.
Our colleague from China briefly presented the Chinese plans, as well as the possibilities and pillars for a serious future cooperation between the Foundation and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. At the end of his talk, he gave his present to vice-mayor Norbert Alt, who, then, thanked the Italian and Chinese colleagues for their attendance with gifts from the City of Gyula. Finally, the three parties expressed their mutual hopes for the success of the cooperation.
Dr Endre Vönöczky Schenk prepared this photograph of the Balatonrendes Astronomical Observatory in the 1930s. We have undertaken consultations with the relevant authorities, so that we can obtain permission to built the station in Balatonrendes.
on the broader scientific, technological and societal implications of DKIST coming alive very soon
of expanding SAMNET with another potential new partner from the USA, in particular, how the proposed new SAMNET technology of measuring the lower solar atmospheric magnetic field with SAMNET would aid DKIST.
EAST 7th Science Advisory Group
The Science Advisory Group (SAG) of EAST met on 15 Jun 2018, following the extremely successful 1st EST Science Meeting, Naxos (Italy).
The EST Science Meeting was held on June 11-15 2018 at Giardini Naxos, in Sicily (Italy).
This EST Science Meeting aimed at gathering scientists who i) wished to present their most recent theoretical and observational research in the field; ii) highlighted the key science cases that will be addressed by the 4-metre class solar telescopes, and the synergies with both current and future ground-based and space-borne facilities; iii) presented the latest version of The Science Requirement Document (SRD). During the meeting there were also opportunities provided to contribute to the SRD and to discuss how and why the unique capabilities of EST will provide answers to several key science questions.
EST will be the heritage of the entire solar physics community and, for this reason, it is expected that the scientific community and in particular the EST Science Meeting participants, will contribute with science cases that will then be reflected in the SRD. The proposed Scientific Sessions are: The state-of-the-art of the EST project; Structure and evolution of magnetic flux; Wave coupling throughout solar atmosphere; Chromospheric dynamics and heating; Magnetised plasma dynamics and fundamental processes; The solar corona; Solar flares and eruptive events; Scattering physics and Hanle-Zeeman diagnostics.
L. Belluzzi (IRSOL, CH)
M. Carlsson (UiO,NO)
M. Collados Vera (IAC, ES)
J. Jurcak (CAS, CZ)
M. Mathioudakis (QUB, UK)
S. Matthews (MSSL, UK)
R. Erdelyi (U. of Sheffield, UK)
R. Schlichenmaier (Co-Chair, KIS, DE)
D. Utz (IGAM, AT)
Prof. Francesca Zuccarello (Università degli Studi di Catania, firstname.lastname@example.org)
We were visiting key DKIST and potentially new SAMNET partners at National Solar Observatory (NSO) and High Altitude Observatory (HAO) in Boulder. Discussions took place on future joint projects with NSO colleagues (from solar dynamo to solar cycle forecasting/modelling).
AOGS 2018 Hawaii
AOGS 15th Annual Meeting, 3-8 June, 2018, Honolulu, Hawaii
Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS) was established in 2003 to promote geosciences and its application for the benefit of humanity, specifically in Asia and Oceania and with an overarching approach to global issues.
The Asia Oceania region is particularly vulnerable to natural hazards, accounting for almost 80% human lives lost globally. AOGS is deeply involved in addressing hazard related issues through improving our understanding of the genesis of hazards through scientific, social and technical approaches.
AOGS holds annual conventions, this year in Hawaii, providing a unique opportunity of exchanging scientific knowledge and discussion to address important geo-scientific issues among academia, research institutions, and the public.
Recognizing the need of global collaboration, AOGS has developed good co-operation with other international geo-science societies and unions such as the European Geosciences Union (EGU), American Geophysical Union (AGU), International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG), Japan Geo-science Union (JpGU), and Science Council of Asia (SCA).
A number of talks were delivered (invited review on solar-magnetoseismology (Prof. Robert Erdélyi); and two invited talks: one on dynamo (Dr Bernadett Belucz) and another on space weather forecasting (Marianna Korsos). We also disseminated the H2020 PROGRESS results, promoted DKIST, EST and SAMNET by highlighting the new science and technology opportunities.
Further strategic discussions took place with colleagues from IoA, Hawaii and CAS, China about emerging opportunities in order to develop instrumentation networking, with particular focus on flare and CME forecasting.
We were visiting key DKIST and SAMNET partners at High Altitude Observatory (HAO) and National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Boulder.
We delivered talks on SAMNET potentials on improving space weather forecasting and how the ultra-high resolution of DKIST (or EST) may have impact on understanding better the sources of solar eruptions. We were also discussing future joint projects with colleagues (from solar dynamo, solar cycle forecasting/modelling to wave observations).
California State University, LA, California
We have visited a key DKIST partner and potential new SAMNET consortium supporter at California State University (CSUN, Los Angeles).
The visit included delivering a talk on SAMNET potentials on improving space weather forecasting and how the ultra-high resolution of DKIST (or EST) may have impact on understanding better the sources of solar eruptions. We were also discussing future joint project with colleagues (from inversion to wave observations).
