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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.

We are proud to present a new introductory film, in which the Royal Belgian Institute is being presented in all its facets. Discover the many fields of research and societal challenges in which the Institute is active.
A new book on the magnetospheres in our solar system has been published by Wiley. It has been co-edited by our BIRA-IASB colleague Dr. Romain Maggiolo. Based on 13 years experience in the “Magnetosphere” research team within the “Space Physics” department, he was approached to be the main editor of this book.
BIRA-IASB is preparing a new space instrument, 3DEES, in consortium with the Université Catholique de Louvain and QinetiQ Space, to study the Earth's space radiation environment on board ESA's PROBA-3 satellite.
The four European Cluster spacecraft celebrate their 20th birthday this year. We take a look at the scientific discoveries BIRA-IASB made with the data gathered by the Cluster mission.
Two Belgian CubeSats, PICASSO (from the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy) and SIMBA (from the Royal Meteorological Institute) were launched simultaneously with about 50 tiny satellites, on board Europe’s inaugural Vega SSMS flight.
Belgian scientists can detect meteors and meteorites falling in or around Belgium. The Museum of Natural Science in Brussels has six meteorites that fell in Belgium.
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.
The ‘Comet Interceptor’ has been selected as ESA’s new fast-class mission in its Cosmic Vision Programme. Comprising three spacecraft, it will be the first to visit a truly pristine comet.