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Space physics

Space physics studies the Sun, the particles and radiation it creates, and how these affect the planets. This includes the solar wind and its interaction with the Earth and near-Earth space, so-called space weather.

BIRA-IASB has extensive expertise in:

  • modelling the dynamic behavior of the Earth’s magnetosphere
  • its coupling with the ionosphere as manifested by the aurora

These studies are deeply rooted in observations provided by ESA’s space missions such as Ulysses or Cluster.

A team of BIRA-IASB scientists and an engineer travelled to Norway in order to test two instruments capable of detecting the polarisation of the Aurora light.
Emmanuel Dekemper's personal account of the BIRA-IASB team's mission to Norway. In February, a few scientists and an engineer travelled above the Arctic circle in order to test ASPA and PLIP, instruments capable of studying light polarisation.
This discovery explains why comets seem to contain so little nitrogen: the nitrogen is trapped in these substances that are difficult to detect from Earth.