Philip R. Goode, PhD, distinguished professor of physics at NJIT and director of the Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research, led the project to build the world’s most capable solar telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO), Big Bear Lake, CA. The new solar telescope (NST) is a 1.6 meter clear aperture, off-axis telescope featuring the world’s largest solar aperture. First light was achieved in January 2009, and was followed by first scientific observations over the summer of 2009.
The telescope is presently being upgraded to include the only multi-conjugate adaptive optics system to fully correct atmospheric distortion over a wide field of view, as well as the only fully cryogenic solar spectrograph for probing the Sun in the near infrared. Other instruments are being brought on-line over the next few years to enable the NST to probe our star with the telescope’s full scientific capability for measuring magnetic fields and dynamic events using visible and infrared light. Goode has been director of BBSO since NJIT took over the facility from California Institute of Technology in 1997.
Goode has years of experience studying the Sun’s atmospheric magnetic fields. Goode is expert at combining BBSO ground-based data with satellite data to determine dynamic properties of the solar magnetic fields. Such studies bear greatly on scientists’ understanding and ability to predict “space weather.” Goode’s other areas of interest include working to place a lower limit on solar irradiance and to probe the solar interior (called helioseismology).
In recent years, industry, government and scientists have begun placing increasing attention upon space weather to learn more about which solar magnetic storms can have deleterious effects on satellites, the terrestrial power grid and telecommunications.
Since 1998, Goode’s research has also been concentrated on climate studies beginning with determining the Earth’s large-scale reflectance by measuring earthshine. He and BBSO researchers have also spent time modeling the Earth’s reflectivity using satellite cloud cover data and found appreciable decadal variation of reflectance due to cloud changes. BBSO is building a global network to measure the Earth’s global reflectance and spectrum with automated telescope already operating in Big Bear and the Canary Islands in Spain.
Goode has played the lead role in increasing the strength of the university’s solar physics program, which has trained 24 current and past post-doctoral fellows. Twelve of these fellows now hold faculty/national center tenure track positions. The observatory, itself, has also flourished in size and stature. Staff has expanded from 4 to 20 individuals and the annual budget, supported solely by competitive federal grants, has risen from under $500,000 in 1997 to more than $5 million today.
Goode is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In Spring 2008, Goode received the university’s first NJIT Board of Overseers Excellence in Research Prize and Medal. The awards are presented in recognition of a sustained record of contributions that have enhanced NJIT’s reputation.
Goode received his AB from the University of California at Berkeley and his PhD from Rutgers University.
Last update: March 26, 2010
Topics: solar-terrestrial research, Big Bear Solar Observatory, sun's atmosphere, magnetic fields, space weather