Solar Orbiter Community Project - Linking Remote and In Situ Observations Through Numerical Modelling Tools of the Solar Corona and Heliosphere.

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Mullard Space Science Laboratory

Abstract

The ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter mission is scheduled for launch in February 2020. It will travel to solar distances inside the orbit of Mercury and will also make unique measurements at high solar latitudes. Achieving the science goals of the missions depends critically on being able to make connections between solar phenomena and their counterparts in interplanetary space. This requires making coordinated observations between the combined set of remote sensing and in situ instruments which form the scientific payload. As a consequence, a key pre-requisite for delivery of this connections science is to ensure the correct planning of these joint observations and to establish their validity. We must be able to predict and subsequently confirm the link between the small fields of view of the remote sensing instruments and the location of the spacecraft (the in situ sensors) during each of the observing windows throughout the mission. To achieve this, it is in turn vital to establish a coherent chain of models of the magnetic field and plasma outflow structure of the solar corona and the inner heliosphere which can accurately predict the ballistic and magnetic connections of the spacecraft to locations in the corona. While several models exist, they are used predominantly in a cutting-edge research context and we are lacking development of their application into a robust, largely autonomous operational product for routine use with available feed data by the Solar Orbiter scientific community. The purpose of this project is to assist in the development of such a product, at least in part by facilitating the engagement of a significant UK community of modellers with the wider international efforts to address this problem.

Planned Impact

The summary of the impact of this project includes:

i) Contribution to realising the optimum quality of the data return from the Solar Orbiter mission. Our project will ensure that the best quality, most relevant data are returned for scientific exploitation by the UK and worldwide communities. There will be a consequence positive impact on the UK science return from the mission.

ii) Increased awareness of the goals of the Solar Orbiter mission amongst UK community members.

iii) The UKSA has made a significant investment in 4 of the 10 instruments, and UK plc is a significant beneficiary through the 300 million Euro contract awarded to AIRBUS DS, Stevenage, to build the spacecraft bus. The participation of relevant expert scientists in the fields of solar and heliospheric science in preparation work prior to launch in Feb 2020 will allow both the lead investigators and ESA planners to tune operations activities to best meet the science goals of both the mission and aspirations of the UK science community.

iii) The post-doc, researchers and students who will participate in this community project will also be in a better position to more widely disseminate information about the mission to broader audiences.

iv) Moreover, they will be potentially in a strong position, where relevant, to secure (further) post-doctoral positions in this field and thus participate directly in securing the science return from the mission after launch.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Tools for modelling the solar corona and heliosphere 
Description The suite of scripts employs a number of codes and software (IDL, SolarSoft, Paraview, PFSSPY, QSLsquasher) for the visualization and characterization of numerical (spherical) models of the solar corona in terms of free energy, open flux, quasi-separatrix layers, and the comparison with observational information such as EUV and white-light maps. The following material is provided: 1. A suite of scripts the analysis of coronal models (analysis_scripts_v0.1.tar.gz) 2. A document describing the step-by-step use of the scripts (Analysis_tools_v0.1.pdf) 3. The coronal model for the PSP-P1 passage generated with the magnetofrictional code DUMFRIC by A.Yeates, used as a test case (b20181105.nc) 4. A summary of the analysis of six of coronal models for the PSP-P1 (uk_solo_models.pdf) 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The suite of tools will support the analysis of spherical coronal models. The scripts were developed for the comparison of numerical models of the solar corona at the time of the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) first perihelion passage (P1) within the project, and can be evolved for use with ongoing PSP and Solar Orbiter analyses. 
URL https://sites.google.com/view/solocommunityproject/
 
Title Analysis scripts for the comparison of numerical models of the Solar corona with data from Solar Orbiter and Parker Solar Probe 
Description We developed a number of scripts for the analysis of spherical coronal models. The scripts were developed for the comparison of numerical models of the solar corona at the time of the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) first perihelion passage (P1), and for the future use with the Solar Orbiter project. The suite of scripts employs a number of codes and software (IDL, SolarSoft, Paraview, PFSSPY, QSLsquasher) for the visualization and characterization of numerical (spherical) models of the solar corona in terms of free energy, open flux, quasi-separatrix layers, and the comparison with observational information such as EUV and white-light maps. The following material is provided: 1. A suite of scripts the analysis of coronal models (analysis_scripts_v0.1.tar.gz) 2. A document describing the step-by-step use of the scripts (Analysis_tools_v0.1.pdf) 3. The coronal model for the PSP-P1 passage generated with the magnetofrictional code DUMFRIC by A.Yeates, used as a test case (b20181105.nc) 4. A summary of the analysis of six of coronal models for the PSP-P1 (uk_solo_models.pdf) 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The work here augments the Solar Orbiter 'Connectivity tool' work undertaken by the international community under the MADAWG working group for the mission. It particularly leverages previously untapped UK expertise in this area. 
URL https://sites.google.com/view/solocommunityproject/
 
