Solar scientists meet at UWA

An image of the Sun taken from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory

An image of the Sun taken from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory

10 April 2006

Monday 10 April, 2006
Aberystwyth hosts top UK Physicists
The leading figures in the UK who research on Solar System Physics are at UWA this week (Monday 10 until Thursday 13 April) for the prestigious MIST (Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Solar Terrestrial) / UKSP (UK Solar Physics) meeting which is being hosted by the University.

The focus for discussions will be the Sun, the solar wind (the supersonically expanding atmosphere of the Sun), how the solar wind interacts with the planets and its effects on the Earth.

One consequence of the solar wind hitting the earth's magnetic field is the beautiful northern lights, but the processes also disrupt communications, navigation and even work like prospecting for oil. So, as well as advancing our knowledge this research field has important practical applications.

The meeting will be the first for Professor Manuel Grande who joined the University as director of the Solar System Physics Group at the Institute of Mathematical and Physical Sciences on the 1st of April. He said: “I am delighted to welcome scientists from across the UK to this MIST/UKSP meeting. The conference will bring real benefits to everyone involved as discuss ideas and share discoveries.”

Dr Andy Breen, Director of Space Science Research at IMAPS said: “Our Solar System Physics Group is a strong research team. We look forward to sharing our expertise while learning from other scientists working in this field.”

Physics research has been taking place at UWA since the creation of the University in 1872. The Solar System Physics Group researchers the Sun, the solar wind and its interaction with the Earth and other planets. MIST, which meets every 6 months, covers the upper atmosphere and magnetic fields of the Earth and other planets and their interaction with the solar wind, whilst UKSP, which meets annually brings together scientists studying the Sun and its extended atmosphere. It is 30 years since MIST first came to Aberystwyth but this is the first visit by UKSP.