24 January 2019

Professor Michael Balikhin wins award from the Royal Astronomical Society

Congratulations to ACSE’s Professor Michael Balikhin and the rest of the Cluster Science and Operations Teams, who have been awarded the 2019 Group Achievement Award (Geophysics) by the UK Royal Astronomical Society (RAS).

The Royal Astronomical Society logo

The RAS, founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. Each year they recognise significant achievement in these fields.

The teams received the award for their continued success ensuring the operations and scientific exploitation of the European Space Agency’s Cluster mission. Cluster continues to be the world’s leading multi-spacecraft mission to study the structure and dynamics of Earth’s magnetic and plasma environments.

Launched in 2000 following an earlier failed launch in 1997, Cluster continues to provide new, ground-breaking observations. UK groups from Imperial College, Mullard Space Science Laboratory and the University of Sheffield lead the magnetometer and low-energy plasma instrument teams, as well as playing a leading role in the wave consortium.

The Cluster teams have pioneered the development of some of the key techniques now being used in multi-spacecraft data analysis, such as the QSAS analysis software, produced at Queen Mary College, and the use of curlometry for the derivation of field-aligned currents.

Cluster has produced a very wide range of science highlights, from new insights into the microscale physics of boundary regions, through mesoscale coupling between the magnetosphere and ionosphere, to global-scale studies of the response of the magnetosphere to the solar wind.

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