Consolidated Solar System Physics Research at UCLan

Lead Research Organisation: University of Central Lancashire
Department Name: Sch of Physical Sciences and Computing

Abstract

This consolidated grant proposal brings together research within the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute (JHI) of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), along with consortium collaboration with researchers at the Open University, in the research areas of solar and heliospheric physics. In these areas we will be addressing key science questions at the cutting edge of solar system research about the dynamics of the Sun and how it effects it local environment.

Specific projects include:

- investigating the effect of the rotation of sunspots on solar activity such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections to determine whether sunspot rotation leads to increased solar activity;

- exploring the nature of coronal loop heating using data from the MaGIXS sounding rocket flight and the EIS instrument on the Hinode satellite to constrain theoretical and numerical heating models;

- determining how conditions in the different layers of the Sun's atmosphere influence the onset of coronal mass ejections (CMEs), and whether atmospheric dimmings can be used as a diagnostic to predict CMEs;

- modelling the propagation of Solar Energetic Particles (SEPs) in the inner heliosphere with numerical codes and comparing with observations to determine the underlying physics throughout the solar system;

- mapping the zodiacal cloud near Mercury to better understand dust impacts on that planet, and, surveying the zodiacal cloud as a whole to investigate the effects of planets on the cloud and the sources of interplanetary dust.

Planned Impact

A principal impact is Community Engagement, of which our primary beneficiaries are students at schools and colleges, as well as members of the broader community, in Lancashire. In addition via social media and partnerships with organisations beyond the county, our reach is global.

While there is an element of dissemination in much of this work, the real impact derives from demonstrating to the people of Lancashire that work of national and international importance is taking place on their doorstep, and they can both benefit and become involved. Lancashire has some significant areas of very low engagement in Higher Education, including one of the lowest regions, Burnley. Our engagement work allows us to influence aspirations amongst children from a young age, and maintain interest in physics-focused study through the critical teenage years. In addition some of the initiatives described in Pathways to Impact have regional (North West) and wider reach, demonstrating that such work is not restricted to the largest and most prestigious institutes that may not be perceived as accessible to those from under-represented communities. For more details see:
http://www.star.uclan.ac.uk/events/
and
http://www.star.uclan.ac.uk/outreach/

Alston Observatory
We run the Alston Observatory, about 8 miles from Preston, which is a purpose-built teaching facility. Also on the site are telescopes with a long history, as well as a new 0.7-metre teaching telescope. We run monthly star-gazing events for the public. We also have a Discovery Dome planetarium system, exhibits on Telescopes as Time Machines funded by the Royal Astronomical Society, and an outside experiment on Measuring the Cosmos. Discovery Dome is an exciting system that allows a laptop computer and digital projector to display movies onto a planetarium dome, as well as enhanced planetarium shows. This will enable both informative material to be presented for evening events, and educational material for curriculum enhancement. We run many outreach events at Alston, including Stargazing Live and other public observing evenings. We have links with many local astronomical societies. We also run many events for local schools at Alston. See:
http://www.star.uclan.ac.uk/alston/workshops.php

Lancashire Science Festival
The University runs a 3-day science festival every year attracting up to 17,000 visitors from local schools and the general public. The JHI, and members of the solar physics group, actively participate in this event, developing and delivering activities ranging from stands on the show floor (there are separate mathematics, physics, and astrophysics stands), to scheduled seminars and shows. This event allows us to enthuse school students and the general public about solar and astrophysics, and disseminate results from our research.

Space Weather
Research on Solar Energetic Particles (SEPs) has application to Space Weather forecasting. A number of approaches and systems that aim to predict the radiation risk associated with SEPs are currently being developed worldwide. UCLan's earlier research on SEP propagation was used to produce a forecasting model, SPARX. This tool has been incorporated into the COMESEP Alert System and ESA Space Situational Awareness Services. A collaboration with the UK Met Office on implementing SPARX as one of its forecasting tools is ongoing. Therefore a clear pathway to impact for the work on SEP modelling exists.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description NASA HSR NNH16ZDA001N-HSR for Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science - 2016 (ROSES-2016)
Amount $250,000 (USD)
Organisation National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) 
Sector Public
Country United States
Start 03/2017 
End 02/2019
 
Description Dr Georgia De Nolfo, NASA Goodard Space Flight Center 
Organisation National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Dr Georgia De Nolfo visited us for a week in January 2018 to work on comparing PAMELA spacecraft data with our simulations of SEP propagation. This collaboration is ongoing.
Collaborator Contribution 3D test particle simulations of relativistic protons during flare/CME events.
Impact Conference presentation at SHINE Meeting 2018 and at ICRC 2019. Two refereed journal papers currently in preparation.
Start Year 2018
 
