Belgium and Radio science
the strategic interest of radio observations
posted: Jun 11, 2010

Every 3 years, radio scientists gather together to discuss the newest scientific developments and instrumentation. For the 2010 edition, La Roche-en-Ardenne welcomes the international radio community. During the conference, the official kick-off is given for the scientific exploitation of the PROBA2-data. A team of scientists will draw up a strategic plan to get a maximal output of the satellite data in synergy with other data, like radio-data.

Solar science is a topical hot science nowadays. Belgium has its own solar satellite, PROBA2. Belgium has also its own Sun-Earth centre, the Solar-Terrestrial Centre of Excellence that accommodates a space weather prediction service centre. Belgium participates in several other ground based and space missions.

During WOII, airplanes were localised with radar measurements. But, those planes became radar invisible when the sun was behind the airplanes. It was from strategic importance to investigate the solar influence. This was the start of intensive solar radio-research, even before the space age.

Before the space age, the solar research was limited to visual observations (sunspots) and radio-science. Now, during the space age, radio science still proves to be eligible and valuable. It is cheap because you can observe from the earth. From the complete electromagnetic spectrum send out by the sun, our earth atmosphere is transparent only for visible light and radio-waves. Next to observations in the EUV from space, solar radio waves give complementary information about the physics of the Sun. Radio solar science is the way to get insight in the mechanisms accelerating plasma cloud that leave the Sun. Radio-science give a view on the shock waves travelling through space. Those plasma clouds are not seen in EUV.

Most of the countries have an observation site. The radar and antenna's, formerly used for military purposes, were refurbished after WOII for radio science. The belgian radio station is situated in Humain. More and other kinds of radio observations will be implemented in Humain in the near future. The humain data form an important input for the space weather prediction centre of Belgium.