Transitioning Research and Instrument Expertise in Heliophysics into Space Weather Monitoring Capabilities at L1 and L5

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A Royal Astronomical Society Specialist Discussion Meeting organised by Richard Harrison* (RAL), Jackie Davies (RAL) and Jonny Rae (MSSL)


The UK has a world-class heliophysics programme in terms of both research and the underpinning instrumentation; this is illustrated by scientific missions such as SOHO, Cluster, STEREO and Solar Orbiter. Investment in these missions has resulted in major advances in our understanding of the physics of our solar system. This experience is crucial for understanding the “space weather” effects of solar-generated activity on human technology and health. Since the UK Government placed extreme space weather on the Risk Register of Civil Emergencies in 2011, the UK has been at the forefront of endeavours to develop an effective approach to space weather mitigation. This includes: establishment of the Space Environment Impact Expert Group to advise Government; formation of the UK Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre; engagement with ESA’s SSA Space Weather programme. The aim of the latter is to launch an operational space weather monitoring mission to the L5 Lagrange point, in conjunction with a US mission to L1.  To this end, Phase A/B1 studies of the L5 spacecraft and payload are underway. Both the remote-sensing and in-situ instrument package studies (and one of the parallel system studies) are being led by the UK. It is, hence, timely to assess how best to coordinate the complementary research and operational aspects of the UK’s heliophysics programme. This discussion meeting is aimed at the transitioning of research and instrumental expertise acquired from our recent and on-going space science missions into operational space weather capabilities.

Image credit: ESA

Link to the full programme

Speaker programme:

10:00     Tea/coffee available in the RAS Library (Posters to be displayed in the Library)

10:30     Welcome/introduction


Part 1:  ESA’s space weather programme and the Lagrange mission  [Chair:  Richard Harrison]


10:35-11:00  ESA’s space weather programme, J.-P. Luntama (ESA Space Safety Programme) [Invited talk]


11:00-11:12 The remote sensing package for the Lagrange Mission, J.A. Davies (RAL Space) and the Lagrange Remote Sensing Consortium


11:12-11:24  In-situ environment monitoring by space weather missions to the Sun-Earth Lagrange points, J. Rae (Mullard Space Science Laboratory), on behalf of the In-situ Lagrange Team


11:24-11:36  Magnetic field measurements at L5 and development of the Lagrange magnetometer, J.P. Eastwood, C. M. Carr, C. Palla (Imperial College London) and W. Magnes, G. Berghofer, A. Valavanoglou, R. Nakamura, C. Moestl (IWF Graz)


11:36-11:48  Spacecraft design for space weather monitoring from L5, T. Harris (Airbus Defence and Space Limited)


Part 2:  UK space weather strategy [Chair: Jonny Rae]


11:48-12:13  The UK’s space weather operations centre, M. Gibbs (Met Office) [Invited talk]


12:13-12:25  Space Weather in the UK: National Priorities and Contributions to the International Space-Weather Capability and Strategies, M.M. Bisi, M.A. Hapgood and R.A. Harrison (RAL Space), M. Gibbs and C. Burnett (Met Office), and M. Willis (UKSA)


12:25-12:37  Solar wind modelling at the Met Office – towards exploitation of L5 data, E. Henley, S. Gonzi and D. Jackson (Met Office)


Part 3a:  Science and instrumentation [Chair: Jonny Rae]


12:37-12:57  Improving Space Weather Forecasting With Wide-Field EUV Observations, L. Golub (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) [Invited talk]


13:00-14:00  LUNCH (and poster viewing)


Part 3b:  Science and instrumentation [Chair: Jackie Davies]


14:00-14:12  Impact of an L5 Magnetograph on Nonpotential Solar Global Magnetic Field Modelling, D.H. Mackay(University of St Andrews), A.R. Yeates(University of Durham) and F.X Bocquet(Met Office)


14:12-14:24 In-situ solar wind data assimilation from L5, M. Owens and M. Lang (University of Reading)


14:24-14:36  L1/L5 observations and Solar Energetic Particle events, T. Latinen, S. Dalla (University of Central Lancashire)


14:36-14:48  Using Ghost fronts within STEREO Heliospheric Imager data to infer the evolution in longitudinal structure of a Coronal Mass Ejection, C. Scott and M. Owens (University of Reading), Curt de Koning (NOAA SWPC), Luke Barnard, Shannon Jones and Julia Wilkinson (University of Reading)


Part 3c:  Science and instrumentation [Chair: Richard Harrison]


14:48-15:00  The evolution of an Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejection: ACE/WIND, THEMIS B/C and Juno Observations, E. Davies (Imperial College London)


15:00-15:12  SAMNet - Solar Activity Monitor Network - A ground-based network to support space weather prediction, R. Erdelyi and the SAMNet Team (University of Sheffield)


15:12-15:24  Timescales of Birkeland currents driven by the IMF, J.C. Coxon (University of Southampton), R.M. Shore and M.P. Freeman (BAS, Cambridge), R.C. Fear, S.D. Browett, A.W. Smith and D.K. Whiter (University of Southampton), and B.J. Anderson (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory)


Admission to Specialist Discussion Meetings is free for RAS Fellows, £15 for non-fellows (£5 for students), cash or cheque only, collected at the registration desk.  Admission to the subsequent Open (Monthly A&G) Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society is open to all, at no charge.

Venue Address

The Royal Astronomical Society,Burlington House


51.5085763, -0.13960799999995