Description ISSI Team on Flares and SEPs, 6-6-2018 
Organisation Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Department German Research Centre for Geosciences
Country Germany 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Timo Laitinen was invited to be part of this Team funded by the International Space Science Institute (ISSI, Bern, Switzerland) to hold a series of research meetings. The team is researching "Solar flare acceleration signatures and their connection to solar energetic particles".
Collaborator Contribution Participation to meetings and associated research. Scientific presentation at meeting
Impact It is expected that scientific publications will be outcome of this activity in future.
Start Year 2018
 
Description ISSI Team on Flares and SEPs, 6-6-2018 
Organisation North-West University
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Timo Laitinen was invited to be part of this Team funded by the International Space Science Institute (ISSI, Bern, Switzerland) to hold a series of research meetings. The team is researching "Solar flare acceleration signatures and their connection to solar energetic particles".
Collaborator Contribution Participation to meetings and associated research. Scientific presentation at meeting
Impact It is expected that scientific publications will be outcome of this activity in future.
Start Year 2018
 
Description ISSI Team on Flares and SEPs, 6-6-2018 
Organisation Observatory of Paris
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Timo Laitinen was invited to be part of this Team funded by the International Space Science Institute (ISSI, Bern, Switzerland) to hold a series of research meetings. The team is researching "Solar flare acceleration signatures and their connection to solar energetic particles".
Collaborator Contribution Participation to meetings and associated research. Scientific presentation at meeting
Impact It is expected that scientific publications will be outcome of this activity in future.
Start Year 2018
 
Description ISSI Team on Flares and SEPs, 6-6-2018 
Organisation Stanford University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Timo Laitinen was invited to be part of this Team funded by the International Space Science Institute (ISSI, Bern, Switzerland) to hold a series of research meetings. The team is researching "Solar flare acceleration signatures and their connection to solar energetic particles".
Collaborator Contribution Participation to meetings and associated research. Scientific presentation at meeting
Impact It is expected that scientific publications will be outcome of this activity in future.
Start Year 2018
 
Description ISSI Team on Flares and SEPs, 6-6-2018 
Organisation University of Alabama in Huntsville
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Timo Laitinen was invited to be part of this Team funded by the International Space Science Institute (ISSI, Bern, Switzerland) to hold a series of research meetings. The team is researching "Solar flare acceleration signatures and their connection to solar energetic particles".
Collaborator Contribution Participation to meetings and associated research. Scientific presentation at meeting
Impact It is expected that scientific publications will be outcome of this activity in future.
Start Year 2018
 
Description ISSI Team on Flares and SEPs, 6-6-2018 
Organisation University of Glasgow
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Timo Laitinen was invited to be part of this Team funded by the International Space Science Institute (ISSI, Bern, Switzerland) to hold a series of research meetings. The team is researching "Solar flare acceleration signatures and their connection to solar energetic particles".
Collaborator Contribution Participation to meetings and associated research. Scientific presentation at meeting
Impact It is expected that scientific publications will be outcome of this activity in future.
Start Year 2018
 
Description ISSI Team on Flares and SEPs, 6-6-2018 
Organisation University of Kiel
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Timo Laitinen was invited to be part of this Team funded by the International Space Science Institute (ISSI, Bern, Switzerland) to hold a series of research meetings. The team is researching "Solar flare acceleration signatures and their connection to solar energetic particles".
Collaborator Contribution Participation to meetings and associated research. Scientific presentation at meeting
Impact It is expected that scientific publications will be outcome of this activity in future.
Start Year 2018
 
Description ISSI Team on Flares and SEPs, 6-6-2018 
Organisation University of Minnesota
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Timo Laitinen was invited to be part of this Team funded by the International Space Science Institute (ISSI, Bern, Switzerland) to hold a series of research meetings. The team is researching "Solar flare acceleration signatures and their connection to solar energetic particles".
Collaborator Contribution Participation to meetings and associated research. Scientific presentation at meeting
Impact It is expected that scientific publications will be outcome of this activity in future.
Start Year 2018
 
Description ISSI Team on Flares and SEPs, 6-6-2018 
Organisation Western Kentucky University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Timo Laitinen was invited to be part of this Team funded by the International Space Science Institute (ISSI, Bern, Switzerland) to hold a series of research meetings. The team is researching "Solar flare acceleration signatures and their connection to solar energetic particles".
Collaborator Contribution Participation to meetings and associated research. Scientific presentation at meeting
Impact It is expected that scientific publications will be outcome of this activity in future.
Start Year 2018
 
Description SUN Art Installation - Lightpool Festival, Blackpool Winter Gardens, 14-26 October 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A world premiere, SUN is a partnership between public artist Alex Rinsler and Prof. Robert Walsh, one of the UK's leading solar physicists. SUN is a seven-metre diameter suspended sphere, presenting astrophysical data from NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory in stunning 360°. SUN displays several months in the life of our closest star but in tens of minutes of real time.

Dalla and Laitinen supported the art display by talking with the public about how the SUN movies were obtained, what they showed and the physics of the Sun, over several evenings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.visitblackpool.com/things-to-do/festival/sun-(2)/