Engebretson and MACCS team receive $425,919 grant from National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation has awarded a new three-year $425,919 research grant (NSF AGS-1264146) to Augsburg College’s Physics Department for continued operation of the Magnetometer Array for Cusp and Cleft Studies (MACCS), a longitudinally-extended array of 8 magnetometers located in Arctic Canada, and for space science research based on MACCS data.

In addition to funding for field operations and scientific analysis, this new grant will continue to support undergraduate research.  Two undergraduate students will work each summer with members of the MACCS team, which includes: Mark Engebretson, Professor of Physics and Principal Investigator; David Murr, Associate Professor of Physics and Co-Principal Investigator; Viacheslav Pilipenko, Visiting Faculty and Co-Principal Investigator; Jennifer Posch, Assistant Scientist; Laura Simms, Physics Research Assistant; and Erik Steinmetz, Computer Science Instructor.

Originally installed in 1992/93, the MACCS array detects magnetic variations and electrical currents that originate near the boundary between Earth’s magnetosphere and the solar wind and propagate along magnetic field lines that reach Earth’s surface at high latitudes.  High time resolution GPS receivers installed at two MACCS sites in the past 3 years augment these magnetometers, and make it possible to study motions of the high-latitude ionosphere.  The MACCS array has provided data to space scientists worldwide:  since 2003, over 50 refereed research papers focusing on the dynamics of Earth’s space environment have used MACCS data or were theoretical studies supported by MACCS grants.

If you would like to learn more about this project, please contact Mark Engebretson at engebret@augsburg.edu.

Editor’s Note: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. AGS-1264146. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.