Queen's University Belfast Consolidated Grant in Solar Physics and Solar System Studies 2017 - 2020

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Department Name: Sch of Mathematics and Physics

Abstract

Our Consolidated Grant brings together research projects in solar physics, and the study of solar system bodies, undertaken by staff within the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen's University Belfast. All of these projects fall within the remit of the Solar Studies (SS) and Planetary Studies (PL) sub-panels of the STFC Astronomy Grants Panel. The programme is diverse, with the solar physics projects involving observational and computational studies of the solar atmosphere from the chromosphere to the corona, with a particular emphasis on high-frequency imaging and spectroscopy of dynamic events, including wave generation, propagation and dissipation, the cancellation of magnetic elements and total solar eclipses. Projects on solar system bodies include observational studies of asteroids and the most primitive populations such as comets/trans-Neptunian objects - populations that retain key information on the origin and evolution of our planetary system.

Our observational research employs an extensive set of both ground- and satellite-based solar and astronomical facilities, including the ROSA/HARDcam high-cadence solar imager, the Pan-STARRS Survey, ESO, ING and Gemini telescopes, and the SDO and Hinode satellites. In addition, we use the DiRAC supercomputing facility to support the computational aspects of our research programmes.

Planned Impact

1. Public engagement

Our research fields of solar physics and solar system studies are ideal for public engagement activities, as these astronomical sources are generally observable either with the naked eye or small telescopes (which we provide at our public events). We have a wide-ranging, vibrant and extremely popular outreach portfolio linked to our research fields, which have a major impact on society and (in particular) schoolchildren. Our outreach programmes, which will be ongoing over the period of the Consolidated Grant, include:

- Horizons in Physics, an event held annually in September and which attracts 400 5th- and 6th-form students.

- Physics Teachers Conference - held annually in June and attended by 40-50 teachers. The conference always includes at least one talk on our astrophysics research.

- NI Science Festival - held annually in February, at which we give talks on our research, attended by typically 300 people. We also contribute to a week-long exhibition in the Ulster Museum, with an attendance of several thousand.

- Stargazing Live - we contribute to this regular event (typical attendance of 400) in both solar physics and solar system studies, such as a Jupiter watch (January 2014) and partial solar eclipse (March 2015), including the provision of telescopes for public use. Future events will include the eclipse in August 2017, which will be partially visible from Northern Ireland.

- We are introducing, from January 2016, an annual work experience programme in astrophysics for 6th-formers. It will support 5 students per year in solar physics and solar system studies.

- We have an active talks programme, available to schools, clubs, societies and FE colleges. Talks by the Applicants related to the current proposal are given about 20 times per year, and include Death of the Dinosaurs and Why is the Sky Blue?


2. Knowledge exchange engagement

We have 2 such programmes with links to the present application, outlined below.

2.1 Detector development

We are working with ANDOR Technology PLC on the development of large-format, high-speed sCMOS cameras for the new DKIST 4-m solar telescope, funded by a PPRP grant for £1.9M. This has arisen from our collaborative work with ANDOR on the provision of detectors for our ROSA/HARDcam solar imager. As well as providing the full complement of 9 cameras for DKIST, the development work will allow ANDOR to make further inroads into the astronomy market. Indeed, this work has already led to a further grant from the EU to investigate detector options for the European Solar Telescope (EST), with a view to ANDOR providing the detector suite as and when EST is approved. In the longer term, a major aim is to adapt the DKIST camera platform for high-speed X-ray detection applications, including protein crystallography and 3D X-ray tomography.

2.2 Biomarker detection in medical patient samples

We are working with Randox Laboratories, a global market leader in the medical diagnostic industry, as part of a proposed Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Applications at Queen's. The focus of the Centre will be to deliver core technologies for the detection of multiple chemical constituents from a single patient sample. Through our solar physics work on high-cadence imaging, we have extensive experience in optics and image processing, and will be involved in designing custom image processing solutions that can be utilised specifically for biomedical applications. For example, one area for investigation will be methods to increase the sensitivity of detection for biomarkers, in turn improving the detection window for elevated levels of biomarkers so that they can be identified earlier and treatment can be started sooner. A proposal totalling £2.5M to establish the Centre for Excellence in Biomedical Applications has been submitted to InvestNI (the industrial development agency for Northern Ireland).

