Cluster - Presentation of model to the city of Bristol and science results overview
10 July 2001On 16 July 2000, the first pair of Cluster satellites was launched from Baikonour in Kazakhstan. To mark the first anniversary of this unique mission to explore near-Earth space, the European Space Agency and the UK Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council will participate in a special ceremony and press event at The Mansion House in Bristol.
During the ceremony, the ESA Science Director, Professor David Southwood, will present a limited edition model of the four Cluster spacecraft to the newly elected Lord Mayor of Bristol, the Rt. Hon. Councillor Brenda Hugill and the Cotton family, who will be accepting it on behalf of the City. Mr. Raymond Cotton won in Summer 2000 ESA's competition to name the Cluster quartet, with the names: Tango, Rumba, Salsa, Samba.
British scientists, funded through the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), built and operate three of the eleven instruments on board each spacecraft and - along with ESA's Cluster Project Scientist, Dr. Philippe Escoubet - will give an overview on the exciting science results about the effects of the solar wind on the Earth's magnetosphere, that have so far been returned by the Cluster quartet.
Members of the media are invited to attend this special event.
When: Monday 16th July 2001
2.00 p.m. Introduction from Professor Richard Wade, Director of Programmes, UK Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council
Brief overview of Cluster from Professor David Southwood, Director of Science, European Space Agency (ESA) .
Cluster, One year Later from Dr. Philippe Escoubet, ESA's Cluster Project Scientist
Further updates from UK Scientists Dr. Hugo Alleyne (Sheffield University) and Professor Manuel Grande (Rutherford Appleton Laboratory)
3.00 p.m. Presentation of the Cluster model by Professor David Southwood (ESA) to the Lord Mayor of Bristol and the Cotton family
Followed by refreshments and photo and interview opportunities.
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The Cluster mission is part of the European Space Agency's programme to study the effects of the Sun on near-Earth space. The Cluster quartet was launched in two pairs on Soyuz Fregat rockets on 16 July and 9 August 2000. Monday 16 July 2001 marks the first anniversary of the launch of the first pair of spacecraft.
The orbit of the four Cluster spacecraft is very unusual; it passes over the polar regions and reaches more than 100,000km up into space - almost a third of the way to the Moon.
The Cluster mission is part of an international programme to learn more about how the Sun affects our planet. Cluster joined the SOHO, POLAR, GEOTAIL, WIND and INTERBALL missions that are already looking at different aspects of the Sun's influence on Earth. The ground-based radars in the Arctic, CUTLASS and EISCAT, are also working to learn more about the complex interactions in the upper atmosphere caused by the solar wind and solar storms.
Solar storms occur when huge bursts of highly charged particles are thrown out from the Sun and hurtle towards Earth. These invisible storms of particles buffet and churn up the Earth's magnetic and plasma environment causing the aurorae (Northern and Southern Lights) and are a threat to satellites in near-Earth space.
Prior to the launch of Cluster, ESA held a competition to name the four spacecraft. This was won by Mr. Raymond Cotton of Bristol who came up with the names Tango, Rumba, Salsa, Samba. As part of his prize Mr. Cotton and his family visited the European Space Operations Centre in Germany for a special launch event, and later visited the headquarters of ESA in Paris. A further part of the prize is to present the home town or city of the winner with a 1: 10 scale model of the four Cluster spacecraft.