With the strong support from the Project Office and different volunteers from EST-Comm, we have finally translated the EST leaflets to almost all the languages spoken in the EST associated countries. Nowadays, the leaflets are available in Croatian, Czech, English, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Slovak and Spanish. Some of them have already been printed and distributed to some institutes. For Hungarian leaflets please contact Dr Bernadett Belucz (ELTE, HSPF). The printing and distribution of the remaining ones will be done during the next weeks. Nevertheless, leaflets can be found in the EST website (low resolution).
Isradynamics 2018 Dynamical Processes in Space Plasmas (Israel, 22-29 April 2018)
The meeting brings together scientists working in solar physics, space physics, plasma physics, and astrophysics, in theory, simulations, and experiment. The objective is to report and discuss recent progress in our understanding of the fundamental processes in solar, space, and astrophysical plasmas, in view of heliospheric in-situ and remote sensing measurements (Van Allen Probe, THEMIS, Cluster, STEREO, SDO, Messenger, Cassini, Venus-Express, MMS, Artemis, WIND) and remote sensing astrophysical observations (Chandra, XMM-Newton, SWIFT, Fermi).
Here the results of the EU H2020-funded PROGRESS were promoted in a talk; latest progress on solar-magneto-seismology was disseminated as an invited talk, and strategic discussion took place to further develop space weather forecasting by applying machine learning and AI techniques.
The SPICE/Solar Orbiter consortium has started to work actively on the definition of the on-board observation programs. This is a science meeting dedicated to this goal, organised on April 19-20 in Paris (Observatoire de Paris, Salle du Conseil).
The European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter satellite is set for launch by NASA in 2020 to study the Sun’s heliosphere and observe it in unprecedented detail in an attempt to unmask the secrets of the solar wind.
In 2020, the Solar Orbiter satellite will depart Earth atop an Atlas V launcher and approach the Sun to within 62 solar radii or 42 million km, closer than any spacecraft has ever been before. From this vantage point, it will be ideally positioned to observe our star at unprecedented resolution (70 km/pixel) and analyse its heliosphere in fine detail. Solar Orbiter will also acquire imagery and data from the Sun’s polar regions and on the side not visible from Earth. The main aim of these measurements will be to identify the underlying processes driving the solar wind, the stream of particles continuously escaping the Sun.
Preparatory Phase (PRE-EST) annual meeting in Belfast, UK
April 18 2018, Belfast (UK) - The annual EST Board Meeting, which gathers the main researchers and managers of the PRE-EST project, has taken place today in Belfast (UK). This project aims to take the necessary steps towards the construction of the European Solar Telescope. During this meeting the board has addressed fundamental issues for the success of the project. The coordinators of the various working packages designed to build this big infrastructure have reported the current status of strategic areas such as the financial schemes, the project management, or the communication and outreach actions. The EST board also had a discussion about the possible legal figures to manage an infrastructure of the European Solar Telescope during its preparatory and construction phases.
In more detail: Based on its excellence and maturity, EST became on March 2016 part of the ESFRI Projects list as a strategic facility for the European Community. This fact led to a subsequent speed-up of the project towards its current Preparatory Phase.
During this meeting, the EST Board addressed fundamental issues for the success of the project. Progress made on strategic and technical aspects was presented, and the required analysis of the future governance structure and the financial status of the project was carried out.
A key point of the meeting was the discussion on the future legal figure for EST. After a detailed analysis and a successive discussion of the different alternatives, the Board decided unanimously that the most appropriate legal figure for the project is a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) located in Spain.
EST partners have devoted an important effort during the last years to explore possible legal frameworks and related governance schemes in order to provide the means for the agencies to jointly establish, construct and operate EST as a new research infrastructure. Following a thorough comparison, the present main EST governing body, the EST Board, agrees that the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) is the most appropriate structure, providing, among other advantages, the adequate framework for trans-national cooperation among partners as well as the desired sustainability for the project lifetime.
Experience shows that the ERIC legal figure implies a wider political visibility, also paving the way with key European funding agencies, policy and other decision makers. ERIC privileges/exemptions are also relevant.
The negotiation and approval procedure for setting up an ERIC is carried out at national level. As a result of this PRE-EST Board decision, the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Competitiveness and Industry will initiate the ERIC negotiations process with the corresponding governmental authorities of the EST partners, e.g. with NKFIH in Hungary.
6th EAST SAG meeting in Belfast, UK
The Science Advisory Group (SAG) of EAST met on 16-17 Apr 2018, in Belfast.
One of the main tasks of SAG is to refine the EST concept, building on the existing EST Conceptual Design the prioritised scientific goals and technical updates. To that end, the current needs of the solar community are being assessed, taking into account the technologies likely to be affordable over the next decade. This meeting involved the participation of researchers from all the institutions participating in the PRE-EST project, where HSPF had its representative there too.