Publications

10 25 50

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Kleyna J (2019) The Sporadic Activity of (6478) Gault: A YORP-driven Event? in The Astrophysical Journal

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Kleyna Jan T. (2019) The Sporadic Activity of (6478) Gault: A YORP-driven Event? in The Astrophysical Journal

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Kokotanekova R (2017) Rotation of cometary nuclei: new light curves and an update of the ensemble properties of Jupiter-family comets in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Kokotanekova R (2017) Rotation of cometary nuclei: new light curves and an update of the ensemble properties of Jupiter-family comets in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Kokotanekova R. (2017) Rotation of cometary nuclei: new light curves and an update of the ensemble properties of Jupiter-family comets in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Kokotanekova R. (2018) Implications of the small spin changes measured for large Jupiter-family comet nuclei in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Krishna Prasad S (2019) The Temperature-Dependent Damping of Propagating Slow Magnetoacoustic Waves in Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences

 
Title The science in science-fiction films and television programmes 
Description This is a collection of presentations which use clips of science-fiction films and television shows (e.g. Star Wars, Star Trek) to show how science is portrayed in these media, and discusses how accurate (or otherwise) these portrayals are. Presentation includes discussion of our research on exoplanets. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2008 
Impact The presentations were first produced back in 2007 - supported by an STFC Public Understanding of Science (PUS) Small Award - and since then have been regularly updated, and will continue through 2020. They have been delivered to audiences totalling many thousands - probably over 3000 over the last 3 years alone, These include the general public, schools, higher educational institutes, research establishments. 
 
Description Contribution to summer schools
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Staff have contributed (and continue to contribute) to various summer schools and workshops aimed at training postgraduate students. A recent example is the UKRI STFC Introductory Course in Astronomy for New PhD Students, hosted at Queen's University in August 2018.
 
Description Astronomy Research Grants
Amount £1,307,461 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/P000304/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 03/2020
 
Description Before and After Halley: Medieval Visions of Modern Science
Amount £98,149 (GBP)
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 03/2019
 
Description EU Horizon 2020
Amount € 18,750 (EUR)
Funding ID 739500 
Organisation European Union 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 04/2017 
End 03/2021
 
Description Faint signals from bright sources: identifying high-frequency waves in the Sun
Amount £274,257 (GBP)
Funding ID RPG-2019-371 
Organisation The Leverhulme Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2020 
End 05/2024
 
Description Funding for UK access to the Swedish Solar Telescope in 2018
Amount £44,961 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/P007198/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2017 
End 03/2017
 
Description Funding for UK access to the Swedish Solar Telescope in 2019
Amount £51,679 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/S001182/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2018 
End 02/2019
 
Description Further supplement to detector development for the DKIST solar telescope
Amount £30,000 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/L006308/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2018 
End 12/2018
 
Description Integrating High Resolution Solar Physics.
Amount £123,310 (GBP)
Funding ID 824135 
Organisation European Union 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2019 
End 12/2023
 
Description Magnetic reconnection and turbulence in the lower solar atmosphere
Amount £99,905 (GBP)
Organisation University of Surrey 
Department Daphne Jackson Trust
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2018 
End 04/2021
 
Description Not applicable
Amount £13,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 2391 
Organisation Armagh Observatory 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2016 
End 03/2017
 
Description Not applicable
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 4500212929 
Organisation Northumbria University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2015 
End 05/2018
 
Description Not applicable
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Funding ID PO 1643843 
Organisation University of Glasgow 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2015 
End 12/2018
 
Description Not applicable
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Funding ID MOA/STL6324 
Organisation University of Warwick 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2015 
End 12/2018
 
Description Not applicable
Amount £3,000 (GBP)
Funding ID OTSST 
Organisation University of Sheffield 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2016 
End 02/2017
 
Description Not applicable
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Funding ID MOA 27072015 
Organisation University of St Andrews 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2015 
End 12/2018
 
