Mission
Mission

“The bright ideas of scientists have to be matched by the creativity of engineers and very high management standards”

The Space Research Centre is an interdisciplinary research institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, established to conduct scientific research and activities in order to develop the space industry in Poland.

Our mission is the development and dissemination of space activities, which might help our country in achieving the image of the state actively involved in space research at world level and the creation of satellite technologies.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 November 2012 12:19
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Our research

our research

The heliosphere is a region in the interstellar space filled with the solar wind plasma, emitted by the Sun. Since the Sun is traversing a partly ionized, magnetized cloud of interstellar gas, the solar wind expansion must be eventually arrested at a certain distance to the Sun. This happens in the locations where the solar wind pressure becomes equal to the pressure of the interstellar matter. Ultimately, however, the solar wind matter cannot accumulate infinitely inside the heliosphere and must find an exit path to the interstellar space. But where exactly is this path located? And is there just one evacuation path or more? These questions cannot be answered directly because up to now there have been just two active space probes – Voyager 1 and 2 – to reach the boundary regions of the heliosphere, and this happened in the regions least suspect of being anywhere close to the solar wind evacuation path. Therefore, answering these question can only be done by remote-sensing measurements and theoretical modeling.

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CBK PAN will participate in a NASA space mission Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP), scheduled for launch in 2024. The selection of the winning proposal submitted in response to the Announcement of Opportunity released in 2017, was announced in Washington DC on June 1, 2018 (https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-selects-mission-to-study-solar-wind-boundary-of-outer-solar-system).

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Interstellar neutral atoms of helium from the local interstellar medium are observed by the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) spacecraft in the Earth orbit. Researchers from CBK PAN, together with international collaborators, analyze these observations to determine the Sun’s motion with respect to the local interstellar medium and the temperature of this medium. In a broader perspective, results of these analyses provide important insight into mechanisms of interaction of the heliosphere with its surroundings. In a paper recently published in The Astrophysical Journal they analyzed data from two energy channels of the IBEX-Lo detector previously not used, in addition to the data from the channel used beforehand, and obtained a better assessment of these quantities.

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Lyman-alpha line is one of the most prominent features in the UV part of the solar spectrum. It allows us to estimate the magnitude of radiation pressure, which is a force that photons from the Sun exert on hydrogen atoms. Radiation pressure is, next to the gravitational force, the main factor that determines the trajectories of neutral hydrogen and deuterium atoms inside the heliosphere.

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