The Solar Wind - Exploring its Origins with ESA's Solar Orbiter Mission

The Solar Wind - Exploring its Origins with ESA's Solar Orbiter Mission

 Image: ESA.

Image: ESA.

The most startling thing we have learnt about the Universe in the last decade is that the speed with which galaxies moving away from one another is now beginning to accelerate. Nothing in the physics that we understand can explain this observation. There must be a new, mysterious substance in the Universe which behaves unlike anything we know. We call this substance dark energy. I will describe what we currently know about dark energy, and explain how tabletop experiments in the laboratory are helping us to understand what is happening on the largest scales in the universe.

 

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About CHRIS OWEN

Professor Christopher J Owen studied for B.Sc. and PhD degrees at Imperial College London before undertaking post-doctoral work at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.  He returned to take up academic positions first at Queen Mary and Westfield College London and then at UCL's Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL), where he has led both the Space Plasmas and Solar Physics research groups.  He is the Principal Investigator of the Solar Wind Analyser (SWA) suite for the Solar Orbiter mission, leading an international consortium providing multiple sensors to measure the electron, proton & alpha particle and heavy ion populations emanating from the Sun via the solar wind.  SWA will make key measurements underpinning the missions goals to understand the links between the Sun and the Heliosphere.