CORDIS - EU research results

Space weather and Europe and education tool with the Sun

Final Report Summary - SWEETS (Space Weather and Europe and Education Tool with the Sun)

Space weather is defined by the conditions on the Sun and in the solar wind, the Earth's magnetosphere, ionosphere, and atmosphere. Space weather is primarily an astronomical phenomenon due to solar activity and cosmic rays and its study is by nature interdisciplinary and encompasses various fields of physics, engineering, and human activity. As such, space weather has significant impacts on our technological infrastructure, in particular on communication and navigation systems, has caused satellite failures and losses, electricity cut-offs, increases pipeline corrosion, and enhanced radiation exposure to aircraft crew and passengers and to astronauts.

The SWEETS consortium has produced a space weather digital video disc (DVD) for educational and promotional purposes. The contents of this DVD is based on the successful and popular space weather compact disk (CD-ROM) published in 2002 / 2003. High resolution movies and simulations, updated new images, text and descriptions of space weather activities are guarantees of the excellent quality. The new DVD is available free of charge from the SWEETS consortium.

SWEETS has organised a space-weather-on-tour bus tour through Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, and Portugal. The bus was operated by Personenverkehr GmbH Müritz in Waren (Germany); it contains a space weather poster panel exhibition, an interactive exhibition including video presentations on space weather, personal computers with near real time access to space weather observing satellites, an optical telescope and a radio telescope for solar observations by the visitors, a gliding arc demonstration, and a historic book with detailed photographs of sunspots. The tour through the bus was guided by different high-level and outreach-educated European space weather scientists.

Inside the bus one finds the space weather poster exhibition. The 13 bilingual poster panels tell about space weather backgrounds in physics, astrophysics, its influence on the Earth's magnetosphere, ionosphere, and atmosphere, space weather effects on spacecraft, satellite navigation, aircraft, power lines, pipelines, and space weather forecast.

SWEETS has organised a space weather forum in Schwerin Palace on 19 November 2007. The space weather forum was jointly moderated by Melanie Last and Dr Frank Jansen. It was composed of opening and welcome addresses, interviews with international space weather experts, a video-link to the Australian Antartic Division in Hobart (Australia), presentation of the 'space weather' DVD, preview of the space weather film 'The breath of a star', and finally a solar storm dance show ('Sonnensturm').

The first European dance show on space weather called 'Sonnensturm' (solar storm) produced in 2006 by the German dance company Neustrelitz with the Master of dance Thomas Vollmer was performed during the the space weather forum in Schwerin castle.

The show has three parts: after the Big Bang, Milky Way and heliosphere passage, the visitors arrive at the old Earth. The second part takes place at the hot African continent. In the third part, space weather and global warming comes by dance to the audiences. About 20 motivated, professional dancers plus a show of sensational movies and images delight the audiences.

SWEETS has produced a film 'Breath of a star' which was previewed during the space weather forum in Schwerin. The film contains interviews with international experts and also shows some of the SWEETS activities.

SWEETS organised and participated in science festivals and events in several countries, e.g. in Amsterdam, Brussels, Graz, Greifswald, Lisbon, Paris, Porto, Szczecin, Turkey, Vienna, and Warsaw.

SWEETS organised a Europe-wide web quiz on space weather. The local winners were invited to the participating institutes. The main winner was invited to a rocket launch at Andoya rocket range.