Research in Antarctica


Antarctica is an important location for studying Space Physics. Antarctica is the only large land mass in the southern hemisphere and south of Australia where scientific instruments can be placed between the south pole and Tasmania. The Antarctic program for collecting space physics data does include some instruments on Macquarie Island. The Antarctica science program is maintained and supported by the Australian Antarctic Division.

The University of Newcastle Space Physics Group uses data recorded in Antarctica by magnetometers, the Southern Hemisphere Imaging Riometer Experiment (SHIRE), HF radars and auroral cameras.

The magnetometers record the signatures of low frequency plasma waves propagating in the magnetosphere, driving currents in the overhead ionosphere. Putting together the data from a spatial array of magnetometers can provide clues to the propagation and generation mechanisms of these waves and how they contribute to energy transfer into the auroral ionosphere.