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Award Abstract #1229286

MRI: Instrument Development of the South Pole, Antarctica, Solar Radio Telescope (SPASRT): Advancing Our Understanding of the Solar-Terrestrial Environment

NSF Org: PLR
Division Of Polar Programs
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Initial Amendment Date: September 6, 2012
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Latest Amendment Date: September 6, 2012
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Award Number: 1229286
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: Vladimir O. Papitashvili
PLR Division Of Polar Programs
GEO Directorate For Geosciences
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Start Date: September 15, 2012
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End Date: August 31, 2016 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $788,118.00
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Investigator(s): Andrew Gerrard andrew.j.gerrard@njit.edu (Principal Investigator)
Allan Weatherwax (Co-Principal Investigator)
Dale Gary (Co-Principal Investigator)
Louis Lanzerotti (Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: New Jersey Institute of Technology
323 DOCTOR MARTIN LUTHER
Newark, NJ 07102-1982 (973)596-5275
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NSF Program(s): MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION,
ANTARCTIC INSTRUM & SUPPORT
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Program Reference Code(s):
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Program Element Code(s): 1189, 1647

ABSTRACT

The primary purpose of the proposed SPASRT telescope is uninterrupted 24-hour radio coverage of the Sun from a single location that would provide unique data for potential transformational studies in solar physics and solar-terrestrial environment. The Antarctic continent, and specifically the South Pole, provides the only practical location on Earth to measure the radio Sun 24/7 for nearly six months of every year. Such continuous 24-hour studies of the radio-emitting Sun, across a wide range of frequencies, would fundamentally advance our knowledge of solar processes that are concurrently observed in the X-ray, UV, and visible regions of the spectrum from both ground and space. This proposal is seeking funds for the development, construction, installation, and testing of SPASRT at South Pole across the 0.5-18 GHz frequency band. The radio telescope design is mature and based on similar telescopes currently in use by the NJIT at the Owens Valley Solar Array in California and by the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute in South Korea; all built by the assembled team on this proposal. The SPASRT antenna mount would allow for the 2.1-m solar radio dish, housed in a Radom, to turn 380-deg around to follow the Sun, with a daily, randomly determined, "unwrapping" period of 60-sec or less. The entire system is designed to withstand the difficult operating conditions of the South Pole and to operate autonomously during the austral summer season. The SPARTS construction and installation will enable immediate studies of (a) solar radio bursts, and (b) a sensitive search for p-mode activity transmitted through the solar atmosphere. Solar radio bursts can dramatically impact technological systems on Earth and in space, both as an indirect consequence of a large source and consequent Coronal Mass Ejections (CME), or as a large source of "noise" in radio systems such as GPS, cell phones, and satellite receivers. 24/7 coverage of burst-prone active regions will yield significant new knowledge. Continuous radio data streams will address the issue of how solar modes, such as p-modes, "propagate" through the solar atmosphere and, potentially, couple into the solar wind, and then cause near-Earth space weather events. The SPASRT system is envisioned as a community-wide instrument with the open data access. SPASRT will make continuous solar radiation measurements for the space weather community and will provide complimentary observing support for other non-polar solar telescope facilities. The project will continue contributing significantly to the training of next generation of scientists by integrating undergraduate education with technology and instrumentation development, field observations, and scientific analysis.

 

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