Cutting-Edge Research
in Kyoto University


Space Weather Forecasts Studying the solar activity and its effects on the earth.

Solar chromosphere taken by SMART

SMART at the Hida Observatory

It is not only light that streams towards Earth from the Sun. Firstly, there are the streams of charged particles that flow from the Sun (know as solar wind), filling the heliosphere and sometimes interacting with the Earth. When Solar flares, and other explosive phenomena, occur on the Sun, high energy photons and huge clouds of magnetised plasma (Coronal Mass Ejections; CMEs) are thrown outward. If these reach Earth, then man-made satellites and power stations that form part of society’s infrastructure, and also the activities of Humankind in space are all vulnerable to damage from these phenomena. These changes to the space environment are called Space weather. As humankind extends its reach into space, the prediction of solar activity, and its impact on Earth, is becoming more and more important. At Hida Observatory, using the Solar Magnetic Activity Research Telescope (SMART) to observe the chromopshere and magnetic field across the whole solar disk, we are making great strides towards understanding the the mechanism behind flares and coronal mass ejections and working towards making accurate space weather forecasts. Note that our group uses a multifaceted approach to study the Sun; not only with observations of solar activity using both space- and ground-based telescopes, but also with simulations and theoretical analysis,.

To make space weather forecasting a reality, continuous observations of the sun are necessary. Led by Kwasan and Hida Observatories, in collaboration with researchers throughout the world, the CHAIN project works to place lowcost telescopes around the world, guaranteeing that there is 24-hour coverage of solar activity. The first step of the CHAIN project was to move the Flare Monitor Telescope (FMT) from Hida Observatory to the Solar station of Ica University, Peru in 2010. The second station is at Saudi Arabia and the telescope will be in operation in 2015.

Kazunari Shibata, PhD
Professor, Kwasan Observatory
Kiyoshi Ichimoto, PhD
Satru Ueno, MS
Assistant Professors, Hida Observatory
Shin’ichi Nagata, PhD
Graduate School of Science