Description Solar Orbiter In situ Working Group 
Organisation European Space Agency
Department Solar Orbiter
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution This group has meet every few months over the last decade in order to discuss and plan the joint operations of the in situ group of instruments on Solar Orbiter. As a key contributor of 3 separate scientific sensors within the SWA consortium, we have been at the forefront of this activity.
Collaborator Contribution The group includes members from all of the institutes that have contributed the 4 in situ instruments on Solar Orbiter. Together we have planned joint operations and produced instruments that have incorporated specific elements or capability to support those plans. Now in flight the group continues to meet to continue to plan and execute joint operations of the in situ instruments on the mission.
Impact Launch of the Solar Orbiter mission with advanced plans to jointly operate the in situ instruments in order to improve the overall science return of the mission
Start Year 2012
 
Description Solar Orbiter In situ Working Group 
Organisation Imperial College London
Department Department of Physics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This group has meet every few months over the last decade in order to discuss and plan the joint operations of the in situ group of instruments on Solar Orbiter. As a key contributor of 3 separate scientific sensors within the SWA consortium, we have been at the forefront of this activity.
Collaborator Contribution The group includes members from all of the institutes that have contributed the 4 in situ instruments on Solar Orbiter. Together we have planned joint operations and produced instruments that have incorporated specific elements or capability to support those plans. Now in flight the group continues to meet to continue to plan and execute joint operations of the in situ instruments on the mission.
Impact Launch of the Solar Orbiter mission with advanced plans to jointly operate the in situ instruments in order to improve the overall science return of the mission
Start Year 2012
 
Description Solar Orbiter In situ Working Group 
Organisation Observatory of Paris
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This group has meet every few months over the last decade in order to discuss and plan the joint operations of the in situ group of instruments on Solar Orbiter. As a key contributor of 3 separate scientific sensors within the SWA consortium, we have been at the forefront of this activity.
Collaborator Contribution The group includes members from all of the institutes that have contributed the 4 in situ instruments on Solar Orbiter. Together we have planned joint operations and produced instruments that have incorporated specific elements or capability to support those plans. Now in flight the group continues to meet to continue to plan and execute joint operations of the in situ instruments on the mission.
Impact Launch of the Solar Orbiter mission with advanced plans to jointly operate the in situ instruments in order to improve the overall science return of the mission
Start Year 2012
 
Description Solar Orbiter In situ Working Group 
Organisation University of Alcalá
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This group has meet every few months over the last decade in order to discuss and plan the joint operations of the in situ group of instruments on Solar Orbiter. As a key contributor of 3 separate scientific sensors within the SWA consortium, we have been at the forefront of this activity.
Collaborator Contribution The group includes members from all of the institutes that have contributed the 4 in situ instruments on Solar Orbiter. Together we have planned joint operations and produced instruments that have incorporated specific elements or capability to support those plans. Now in flight the group continues to meet to continue to plan and execute joint operations of the in situ instruments on the mission.
Impact Launch of the Solar Orbiter mission with advanced plans to jointly operate the in situ instruments in order to improve the overall science return of the mission
Start Year 2012
 
Description Solar Orbiter In situ Working Group 
Organisation University of Kiel
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This group has meet every few months over the last decade in order to discuss and plan the joint operations of the in situ group of instruments on Solar Orbiter. As a key contributor of 3 separate scientific sensors within the SWA consortium, we have been at the forefront of this activity.
Collaborator Contribution The group includes members from all of the institutes that have contributed the 4 in situ instruments on Solar Orbiter. Together we have planned joint operations and produced instruments that have incorporated specific elements or capability to support those plans. Now in flight the group continues to meet to continue to plan and execute joint operations of the in situ instruments on the mission.
Impact Launch of the Solar Orbiter mission with advanced plans to jointly operate the in situ instruments in order to improve the overall science return of the mission
Start Year 2012
 
Description BBC News article on Solar Orbiter 
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 Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact News article for BBC news online.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-51420402
 
Description BBC News article on Solar Orbiter 
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 Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact BBC news online article on Solar Orbiter
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-51420400/living-next-to-our-dynamic-star
 
Description Host and LOC for the Solar Orbiter MADAWG meeting at UCL, September 2019. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Solar Orbiter MADAWG working group aims to bring together the expertise of the international solar and heliospheric community to discuss and forward plans in mission-relevant modelling and data analysis, particularly in magnetic modeling and model validation, to increase the impact of the international efforts in preparation for Solar Orbiter operations, and to coordinate the efforts for the exploitation of the satellite observations. We at UCL hosted the international participants in the September 2019 meeting.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://issues.cosmos.esa.int/solarorbiterwiki/display/SOSP/Modelling+and+Data+Analysis+Working+Grou...
 