Discussions took place on:
Summary of SRD status
Photon flux app tutorial; planned light distribution
Overlap of science cases: Identify and redistribute
Splinter sessions: Work out sciences cases
Nasmyth focus science
Update on preparation of 1st EST Science meeting in Naxos
We have visited a key DKIST, EST and SAMNET consortium partner at Queen’s University Belfast. Discussion on the implementation of new emerging technologies enabling leaps in measuring solar vector magnetic fields was conducted. The visit included delivering a talk on SAMNET potentials on improving space weather forecasting and how such small-aperture ground-based facilities are linked efficiently in finding targets with ultra-high resolution instrumentation such as DKIST or EST.
Armagh Observatory, Armagh, NI/UK
We visited a key EST and SAMNET consortium supporter at Armagh Observatory. The visit included delivering a talk on SAMNET potentials on improving space weather forecasting and how the ultra-high resolution of DKIST or EST can have impact on understanding better the sources of solar eruptions.
DKIST Critical Science Plan Meeting (Newcastle)
The DKIST Critical Science Plan Meeting took place on 9-10 April 2018 Organised by Northumbria University (Newcastle). Here, additional training was received how to prepare observing plans for DKIST. A number of Critical Science User Plan (CSP) cases were developed, including:
We also had strategic discussions of expanding SAMNET with potential new partners, where new technologies of measuring the lower solar atmospheric magnetic field were addressed thanks to these novel concepts being developed by colleagues at IoA, Hawaii.
European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS 2018)
Annual meeting of the European Astronomical Society (EAS) and the National Astronomy Meeting (NAM) of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) (Arena & Convention Centre (ACC),Liverpool, United Kingdom).
The European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS, formerly JENAM) is the annual meeting of the European Astronomical Society (EAS). With more than 25 years of tradition, it has imposed itself as the largest conference for European astronomy. In addition to plenary sessions and the award of prestigious prizes, the conference hosts many symposia held in parallel, as well as special sessions and meetings.
The EAS together with one of its affiliated societies, organises the annual EWASS conference to enhance its links with national communities, to broaden connections between individual members and to promote European networks.
The EAS considers its annual EWASS meetings to be a privileged occasion for free and frank interchange of scientific ideas, as well as for the nurturing and creation of professional and social contacts.
Visiting our key SAMNET consortium partner, Dal Sasso’s and Avalon Instruments (Aprilia, Rome) took place on 27-28 March 2018 to discuss technical details and calibration issues of the SAMM.
EAST 5th SAG meeting (via zoom)
The Science Advisory Group (SAG) of EAST met on 26th March 2018, via zoom.
Discussions took place on:
Update on Science Requirement Document
Prepare SAG meeting in Belfast
Preparation for 1st EST Science meeting in Naxos in June
Science Show in the House of Commons
Some of the work we do in collaboration with Dr Jiajia Liu and colleagues have been selected to be presented at the House of Commons on Monday 12th March in the Physical Sciences (Physics) Session from 12 noon – 2.45pm in the Attlee Suite, Portcullis House.
Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) from the Sun could carry energy equivalent to that released by 1 TRILLION nuclear bombs. They can cause severe socio-economic damage by affecting the operation and working of high-tech facilities like spacecraft, threatening the health of astronauts, causing disruption in functioning of modern communication systems (including radio, TV and mobile signals), navigation systems, and affecting the working of pipelines and power grids. The threat-assessment report by the Lloyd’s insurance company  concluded that extreme CME events would cause a loss of $2.6 trillion. Therefore, fast and accurate prediction of CME arrival time is vital to minimize the losses CMEs may cost when hitting the Earth. Our work focuses on forecasting the arrival time at Earth of these fatal events, via combining the unprecedented Machine Learning techniques, which are in essential similar with the technique behind the famous Google Alpha Go, with the intricate physics behind these events. This interdisciplinary study gives a largely improved prediction error of only 6 hours than before, giving much more accurate impact time of these extreme events, and more than enough warning time for the government, military and industries to take actions to minimize corresponding socio-economic losses.
Upon completion of the current renovation works, GSO’s infrastructure will be able to provide high-level services for scientific research activities.
In the 1960s, a lookout was built above the water holding volume of the the Gyula Water Tower, located in the area of Göndöcs Garden. Later on, as the lookout area was not in use, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences transformed it into an observatory to carry out solar physics investigations. The repurposing plans were drawn up by 1971, which is also when the structure of the telescope was constructed on top of the lookout. Unfortunately, in 2015, following a proposal by the Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, and going against international expert opinions, the Hungarian Academy for Sciences terminated the until then successful solar physics research conducted in the Gyula Observatory. The telescope was retired. It is here, in this part of the building, which had from the start been intended for research purposes, where HSPF, in a joint effort with the local government of Gyula, aims to revive solar physics investigations connected to space weather, which have a respectable tradition in Gyula, but are now also integrated into the bloodstream of the international scientific community.
