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
Astronomers release most complete ultraviolet-light survey of nearby galaxies
18.05.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
A quantum entanglement between two physically separated ultra-cold atomic clouds
17.05.2018 | University of the Basque Country
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology