Cluster - presentation of model to the city of Bristol and scientific update
11 July 2001On 16 July 2000, the first pair of Cluster satellites was launched from Baikonur 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 Lord Mayor of Bristol. This presentation will be followed by an update on the exciting scientific results 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
Where: The Mansion House (Lord Mayor's Office), Clifton Down, Bristol
Time: 2-4 p.m.
Media Opportunities: The presentation of the Cluster Model will provide an interesting photo opportunity. Key scientists will be available for interview along with newly elected Lord Mayor of Bristol and the Cotton Family.
The Cluster mission is part of the European Space Agency's programme to study the effects of the Sun on near-Earth space. Monday 16 July 2001 marks the first anniversary of the launch of the first pair of spacecraft (the second pair was launched on 9 August 2000). Since their launch the four spacecraft have been gathering new information on the effects of the solar wind on the Earth's magnetosphere and this event presents an opportunity to find out the status of the mission one year on.
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, Salsa, Samba and Rumba. As part of the 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 second 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.
Professor David Southwood, ESA's Director of Science, will present the model 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 of Bristol.
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 will give an update on the science results, along with the Cluster Project Scientist, Dr. Philippe Escoubet, from ESA.
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.
Cluster, One year Later from Dr. Philippe Escoubet, Cluster Project Scientist (ESA)
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.
For further information please contact:
PPARC Press Office
Tel: 01793 442012
The orbit of the four Cluster spacecraft is very unusual; it passes over the polar regions and reaches more than 100,000km 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 has joined the SOHO, POLAR, GEOTAIL, WIND and INTERBALL missions that are 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.