Description Not applicable
Amount £150,000 (GBP)
Funding ID R/139338 
Organisation University of Sheffield 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2015 
End 12/2018
 
Description Not applicable
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 2174 
Organisation Armagh Observatory 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2015 
End 03/2018
 
Description Not applicable
Amount £3,000 (GBP)
Funding ID TSST 
Organisation Northumbria University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2016 
End 02/2017
 
Description Preparatory Phase for the European Solar Telescope
Amount £14,424 (GBP)
Funding ID 739500 
Organisation European Commission H2020 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 06/2017 
End 05/2020
 
Description Queen's University Belfast Consolidated Grant in Solar Physics and Solar System Studies 2020 - 2023
Amount £862,359 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/T00021X/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2020 
End 03/2023
 
Description Randox Laboratories R and D Initiative
Amount £2,398,846 (GBP)
Organisation Randox Laboratories 
Sector Private
Country Global
Start 05/2017 
End 09/2021
 
Description STFC Belfast 2019 DTP
Amount £305,744 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/T506369/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2019 
End 09/2023
 
Description Supplement to detector development for the DKIST solar telescope
Amount £51,300 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/L006308/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2018 
End 12/2018
 
Description The SOXS consortium : Data Flow Architecture Work Package
Amount £239,079 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/S002693/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2018 
End 03/2021
 
Description The polarimetric Properties of Waves in The Solar Atmosphere
Amount £88,054 (GBP)
Organisation The Leverhulme Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 03/2020
 
Description UK Involvement in LSST: Phase A
Amount £380,328 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/N002520/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 03/2019
 
Description UK-DKIST Science Support
Amount £172,190 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/T001437/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2019 
End 09/2021
 
Description UK-India Education and Research Initiative
Amount £48,900 (GBP)
Funding ID UGC -UKIERI -2017/18-014 
Organisation British Council 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2018 
End 03/2020
 
Title Development of data reduction and analysis techniques 
Description As part of our ongoing research programmes , staff continually develop new and improved data reduction and modelling tools. These will be detailed in the resultant research outputs. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Such tools and methods can be accessed by the worldwide astronomical community via our outputs in journals and conference proceedings. 
 
Title Database of (reduced) data from the ROSA solar imager and instruments on the Swedish Solar Telescope. 
Description Database of reduced solar imaging data from the ROSA imager and Swedish Solar Telescope (including application of image reconstruction software to produce images at the diffraction limit). 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Databases for both ROSA and SST data are now well established and accessed by the solar physics community. 
 
Description Collaborative Agreement for DKIST Science Support at Queen's University Belfast 
Organisation National Solar Observatory (NSO)
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Provision of a Support Facility at Queen's University Belfast for observing and data reduction with the DKIST solar telescope.
Collaborator Contribution NSO is providing 50% funding for a PDRA for the project, matched by 50% from STFC. NSO is also providing funding for computer equipment for the project, in this case their 50% funding being matched by 50% from Queen's University.
Impact None to date
Start Year 2020
 
Description Collaborative agreement for development of detectors for the DKIST solar telescope. 
Organisation Andor Technology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Advice on camera requirements to meet science goals, and will test cameras when ready.
Collaborator Contribution Building the cameras.
Impact None as yet.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Collaborative agreement for purchase of Swedish Solar Telescope Time 2017 - 2019 
Organisation Stockholm University
Country Sweden 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Part-funding to purchase time on the Swedish Solar Telescope (SST) for use by the UK solar physics community during calendar years 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Collaborator Contribution UK partners - Armagh Observatory, Sheffield University and Northumbria University - also provided a financial contribution to purchase the SST time. There is also an agreement between Queen's University Belfast and Stockholm University for the purchase of the SST time from the latter.
Impact The agreement covers the provision of time on the SST only; exploitation of this time, and resultant publications etc, are the responsibility of the relevant UK teams who have been allocated time. They will hence report on the outcomes of their SST time awards in their own Researchfish submissions.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Collaborative agreement for time on the DKIST (formerly ATST) telescope. 
Organisation Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy
Country United States 
Sector Learned Society 
PI Contribution With other UK partners and STFC, will provide funding to purchase cameras for the DKIST.
Collaborator Contribution In return for the cameras, will provide guaranteed time on DKiST to the UK solar community.
Impact None as yet.
Start Year 2014
 
