Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"New Research on Northern Lights Will Improve Satellite Navigation Accuracy"

Ha! Birkeland smiles.
He should have been awarded a couple Nobel prizes.*

From R&D Magazine:
Researchers at the University of Bath have gained new insights into the mechanisms of the Northern Lights, providing an opportunity to develop better satellite technology that can negate outages caused by this natural phenomenon.

Previous research has shown that the natural lights of the Northern Lights -- also known as or Aurora Borealis -- interfere with Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) signals which are heavily relied upon in the transport and civil aviation industries.

The presence of plasma turbulence within the Northern Lights was traditionally deemed responsible for causing GNSS inaccuracies. However, this latest research found that turbulence does not exist, suggesting new, unknown mechanisms are actually responsible for outages on GNSS signals.
This is the first time it has been shown that turbulence does not take place within the Northern Lights and this new knowledge will enable new technological solutions to overcome these outages.

The research team from the University of Bath's Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering in collaboration with the European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association (EISCAT) observed the Northern Lights in Tromsø, northern Norway, where they observed and analysed the Northern Lights simultaneously using radar and a co-located GNSS receiver.

GNSS signals were used to identify how the Northern Lights interfere with GPS signals. Radar analysis provided a visual snap shot of the make-up of this famous and spectacular phenomenon....MORE
*Here's  the Nomination Database:
Kristian Birkeland 

Lastname/org:  Birkeland
Firstname:        Kristian
Gender:            M
Year, Birth:      1867

Nominee in 13 nominations:
Nominated in two separate fields for a total of seven different prizes by 13 total nominations.

And here's the introduction to the Plasma Universe entry on Birkeland:
Kristian Olaf Bernhard Birkeland (13 December 1867 - 15 June 1917) was a Norwegian scientist who has been called "the first space scientist"[1] and "the father of plasma experiments in the laboratory and space"[2] [3] [4]. He is perhaps most well-known for his scientific work on the aurora using a terrella (a magnetized globe), and as inventor of an electromagnetic cannon, and, a method of electrically producing artificial fertilizer. He also became a full professor of physics at the University of Oslo at the age of 31.

Birkeland also had astrophysical research published on cathode rays,[5] the Zodiacal lights,[6] comets,[7] the Sun and sunspots,[8] the origin of planets and their satellites,[9] the Earth's magnetism.[10]
Some of Birkeland's other contributions to science included:[2] • Derived the general expression for the Poynting vector • Gave the first general solution to Maxwell's equations [11] • Pioneered the field of charged-particle beams • Utilized the concept of "longitudinal mass" • Constructed the first foil diodes • Pioneered the field of visible-light photography of electrical discharges • Advocated charged-particle propulsion engines for space travel • Created Norsk Hydro's nitrogen-fertilizer industry (the Birkeland-Eyde method for production of potassium nitrate) • Invented an electromagnetic rail gun capable of firing a 10-kg projectile • Established Birkeland's Firearms company • Anticipated cosmic rays (discovered in 1911) with his calculations involving energies of several billion electron volts • Held patents on the electromagnetic cannon,[12] electric blankets, solid margarine, and hearing aids.

In 1969 when field-align currents had been identified in the Earth's atmosphere, they were named in his honor: Birkeland currents.[13]....

He also co-founded Norsk Hydro and got his picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone Norway's 200 kr banknote:

The note will become invalid at the end of this year and the old boy will be replaced by a cod and a herring.