The Center for Space Science and Engineering Research investigates space weather and its interactions with the Earth.
Space@VT building chain of instrument stations in Antarctica
Members of the Space@VT research group are receiving a $2 million grant from the NSF to build a chain of space weather instrument stations in Antarctica. Space weather affects a variety of everyday consumer technologies including global positioning systems GPS, satellites for television reception, and cellular phones. Also, the understanding of space weather is critical to space programs.
The northern hemisphere is already well instrumented as a number of stations currently exist in the Arctic, including an array in Greenland. But due primarily to the “extreme Antarctic climate and lack of manned facilities with the necessary infrastructure to support facilities, the southern polar region is not,” said Robert Clauer, who is leading the effort. Data from the southern magnetic field is weaker than the northern magnetic polar field because its “magnetic dipole is offset from the center of the earth and tilted,” he explained.