Muon Spaceweather Telescope for Anisotropies at Greifswald
University of Greifswald
Institute of Physics
Design, development, construction and
initial operation of a European muon space
Muon Spaceweather Telescope for Anisotropies
Warning messages of hazardeous
space weather conditions
to Project WebSite
The Sun is continuously losing a small
fraction of its mass through what is known as the solar wind.
Considerably more mass can be lost at once in what is called a coronal mass
ejection (CME). During solar maximum, around three CMEs
may be observed per day, down to one per week during solar minimum.
Coronal mass ejections are huge bubbles of gas ejected from the Sun over
the course of only a few hours. Each ejection can carry up to 10 billion
tons of charged particles into interplanetary space, often reaching speeds
of well over 500 or even 2000 km/sec.
The material gets its energy from the magnetic activity at the surface of
the Sun as magnetic field lines break free. The charged material
(particles) presents, e.g., a hazard for satellites, and can even cause
power outages at ground. This is particularly true for CMEs
associated with solar flares. Solar flares are intense, temporary releases
of energy. A solar flare occurs when magnetic energy that has built up in
the solar atmosphere is suddenly released. They are seen at ground-based
and space-based observatories as bright areas on the Sun in optical
wavelengths and as bursts of noise at radio frequencies, lasting from few
minutes to hours.
MuSTAnG will detect modulations of cosmic ray intensities that are affected
by solar activity. In particular, MuSTAnG will be
able to monitor giant plasma clouds in real time during their propagation
between Sun and Earth.
telescope will be part of a global network of similar muon
telescopes, located in Australia,
Japan and Brazil.
Therefore it will be possible to forecast for the first time precisely and
with, until now unachievable, advance warning times of up to 24 hours prior
to the arrival time of plasma clouds at Earth.
These precise and early warnings of space
weather storms allow the potential risks, e.g., interruptions in power
supply, positioning errors in satellite navigation, disturbances in
telecommunication, radiation exposure of spacecraft and aircraft crew
members, failures of aircraft electronics, and other technical effects, to
be minimized. MuSTAnG may also support the
tourism in the northern regions, as the predictability of polar lights is
Mustang will consist of 32 muon detectors arranged in two (top and bottom) layers.
Each detector will consist of a scintillator
plate of size 50 cm x 50 cm x 5 cm that is optically coupled via wavelength-shifting
optical fibres to a photomultiplier tube. Muons
traversing the scintillator plates produce intense
flashes of light that are converted into electrical signals by the
photomultipliers and recorded with an intelligent electronics that determines
the direction of the incident muon from the
passage of a single muon through one upper and
one lower scintillator tile. The measured muon rates after corrections for daily and pressure
modulations are compared to daily averages. Deviations occur if a plasma
cloud is moving between Sun and Earth yielding a change (increase or
decrease) of the muon anisotropy.
Institut für Physik
17489 Greifswald (Germany)
Am Glaswerk 6
D-01640 Coswig (Germany)
1A - First Applications and Management consultancy for Space Weather
Service Research, Education and Culture
17461 Greifswald (Germany)
Prof. Dr. Rainer Hippler