One of the main scientific activities of the Bay Zoltán Solar Physics Observatory in Gyula (GSO), under the aegis of HSPF (http://hspf.eu), is constructing and evaluating synoptic images of the Sun. Observations are planned to be carried out using the Solar Activity Monitor (SAMM), which is a solar telescope with a double optical axis, and building on the technology of magneto-optical filtering. SAMM has been constructed and is being expanded in the framework of a large international cooperation between governments, universities, and research councils of various EU-countries.
The planned scientific observations can be performed in two different modes: with manual or automatic control. Routine synoptic and object-specific observations will be possible in both modes of operation. Determining the balance between different observational modes is the task of the Telescope Allocation Committee (TAC) overseeing the operation of the telescope, which belongs under the leadership of the Foundation. The automatic mode allows a much wider segment of the scientific community to carry our research using the instrument. Basic processing of the data happens locally, then we make the so-called ‘data calibrated for scientific analysis’ available online.
The Science Advisory Group (SAG) of EAST met on 29 Jan 2018, via zoom.
Discussions took place on:
Science Requirement Document
Citizen Science Plan
RAS Discussion Meeting (RAS, London)
The RAS Discussion Meeting on “Wave-based heating mechanisms in the solar atmosphere” took place on 12 Jan 2018 at the Royal Astronomical Society’s Burlington House, Piccadilly (London).
Magnetohydrodynamic waves permeate the solar atmosphere but despite being regularly observed and analysed in great detail, their role in the energy transport through the solar atmosphere and in heating the solar corona remains unclear. This is largely due to the complexity and dynamism of the solar atmosphere where the combination of gravitational stratification, magnetic field expansion and local density inhomogeneities leads to complicated coupling and interactions between different layers of the solar atmosphere. Various modelling techniques, including numerical simulations and forward modelling, allow us to tackle this complexity and investigate the various wave processes. Constraints on the energy budget, identification of the dissipation mechanisms and determination of the spatial and temporal scales of the energy deposition and the observational signatures can thus be obtained. In this RAS Specialist Discussion meeting, the aim was to bring together experts in numerical modelling, observational detection and theoretical analysis of wave-based heating mechanism, in order to shed light on the role of MHD waves in coronal heating. Focus was in particular on recent advancements in this field due to the use of increasingly complex numerical experiments.
The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) has initiated various programmes with the aim of motivating students from colleges and universities across the country for research in Astronomy & Astrophysics. In this spirit, IIA organizes summer and winter schools every year, wherein students are exposed to research environment/career. As part of this on-going activity, IIA conducts an annual winter school on Solar Physics at the Kodaikanal Observatory in the month of January. In 2018, the School was organised by an excellent team, led by HSPF’s international expert, Dr Piyalu Chatterjee. There, Prof Robertus Erdelyi will give a number of lectures on “Internal structure of the Sun” and “Waves in solar atmosphere”
1.000 promotional calendars about EST have been designed and produced. The calendar of this year tries to honour the existing European solar telescopes. The selection of the telescopes has been made taking into account the variety of countries/institutions participating in PRE-EST, and trying that most of them are represented in some way.
The Science Advisory Group (SAG) of EAST met on 24 Nov 2017, in Freiburg, following the EAST GA.
One of the main tasks of SAG is to continuously monitor and refine the EST concept, building on the existing EST Conceptual Design, the prioritised scientific goals, and technical updates. To that end, the developing needs of the solar community are being regularly assessed, taking into account the emerging new technologies likely to be affordable and available over the next decade. This meeting involved the participation of researchers from all the institutions participating in the PRE-EST project, where HSPF had its own representative there too.
Discussions took place on:
Nasmyth instrument, a near UV kit
IFUs: For EST we plan with IFUs, i.e., Integral Field Units
Expansion of SAG membership
SAG Subgroup structure
General Assembly of EAST, Freiburg, Germany
The current members of EAST (voting members as defined in Sec. 8 of Bylaws) approved the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation (HSPF) as the new voting member for Hungary.
The president, Mats Carlsson, read the letter in which Dr. Laszlo Kiss terminates the membership of Konkoly Observatory in EAST. The GA expressed gratitude for the support from the Konkoly Observatory and the Debrecen Heliophysical Observatory through the years; not the least through the contributions from the past representatives Tünde Baranyi and András Ludmány. HSPF was unanimously approved as the new voting member for Hungary. Robertus Erdelyi represents HSPF at the annual GAs of EAST.
Approval of EST Science Advisory Group (SAG) to update the EST Science Requirements.
The chair of the EST SAG (Rolf Schlichenmaier) presented the list of members of the newly formed SAG. During the discussion, gender balance and regional balance issues were raised, as well as a question of greater emphasis on coronal science. The SAG chair was asked to consider the inclusion of the following persons to the SAG: Manuela Temmer, Elena Khomenko, Sarah Matthews, Peter Gömöry, Sanja Danilovic. With these recommendations, the GA approved the EST SAG as it was proposed by its chair. The SAG chair invited the people listed to become members. Except for Manuela Temmer, all these candidates were accepted to be members of the EST SAG.
