The Space Science research activities of faculty members in the area of Earth and Atmospheric Science include aeronomy, which is the physics and chemistry of the upper atmosphere and the near Earth space environment. This includes both the dynamics of the atmosphere and its chemistry, involving the emission, absorption and scattering of light from the atmosphere. The emission includes the chemically produced airglow (as seen as the green layer above the Earth in the video) and the aurora (Northern Lights), produced by the interaction of the solar wind with the Earth’s magnetic environment, the magnetosphere. Our interest in these phenomena is both fundamental and applied and includes both the development of instruments to observe the temperatures, winds and chemical composition of the atmosphere and the scientific analysis of the observations to determine its characteristics. These observations may be made from the ground, from aircraft, high altitude balloons or satellite platforms.
Members of the Department are actively involved in a number of international space science projects such as the Canada-French Wind Imaging Interferometer (WINDII) that flew on NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, and the Canadian OSIRIS instrument on the Swedish / Canadian / French / Finnish Odin Satellite. Lassonde’s faculty are also involved in the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) on Canada’s first SCISAT-1 mission. Both OSIRIS and SCISAT studied the middle atmosphere, specifically its ozone concentrations.