Description UK - Indian collaboration on solar physics 
Organisation Indian Institute of Technology BHU
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This collaboration involves UK partners (Queen's University Belfast, University of Sheffield, Northumbria University) and Indian partners (Indian Institute of Technology Varanasi, Inter University Centre for Astronomy & Astrophysics Pune, Indian Institute of Astrophysics) on a collaborative programme on solar physics research, in particular on data from the upcoming Aditya-1 mission - the first Indian solar satellite, due for launch in 2019. Queen's will provide expertise on relevant areas of solar physics, including high cadence observations and spectroscopic diagnostics.
Collaborator Contribution Other partners will provide expertise in their relevant areas, such as solar plasma theory.
Impact None as yet.
Start Year 2018
 
Title Collaboration with Randox Laboratories 
Description A collaboration with Randox Laboratories to apply imaging techniques developed for solar studies to medical diagnostic instrumentation. 
Type Diagnostic Tool - Imaging
Current Stage Of Development Initial development
Year Development Stage Completed 2017
Development Status Under active development/distribution
Impact None to date - still under development and results not likely before 2020 - 2021. 
 
Description Annual in-house activities 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Astronomy lectures and presentations are given at the following annual events: (i) QUB Horizons in Physics} (which attracts around 400 4th- and 5th-form students per year), (ii) Physics Open Days (around 200 6th-form students), (iii) Physics Teachers Conference (about 50 Physics teachers from schools in Ireland).


Increased take-up of Physics and Astronomy degree programme over last 3 years.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2006,2007,2008,
 
Description European Solar Telescope (EST) public talk. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Media activity linked to Queen's hosting the European Solar Telescope (EST) Science Advisory Group meeting in April 2018, followed by a public talk and a presentation of the EST model.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Flyby of asteroid 3122 Florence 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact BBC World Service and Radio Sputnik (Russia) interviews on the satellite flyby of an asteroid.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Interview on BBC morning news 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interviewed on BBC morning news in Feb 2018 about research on Oumuamua, the first interstellar object to be observed entering our solar system.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Media interviews for research work on observations of wave motions in the solar atmosphere 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact BBC radio interview on outcome of research project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Media interviews related to research on the Oumuamua interstellar object 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact World service and BBC R4 interviews regarding research on Oumuamua, the first interstellar object to be observed entering our solar system.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
 
Description Michael West lectures 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We have initiated a series of high-profile public lectures, The Michael West Lecture Series in Astronomy, following a philanthropic donation from Dr West which funds a Fellowship with a major outreach and education component. These lectures, which are scheduled typically twice per year, each attract 200 people, and are now the most widely attended public lecture series at Queen's University and indeed in Ireland as a whole.


Increased requests for e.g. school talks. Media interviews.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011,2012,2013,2014,2015
URL https://star.pst.qub.ac.uk/wiki/public/outreach/start
 
Description Presentations on the total solar eclipse in the USA in 2017. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact During our campaign to observe the total solar eclipse in the USA in 2017, we gave talks and demonstrations to audiences at the eclipse site in Idaho. We have also made a video of the eclipse campaign, and plan to develop this into a talk for schools and the general public.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description School visits 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact All members of the Astrophysics Research Centre (ARC) at Queen's University are involved in schools talks, covering their research topics as well as more general interests in astronomy. Most are at secondary level but also at primary (we actively take part in STEPS), either in the classroom or at Queen's. ARC staff deliver a total of about 40 talks/year to pupils, with typical class sizes of 25.

Hard to assess, but in Northern Ireland uptake of Physics at university level has increased steadily in recent years, in contrast to the UK trend.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2006,2007,2008,
 
Description Sky at Night interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Sky at Night interview in January 2018 for research on Oumuamua, the first interstellar object to be observed entering our solar system. There was also an associated press release.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018