EST: status and preparatory phase issues (Presentations were made by Manolo Collados and Bob Bentley)
Legal structure: Presentation by Bob Bentley
Collaboration Research Agreement for Preparatory Phase (Manolo)
EST site: Dedicated work group will be formed for decision in 2019.
Institutsbereich Geophysik, Astrophysik und Meteorologie der Univ. Graz
Observatoire Royal de Belgique
Astronomical Institute AS CR, v.v.i.
INSU-CNRS, THEMIS S.L.
Stiftung Kiepenheuer-Institut für Sonnenphysik (voting member of Germany)
Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung
Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam
University College London - MSSL
National Observatory of Athens
Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation
Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica
University of Catania (voting member of Italy)
University of Rome Tor Vergata
University of Calabria
Foundation Dutch Open Telescope
Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics
13. IA UWr
Astronomical Institute of the Wroclaw University
Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (voting member of Spain)
Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía
The Institute for Solar Physics
Istituto Ricerche Solari Locarno
EAST representation of Hungary - HSPF!
Professor Robertus Erdélyi and the HSPF were invited to represent Hungary in the EST (European Solar Telescope) project.
An unprecedented and prominent scientific project has begun in Europe: the European Solar Telescope (EST) project, which is highlighted in and proposed for implementation by the ESFRI 2016 Roadmap. EST is supported by the European Association for Solar Telescopes (EAST), which currently incorporates 23 research institutes from 17 countries in Europe. The aim of this cooperation is to provide European solar physicists with access to a world-class, high-resolution, large ground-based telescope. Pursuing this aim, EAST began to develop and build and will continue to operate in the future the new generation, large diameter European Solar Telescope (EST) in the Canary Islands.
As the result of a vote held with the participation of Hungarian solar physicists and scientists of interface fields, Professor Robertus Erdélyi and the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation have been asked to represent Hungary in this monumental project. This proposal was accepted at the EAST annual meeting. As a result, Professor Robertus Erdélyi will regularly attend and represent Hungary in the EAST GA and other related meetings; will regularly inform the interested Hungarian professional community about current developments; will work in cooperation with EAST's other national colleagues and observers to promote the success of EAST-supported projects; as well as carry out effective lobbying for the recognition of EAST projects in this country. Thank you for the help and support of all those colleagues who have been involved in the provess of electing our representative!
Dr Bernadett Belucz received a postdoctoral position at the High Altitude Observatory (HAO)
of the National Center for Atmospheric research (NCAR), located in Boulder, Colorado, at the foot
of the Rocky Mountains. Bernadett will travel to the USA on the 3rd of January. This is the third
time that Bernadett visits the HAO. This time she will work again with Dr Mausumi Dikpati, her earlier PhD
co-supervisor. (Staff of HAO: Dr Mausumi Dikpati)
Bernadett's research will be focused on active longitudes, the shallow-water tachocline model, solar season simulations,
and SDO/HMI and various ground-based sunspot data will be used to estimate the model parameters.
From left to right: (1) The Center Green 1, home of NCAR's High Altitude Observatory. (2) Bernadett is at Rocky Mountain National Park in 2013 during her first visit. (3) View of the Flatirons from Valmont Bike Park. (4) The Boulder County Courthouse
EST Workshop Bairisch Koelldorf
The European Solar Telescope, EST, is now in its preparatory phase after receiving funding from H2020 in the form of the PRE-EST project.
This workshop was dedicated to discuss updates and progressing made on public outreach, contacts with potential stakeholders and financing organizations in the region of central Europe. The participants also discussed possible collaboration and relevant science cases. Synergy aspects were also addressed, e.g. in relation to SAMNET (Solar Activity Monitor NETwork) which is a joint collaborative effort lead by e.g. the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation (HSPF), Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Centre (SP2RC), U. of Sheffield, UK, Instituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF)/Rome Observatory (Italy), Dal Sasso srl (Italy), U's. Tor Vergata Rome and l’Aquila (Italy), Coimbra University (Portugal), U. of Debrecen (Hungary), SAS (France).
First European presentation of the European Solar Telescope in Rome
Today, the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome has hosted the first European presentation of the European Solar Telescope (EST) in the frame of the preparatory phase for its construction. This infrastructure, which will be installed in the Canary Islands - Spain, will be the largest European telescope to observe the sun. The construction is expected to start in 2021, and first light is planned for 2027. The project is included in the Roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) since 2016 and involves 21 scientific and industrial institutions from 15 different European countries.
From left to right: Daniele Gallieni (A.D.S. international), Manolo Collados (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias), Fabio Manni (SRS Engineering), Francesca Zuccarello (Università di Catania), Ilaria Ermolli (Instituto Nazionale di Astrofisica), Francesco Berrilli (Università di Roma Tor Vergata) and Salvo Gugliemino (Università di Catania)
European astronomers have studied the sun for centuries. Starting with Galileo Galilei, many solar physicists have helped unravel its secrets with the most advanced instrumentation at their disposal. Thanks to those efforts we now know the structure and composition of our star. However, some important questions remain unanswered. Among them is the role played by solar magnetic fields, which are thought to be responsible for the most energetic processes happening in the solar atmosphere. To address these questions, a next-generation telescope is needed.
