Swedish Astronomy from Space

The Swedish National Space Board (SNSB) supports a wide range of astronomic and astrophysics projects carried out by research groups at the traditional astronomical observatories of Sweden as well as at Chalmers University of Tehnology and the Royal Institute of Technology . The common denominator is preparation for and usage of instruments in space.

The Solar System

The Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) and the Alfvén Laboratory have active programmes for development of instruments for research on plasma phenomena in the Solar System.  The missions with Swedish hardware involvement include Rosetta(IRF/LAP), Cassini/Huygens (IRF/Langmuir), Mars Express (IRF/Aspera3), Venus Express and BepiColombo (KTH/Mefisto).  Solar activity and its influences are studied at Lund University (IRFL).  The Physics of the Solar System is studied at Uppsala University, with special emphasize on minor bodies (Uppsala/SolarSystem).  


A research group at Lund University (Lund/Astrometry) has had a leading role in defining the Hipparcos mission and developing the complex data analysis techniques required. In addition to interpreting the science coming out of this mission, the group is also active in promoting a new ESA astrometric mission called GAIA. 

Infrared and Microwave Astronomy

Sweden's latest scientific satellite, Odin, has opened up new opportunities in microwave astronomy.  A number of atomic and molecular transitions in the microwave region can be studied with the 1-meter telescope.  Groups at Onsala Space Observatory (Onsala/Odin), Chalmers University of Technology, and Stockholm Observatory (Stockholm/Infrared) have built part of the radiometer.  These groups are also using the experience from Odin to participate in the preparations for the ESA cornerstone mission Herschel (Onsala/Herschel).  The Stockholm group is also involved in infrared astronomy using ISO and has developed a series of balloon instruments, Pirog, for microwave observations.

Spectroscopy, Star Formation and Supernovae

Groups at all the classical astronomical observatories in Sweden are using HST and other instruments for stellar astronomy. This includes comparative laboratory spectroscopy (Lund/AtomicAstrophysics), modelling of stellar atmospheres (Uppsala/StellarAtmospheres), nucleosynthesis in the galaxy, stellar evolution in the Large Magellanic Cloud (Lund/Magellanic), and studies of supernovae and AGB stars (Stockholm/LateStagesOfStellarEvolution).

Extragalactic Astronomy

Groups at Stockholm Observatory (Stockholm/Galaxies) and Uppsala Astronomical Observatory (Uppsala/Galaxies) are studying galactic evolution, episodes of star formation, and blue compact galaxies using HST and ISO data. 

High Energy Astrophysics and Comology

A research group at Stockholm University (Stockholm/HighEnergyAstrophysics) are actively involved in a number of high energy instruments, e.g. the ESA gamma ray telescope Integral, the Russian Spectrum Röntgen-Gamma (SRG) satellite, NASA:s Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), and the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (CGRO).Astroparticle Physics
A group at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm is participating in the series of balloon campaigns Caprice for flux measurements of rare cosmic ray particles. They are now preparing hardware for participation in the international satellite project Pamela, which will measure fluxes of antimatter and neutral atoms. 

Last updated: 9 November 2010