Description Interrview in Metro Newspaper 
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 Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Article on Solar Orbiter in the Metro newspaper
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://metro.co.uk/2020/02/10/british-built-solar-orbiter-spacecraft-blasts-off-historic-mission-su...
 
Description Interview for AOL news 
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 Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Article on Solar Orbiter for AOL news channels
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.aol.co.uk/news/2020/02/07/spacecraft-built-to-probe-sun-a-shows-uka-s-scientific-strengt...
 
Description Interview for BBC Radio 4 PM programme 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Radio interview for BBC Radio 4 'PM' programme on the Solar Orbiter mission
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000dqz5
 
Description Interview for MSN news 
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 Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview on Solar Orbiter on MSN News
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/techandscience/spacecraft-built-to-probe-sun-shows-uks-scientific-str...
 
Description Interview for Yahoo news 
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 Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Contributions to article on Solar orbiter for Yahoo News
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://uk.news.yahoo.com/spacecraft-built-probe-sun-shows-024546512.html
 
Description Interview for the BBC World Service Radio 
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 Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Radio Interview on the Solar orbiter mission for the BBC World Service 'Newshour' Program
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w172wq5575ftqfj
 
Description Interview in the Evening Standard Newspaper 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Article o Solar Orbiter in the Evening Standard newspaper
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/uk-spacecraft-solar-orbiter-sun-a4357916.html
 
Description Interview in the Evening Standard Newspaper 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Article on Solar Orbiter for the Evening Standard Newspaper
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/solar-orbiter-launch-mission-sun-a4358251.html
 
Description Interview in the Telegraph Newspaper 
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 Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview on the Solar Orbiter mission for the Telegraph newspaper
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2020/02/09/comes-sun-british-built-probe-heads-centre-solar-syst...
 
Description Interview in the Telegraph Newspaper 
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 Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Article on Solar Orbiter in the Telegraph newspaper
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/02/09/prehistoric-cave-paintings-helping-scientists-discover-s...
 
Description Interview in the Times Newspaper 
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 Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Newspaper interview on the Solar Orbiter mission
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/british-built-spacecraft-to-study-origin-of-solar-winds-bbsd33qxw
 
Description Media Post on UCL News 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Media post on UCL news channels focussing on UCL's involvement in Solar Orbiter.

We note that UKSA reports it can identify 266 media articles relating to the launch of Solar Orbiter, with an estimated reach to 50 million people in the UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2020/feb/sun-explorer-spacecraft-launches-successfully
 
Description Multiple broadcasts on Solar Orbiter Launch on various Eurpoean and Worldwide Channels 
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 Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interviews on the Solar Orbiter launch broadcast and disseminated across various european and international media channels including:
https://www.elperiodico.com/es/ciencia/20200208/una-sonda-se-prepara-para-observar-los-polos-del-sol-7839489 (Spain)
https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/geral-51442414 (Brazil)
https://www.bbc.com/indonesia/dunia-51440366 (Indonesia)
https://www.rtp.pt/noticias/mundo/solar-orbiter-descola-para-capturar-os-polos-do-sol_n1204204 (Portugal)
https://www.swr.de/swraktuell/radio/im-gespraech/Solar-Orbiter-gestartet-der-Sonne-ganz-nah,solar-orbiter-gestartet-der-sonne-ganz-nah-100.html (Germany)
https://www.zdf.de/nachrichten/heute-in-deutschland/heute---in-deutschland-clip-5-1626.html (Germany)
https://www.zdf.de/nachrichten/heute-journal/bilderbuchstart-fuer-sonnensonde-100.html (Germany)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.zdf.de/nachrichten/heute-journal/bilderbuchstart-fuer-sonnensonde-100.html
 
Description Organisation of the 2nd UK Solar Orbiter Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The UK Solar Orbiter Workshop brought together the expertise of the UK solar community in magnetic modelling and model validation, to increase the UK impact on the international efforts in preparation for Solar Orbiter operations, and to coordinate the UK efforts for the exploitation of the satellite observations.
All members of the UK solar physics community interested in the Solar Orbiter mission goals were encouraged to attend.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://sites.google.com/view/ukso-19
 
Description Solar Orbiter Science Briefing at ESA social media event, ESOC, Germany 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact ESA organised a social media space event associated with the launch of Solar Orbiter. This was attended by 40 social media influencers and enthusiasts who were especially selected and invited. A member of the SWA team provided the general science briefing for the mission and discussed and answered questions on the mission with the assembled social media enthusiasts. The activity produced very extensive coverage on social media channels, and has generated many requests for follow-up information on these channels.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description TV interview for BBC News at 6 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact BBC news interview on the Solar Orbiter Mission
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000f2gn
 
Description TV interview for BBC World 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 Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview after the launch of Solar Orbiter broadcast on BBC World News
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020