Artist's impression of the future European Solar Telescope
EST will have a 4-meter primary mirror and an advanced adaptive optics system - a technology designed to reduce the image distortions caused by the Earth’s atmosphere. Thus, EST will be able to distinguish structures on the solar surface as small as 30 kilometers. Thanks to its large mirror, EST will also excel in delivering accurate measurements of solar magnetic fields, surpassing by far the capabilities of any existing solar telescope. The main goal of EST is to investigate the structure, dynamics, and energetics of the lower solar atmosphere, where magnetic fields continually interact with the plasma and magnetic energy is sometimes released in powerful explosions.
The event at the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei is a presentation at European level of a project set to be the cornerstone of European solar physics in the coming decades. The event has involved the participation of researchers from all the Italian institutions participating in EST and representatives from the Italian industry. Manolo Collados (EST project coordinator) has declared that “EST will combine the best of present solar telescopes and will largely improve their performances”.
EST is promoted by the European Association for Solar Telescopes (EAST), which includes around 500 researchers from 15 European countries.
Az EST-t a European Association for Solar Telescopes (EAST) támogatja, amely mintegy 1500 európai kutatót foglal magában.
Dr. Manuel Collados (EST Coordinator, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias) mcv[at]iac.es
Dr. Luis Bellot (EST Communication Office Coordinator, Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía) lbellot[at]iaa.es
Dr. Manuel González (EST Communication Officer, Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía) manuelg[at]iaa.es
Our mysterious Sun: magnetic coupling between solar interior and atmosphere 25-29 September 2017, Tbilisi, Georgia
Our mysterious Sun: magnetic coupling between solar interior and atmosphere conference was held in Tbilisi, Georgia.
A fantastic conference on addressing the avalanche of recent high resolution observations and numerical simulations that clearly evidence the magnetic coupling of the solar interior and different layers of the atmosphere are has been held in Tbilisi. The main issue is to understand the underlying complex processes of energy transport and dissipation. Latest updates and progress on upcoming solar ground- (DKIST, EST) and space missions (e.g., Solar Probe, Solar Orbiter) were also discussed. More info at: http://solar-conference.iliauni.edu.ge A large number of theoreticians and observers, both experienced and young scientists have attended this very successful meeting (see photo below):
Largest solar flare in 12 years
Research team lead by a Hungarian scientist detected the eighth largest solar flare since modern records began – observed in unprecedented detail with the Swedish Solar Telescope in La Palma
The eighth largest solar flare since modern records began – and the largest solar flare in more than 12 years – has been observed in fantastic details by a team of researchers, where one team was led by a Hungarian scientist (Prof R. Erdelyi - Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Centre (SP2RC), University of Sheffield, UK; Dept of Astronomy, Eotvos University, Budapest, Hungary, also President Curator of the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation).
The huge burst of electromagnetic radiation, occurred unexpectedly on Wednesday 6 September 2017. Associated with large ejections of plasma material from the Sun, these massive burts of plasma with speeds often tens of thousands of km/s, called Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), can occasionally penetrate the Earth’s protective atmosphere and damage infrastructure (high-power electric grid system, telecommunication or GPS systems, retc.) and affect our daily life.
The flare was one of three X-category flares – the most powerful category of all flares – observed over a 48-hour period. These large solar bursts have energies comparable to one billion hydrogen bombs and can drive plasma away from the solar surface at speeds up to 2000 km/s when they form CMEs. All these burst events originate from concentrated but very complex and dynamic magnetic features seen as Active Regions at the solar surface:
These powerful events can lead to disruptions of satellite and GPS signals, as well as spectacular Aurorae through their interaction with the Earth’s atmosphere. In summary, these events are referred to as Space Weather, one of the hottest topics of modern space physics.
The largest X-class flare occurred at 13:00 GMT and was measured to have an energy level of X9.3 (where X9 is nine times more powerful than X1):
A team of scientists, including the University of Sheffield, Queen's University, Belfast, supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (UK), observed these historic events in extremely high detail using the Swedish Solar Telescope in La Palma.
One of the most difficult aspects of flare observations using ground-based telescopes is the short time-scales over which flares evolve. X-class flares can form and reach their peak intensities in little over five minutes, meaning observers, who only see a small part of the Sun at any one moment, must act fast to ensure they catch the crucial opening moments of the flares' evolution.
Thanks to, for example, the fantastic EU Erasmus Programme, one of the observers at the telescope was Dr. Chris Nelson from the Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Centre (SP2RC), which is led by a Hungarian scientist, Professor Robertus Erdelyi, from the University’s School of Mathematics and Statistics, and also affiliated with the Department of Astronomy, Eotvos University (Budapest, Hungary) as a regular research visitor and lecturer. Dr Nelson said “It’s very unusual to observe the opening minutes of a flares life. We can only observe about 1/250th of the solar surface at any one time using the Swedish Solar Telescope, so to be in the right place at the right time requires a lot of luck. To observe the rise phases of three X-classes over two days is just unheard of!”
