Dr. Engebretson awarded NSF funding for collaborative space physics research

The National Science Foundation recently awarded Dr. Mark Engebretson, Professor Emeritus of Physics, and his team $396,635 over three years to support the project, “Collaborative Research:  Studies of ULF Waves Associated with Solar Wind Coupling to the Magnetosphere and Ionosphere.” (NSF ID: PLR-1341493)

In collaboration with Dr. Marc Lessard at the University of New Hampshire, Dr. Engebretson will continue to operate and analyze data from four ground-based induction magnetometers located in Antarctica (including South Pole Station) and two in the Arctic. The stations in this project are key links in arrays of ground-based ionospheric and magnetospheric observatories in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. These observatories, together with both low-altitude and high-altitude NASA satellites, provide the data with which Engebretson, Lessard, and members of their team work to characterize and understand the physical processes occurring in Earth’s space environment.

The study of the Earth’s space environment has become increasingly important to our technologically–driven society.  This research aims to better understand geospace phenomena, including solar wind–magnetosphere interactions and geomagnetic storms and substorms, in an effort to improve the capability to forecast and characterize major space weather events. Such events can cause dropouts in electronic communications, degrade the accuracy of GPS systems, temporarily or permanently disable satellites, and even cause damage to the electrical power grid.

This project will support research training for up to six Augsburg undergraduate students over the project period.

If you have any questions about this research or would like to learn more, please contact Dr. Engebretson at engebret@augsburg.edu


Editor’s Note: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. PLR-1341493. 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.