SOLAR PHYSICS

Solar physics is NJIT’s most prominent research enterprise. Directed by Philip R.Goode, distinguished professor of physics, the Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research manages the world-renowned Big Bear Solar Observatory and the Owens Valley Solar Array, both in California. The center’s team of internationally recognized researchers not only observes and investigates solar phenomena, but also develops the advanced optics and instrumentation that empowers their work.  The center has more than $6 million in funding from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the United States Air Force, the United States Navy and other agencies for the operation of the observatories as well as for specific research projects.

. . . . . . The center's team provides the world's most accurate images of the sun . . . . . . . .

The center’s team provides the world’s most accurate images of the sun and measurement of its magnetic field. These observations translate into important information on phenomena that affect climate and telecommunications. Solar activity directly affects radio communications, electric power systems, the safety of astronauts outside their space ships and the lifetime of satellites in orbit, to name just a few. A better understanding of the Sun may allow for more effective management of various aspects of ecological resources, including issues related to global and local climate changes, atmospheric ozone depletion and even crop management.

Some notable projects include:

  • EARTHSHINE RESEARCH TRACKS UNEXPECTED CLIMATE CHANGES: Researchers studying the sunlight reflected off the Earth onto the moon -- known as earthshine -- made international news in 2004 when they observed an unexpected dimming in the Earth's reflectivity. Read more.
  • DEVELOPING NEXT GENERATION INSTRUMENTATION: Carsten Denker, assistant professor of physics, has a prestigious NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award to design and deploy state-of-the-art imaging equipment at Big Bear. Read more.
  • REPORTING SPACE WEATHER: Haimin Wang, distinguished professor of physics, has developed an innovative real-time system for predicting space weather. Read more.
  • STUDYING SOLAR FLARES: Dale Gary, professor of physics is leading a design study for the Frequency Agile Solar Radiotelescope (FASR), a new technology capable of making high-resolution images of the solar corona. Read more.
  • BUILDING A NEW SOLAR TELESCOPE: With $1.4 million in funding from the NSF, Big Bear Director Philip Goode is leading a team in building the world's largest optical telescope designed for solar research. Read more.
  • A WORLDWIDE COLLABORATION: Big Bear researchers partner with five other observatories around the globe to study the Sun in crimson hydrogen light 24 hours a day. Read more.