Dr. Aaron Reid, a research fellow from the Astrophysics Research Centre led by Prof Mihalis Mathioudakis, Queen’s University, Belfast, added “The Sun is currently in what we call solar minimum. The number of Active Regions, where flares occur, is low, so to have two X-class flares so close together is very surprising. Hopefully these observations can tell us how and why these flares formed so we can better predict them in the future.”
Professor Mathioudakis added: “Solar flares are the most energetic events in our Solar System and can have a major impact on Earth. The dedication and perseverance of our early-career scientists who planned and executed these observations led to the capture of these unique events.”
Using the data collected during this observation, researchers will now be able to probe the conditions in the solar atmosphere as these powerful events are formed, allowing more accurate predictions about when and where X-class flares might occur in the future.
This information can be channelled into the multi-billion pound Space Weather industry to better protect satellites from the dangers of the sun.
Professor Robertus Erdelyi added: “It is of great pride to see how the next-generation young and talented scientists can make true discoveries.
These observations are very difficult to conduct and interpret in terms of physics. SP2RC has a number of such young Hungarian researchers who all contribute to the understanding of the subtle and often intriguing physical processes determining Space Weather.”
15th European Solar Physics Meeting
The 15th European Solar Physics Meeting (ESPM-15) has been held at Budapest’s Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary from the 4th to the 8th of September. Around 230 scientists have participated in the meeting from around the world.
The 15th Conference of the ESPM Series was very successfully implemented in the premises of Budapest’s Eötvös-Loránd University in early September 2017. The triennial meeting series brings together the European and a significant part of the international solar physics community for a week of intense interaction and debate that redefines and often reshapes the field’s state-of-the-art. ESPMs are assigned to a local organizer via a highly competitive bidding process and are coordinated by the European Solar Physics Division (ESPD), a joint Division of the European Physical Society and the European Astronomical Society. The ESPD puts great emphasis on the geographical distribution of ESPMs, having assigned their venues in twelve (12) different European countries so far.
Budapest’s ESPM-15 was expertly organized and hosted by diverse scientific and local organizing committees. A total of 230 participants from 33 different countries in Europe and other parts of the world attended and participated in the deliberations. For the first time in ESPD history, ESPM-15 featured three (3) prizes foreseen in its statutes and bylaws, namely, a Senior Prize, an Early Career Prize and a PhD Thesis prize. As several of the meetings preceding it, it was also declared an EPS Europhysics Conference, featuring an EPS-sponsored Student Poster Prize, as well. The ESPD areas of activity, interaction and international cooperation were highlighted in the conference’s standard business meeting while the Prize ceremony was staged aboard a Danube river cruise ship, during a delightful and memorable conference dinner.
Visit in Gyula
Colleagues from the Foundation, e.g. Prof. Dr. Róbert Erdélyi, Dr. Bernadett Belucz, Anett Elek and Marianna Korsós visited the beautiful spa-city of Gyula, South-East Hungary in order to further negotiate logistical aspects of the Bay Zoltán Solar Observatory, also often referred to as the Gyula Solar Observatory (GSO) with the Local Government.
The group in the Bay Zoltán Observatory
GSO host our robotic telescope SAMM (Solar Activity MOF Monitor, based on a revolutionary magneto-optical filter (MOF) technology) routinely providing scientific data for space weather monitoring. They had a number of successful meetings with the officers of the Municipality of Gyula, discussed, among other topics, opportunities and future plans, addressed some engineering and energetic optimisation, funding and support, milestones, and project reporting in detail. After a busy day, we had a nice dinner in one of Gyula's many great restaurants and enjoyed the exceptional hospitality received.
In spite of the tight schedule of the visit, we had the opportunity to visit the Almásy Castle of the city, thanks to our wonderful hosts. The castle is beautifully renovated both from outside and inside, and is a highly recommended true visitor center. We had been given an inside view of the contemporary lives of people from simple servants to the elegance of Countesses. The rooms are well-designed, their interactive parts are highly recommended for a trial. The time spent there in the castle went almost unnoticed as it was so fantastic.
Gyula Almásy Castle visitor center
During the day we also had the opportunity to visit the Radio Museum and their rather unique radio history exhibition (http://www.gyulavaros.hu/music/radiomuzeum-es-radiotorteneti-kiallitas). This is an extremely interesting spectatcle displaying an odd collection is unmatched in the whole world.
From left to right: (1) First moments in Observatory. (2) View of Gyula. (3) The next generation of solar physicists, Bernadett with her dauther, Hajnal. (4) Group photo: János Temesváry (left), Norbert Alt, Dr. Bernadett Belucz, Anett Elek, Marianna Korsós and Prof. Dr. Róbert Erdélyi (right)
The hospitality received is simply unforgettable and we all thank our hosts for their efforts, support and acknowledge the staff of Gyula Municipality.
