Dr. Mark Engebretson Receives 30th Grant from National Science Foundation to Study Space Weather

Dr. Mark EngebretsonDr. Mark Engebretson, Professor Emeritus of Physics, has received a five-year grant totaling $805,744 from the National Science Foundation to continue operation of the Magnetometer Array for Cusp and Cleft Studies (MACCS) as well as analyze and disseminate its data. This grant represents the 30th research study on which Dr. Engebretson has served as the Principal Investigator via National Science Foundation funding.

MACCS is an 8-station ground-based array that records and disseminates important magnetic field measurements for scientific analyses.  It is the only longitudinally-spaced cusp-latitude array in existence and will continue to provide critical data for studies of geospace phenomena including solar wind-magnetosphere and magnetosphere-ionosphere interactions, geomagnetic storms and substorms, and localized instabilities that produce large geomagnetically induced currents which can cause power grid blackouts on Earth.

Engebretson and his team (Dr. Laura Simms, Dr. Slava Pilipenko, and Dr. Erik Steinmetz) will continue to maintain the MACCS array and conduct detailed observational and theoretical studies using both ground-based and satellite data.  The MACCS project has provided research experiences to over 50 students since its installation in 1992.  The team’s most recent undergraduate co-author of a refereed paper, Lidiya Ahmed (’20), will begin graduate study in Physics at Harvard University after spending 2020/2021 doing research at work at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center near Washington, D.C.

The title of the new study is Collaborative Research: Ground-Based Studies of High-Latitude Magnetospheric and Ionospheric Dynamics Using the Magnetometer Array for Cusp and Cleft Studies (MACCS) and the NSF Award number is 2013648. The University of Michigan (PI Dr. Mark Moldwin) is a key partner on the MACCS 9 project, which will span 8/1/2020 – 7/31/2025.