Eyes on our Sun: ESA opens new space weather centre in Brussels

April 8, 2013
Ribbon cutting at the Royal Observatory.

This week, ESA opened a new Space Weather Coordination Centre to gather up-to-date information on our Sun. It is the first such data coordination centre opened under the Agency's Space Situational Awareness Programme.

The new Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Space Weather Coordination Centre (SSCC) will serve as the central access point to a portfolio of European space-weather expertise for customers, including , industrial sectors including telecommunications and navigation, and government agencies and research institutes.

Located at the 'Space Pole' in Brussels, the centre was formally inaugurated on 3 April by Philippe Mettens, Chairman of the Belgian Science Policy Office, and Thomas Reiter, ESA Director of and Operations.

The two were joined by Ronald Van der Linden, Director General of the Royal Observatory of Belgium, Nicolas Bobrinsky, Head of ESA's SSA Programme Office, and Michel Kruglanski, manager of the SSCC from the Solar–Terrestrial Centre of Excellence.

Europe's first operational space weather centre

The SSCC includes the first European space weather helpdesk and, through this, rapid access to expert support on , ionospheric weather, the geomagnetic environment and the orbital .

"With the SSCC inauguration, our SSA Programme is taking concrete steps to develop a European capability to operationally monitor , enhance international cooperation and establish the effective distribution of information, warnings and alerts to users in economically vital sectors," said Thomas Reiter.

"The SSCC will help to get the right information to the right people at the right time."

The inauguration took place at the Royal Observatory Belgium (ROB), one of the four members of the consortium that will operate and develop the SSCC on ESA's behalf. The others are the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy and two industrial partners, Space Applications Services SA/NV and Spacebel SA/NV.

Explore further: Europe adopts new space policy

Related Stories

NASA develops space weather app for Android smartphones

February 28, 2012

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. is pleased to announce that its Space Weather App, previously only available for iPhone users, is now available for users of Android smartphone and tablet users. The Space ...

Amateur astronomers boost ESA's asteroid hunt

May 15, 2012

A partnership with the UK’s Faulkes Telescope Project promises to boost the Agency’s space hazards research while helping students to discover potentially dangerous space rocks.

ESA deploys first orbital debris test radar in Spain

October 15, 2012

(Phys.org)—A new radar designed to test methods for finding orbital debris that can be hazardous to space navigation has been installed in Spain. The radar will be used to develop future debris warning services, helping ...

Time for Europe to beef up asteroid vigilance, ESA says

February 21, 2013

Europe must strengthen its watch for dangerous space rocks, the head of the European Space Agency's asteroid surveillance programme said Thursday, a week after a meteor struck Russia in a blinding fireball.

Recommended for you

Earth might have hairy dark matter

November 23, 2015

The solar system might be a lot hairier than we thought. A new study publishing this week in the Astrophysical Journal by Gary Prézeau of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, proposes the existence of ...

The hottest white dwarf in the Galaxy

November 25, 2015

Astronomers at the Universities of Tübingen and Potsdam have identified the hottest white dwarf ever discovered in our Galaxy. With a temperature of 250,000 degrees Celsius, this dying star at the outskirts of the Milky ...

Scientists detect stellar streams around Magellanic Clouds

November 23, 2015

(Phys.org)—Astronomers from the University of Cambridge, U.K., have detected a number of narrow streams and diffuse debris clouds around two nearby irregular dwarf galaxies called the Magellanic Clouds. The research also ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.