Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Danish researchers build magnetic observatory in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean

25.11.2008
A new Danish observatory on a remote island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean will provide researchers with new knowledge about the mysterious irregularity of the Earth’s magnetic field known as the South Atlantic Anomaly. The observatory is a partnership between DMI, the Danish Meteorological Institute, and DTU Space, the Danish National Space Institute.

The new geomagnetic observatory is located on the island of Tristan da Cunha and was inaugurated on Friday 14 November by the island’s roughly 300 inhabitants and a few of the researchers on the project.

Tristan da Cunha is the remotest inhabited island in the world and is also located right in the middle of the South Atlantic Anomaly, which is the area where the Earth’s magnetic field is weakest. This makes it incredibly interesting for the Danish researchers, who are working to understand the Earth’s magnetic field and the way in which it affects satellites, for example.

“Until now, Denmark has mostly been involved in projects that measure the magnetic field from space, with the Ørsted satellite and the future Swarm satellite mission, as well as the measuring stations in Greenland,” says Professor Nils Olsen of DTU Space. “With the observatory on Tristan da Cunha, we will have a measuring station in the Tropics right in the middle of the South Atlantic Anomaly, where the strength of the magnetic field is only half as high as in Denmark.”

The Earth’s magnetic field is losing strength

At present the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field is decreasing by 5% every hundred years and researchers do not know why or what the consequences will be. In the South Atlantic Anomaly, the strength of the magnetic field is decreasing ten times as fast and the measuring station will therefore also give the researchers the opportunity to learn more about the consequences of the global weakening of the magnetic field.

The magnetic field protects the Earth from radiation from space and the area around the South Atlantic Anomaly is therefore very poorly protected. In the Anomaly, the radiation belts that surround the Earth, the van Allen belts, are very close to the surface of the Earth. This is, among other things, significant to satellites, which suffer by far the majority of faults when they fly through this area.

Six days’ sailing from Cape Town

“Opening the observatory is a milestone in our research,” says senior researcher Jürgen Matzka from DMI, who is heading the project. “Finding a suitable location for the cabin on the island was a major logistical challenge, and we had a lot of help from South African colleagues and the French firm of engineers EnviroConsult. The cabin is also built exclusively of wood and brass in order not to disturb the magnetic measurements.” Shipping instruments to the island is no mean feat, as Tristan da Cunha is six days’ sailing from Cape Town, and there is no port or airport on the island.

Sune Nordentoft Lauritsen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.spacecenter.dk
http://www.space.dtu.dk/English/News/News.aspx?guid={9E00E380-FD61-4E61-9517-DA1B2832C4D9}

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers
20.09.2017 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices
19.09.2017 | Graphene Flagship

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>