The Statutory Meeting in Budapest
The Foundation's Statutory Meeting (SM001) was held in Budapest on the 30th of July with Prof Dr. Róbert Erdélyi, Dr. Bernadett Belucz, Noémi Zsámberger, Anett Elek and Marianna Korsós, as representatives. Others, who could not make it, conveyed their apologies for the records.
Prof Dr. Erdélyi welcomed the participants, then summarised the achievements, and the present status of the projects related to HSPF. He provided a brief overview of the HSPF project conducted in Gyula, namely, the status of the new observing station called Bay Zoltán Solar Observatory (GSO). He further gave a report on the recently acquired property in the Northern Balaton region, which is going to become the location of the planned second observing station of the Foundation in the Káli Basin, on the Northern bank of lake Balaton. Dr. Bernadett Belucz introduced the new website and logo of HSPF. Other strategic issues were also discussed (fundraising, PRE-EST and ISWI representation, accounting, etc.).
Marianna Korsos has been awarded the 2nd prize for her new and ground-breaking results at the international Space Weather conference (IAUS335) of the International Astronomical Union, Exeter (UK) on 20th of July 2017.
Among the five awardees she was the only European, as well as the only female researcher receiving this prestigious recognition. Marianna works on the pre-flare dynamic evolution of flaring active regions and forecasting these often harmful events taking place in the solar atmosphere but affecting Space Weather.
She said: “I am deeply honoured to receive this recognition that is ways beyond my dreams. This prize will now give me further impetus to tackle the very difficult problems of forecasting the pre-cursors that drive Space Weather: the evolution of magnetic fields at the surface of the star closest to us, the Sun."
Visit in Rome
Representatives of the Foundation (Anett Elek, Prof Dr. Erdélyi and Marianna Korsós) and the Deputy Mayor of Gyula (Mr Norbert Alt) and his staff visited Avalon Instruments in Rome, who are a key engine behind manufacturing the SAMM telescope and its components. The visit was extremely successful and the photos can be found on the website.
PRE-EST kick-off meeting in Madrid
The PRE-EST (Preparatory Phase for the European Solar Telescope) Kick-off meeting has been held with 37 participants of the PRE-EST Project at Tryp Alameda Aeropuerto Hotel in Madrid, Spain. From Hungary, Dr. Bernadett Belucz attended the meeting, as the PRE-EST Hungarian Communication Officer.
Manuel Collados welcomed the attendees of the PRE-EST Project and informed them about the agenda. He gave an overview of recent achievements, and the present status of the projects related to EST. He emphasised that the main goal of the PRE-EST project is to provide the EST international consortium and the national agencies with a detailed plan for the implementation of European Solar Telescope. He also gave a brief overview of the six work packages of the project: Management, Governance, Legal structure, Financial issues, Strategic actions, and Technical Works leading to final design.
Anselmo Sosa (IAC, ad-interim Project Manager) took the floor and gave detailed information about project structure, governance, funding, milestones, monitoring and project reporting, as well as internal/external communication.
Sarah Matthews presented the overarching aim of the WP30 (EST Legal Structure), focused on studying the possible legal frameworks for EST and determining the most appropriate one.
Sebastián Jiménez (GREST Technology Manager) summarized the main conclusions achieved for deliverable D7.4 of GREST project, concerning the study of the possible legal entity options for the EST construction and operation phases as well as its governance bodies.
Anselmo Sosa summarized the importance of the work to be done under WP40 (Financial Schemes of EST and Strategic Actions) to deliver a feasible business & construction plan, based on the attainable political and financial support for the present and subsequent phases of the project.
Luis Bellot from IAA (Spain), the person primarily responsible for PRE-EST WP50 (Strategic actions to reinforce EST visibility and transnational engagement), summarized the main activities proposed for this work package, which includes the PRE-EST Communication, Education and Public Outreach Strategic Plan.
Juan Cozar (IAC) presented the specific planned work of WP60 (Technical Works), related to the EST Technical Works needed to take the infrastructure to a stage immediately before final design and construction.
Inception of Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation
We are pleased to inform you that on the 14th of November, 2016 the Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation (HSPF) has been formally registered by the appropriate court. HSPF’s headquarters are in the beautiful spa-city of Gyula, South-East Hungary. HSPF’s new solar observatory is the Gyula Bay Zoltan Solar Observatory (GSO).
Our new robotic telescope for space weather monitoring, called SAMM (Solar Activity MOF Monitor), is ready, its filters are being tested, thanks to the various levels of national and international support received. One of our main future plans is to restore and refurbish the building site of GSO at the top of the water tower of Gyula, so that it can provide a proper home for the new SAMM robotic telescope, and for professional ground-based Hungarian solar physics once more after the unfortunate closure of the Debrecen Heliophysical Observatory in 2016.
We want to say a huge thank you to everyone for their support, patience, and help in any form and extent. We hope we can count on your continued professional and other help and support in the future, at home as well as abroad, so that Hungarian ground-based solar physics may flourish once again!