Hugo: "Hello, I am working from my home office during this period. I monitor whether the spectrophotometers continue measuring ozone, UV and aerosols. Through regular contacts with the members of my team the continuity of the observations (balloon soundings, ceilometers, Automatic weather stations) is assured. Besides that, I have already participated in several international meetings from here, that should have been taken place from Cyprus to Finland.
Viviane: "I work on the improvement of the 3D dynamic plasmasphere model (see animation) and on the influence of background particles on the radiation belts. The instrument EPT onboard of the satellite PROBA-V observes these particles."
Elke: "Welkom in mijn thuiskantoor/zetel!"
David: "Each STCE EUI team is working hard from home to get everything ready for the first light of the telescope EUI onboard Solar Orbiter. The EUI operators and scientists are continuously in dialogue with the ESA operator who is the only person physically present at the Mission Operations Room. The spirit in the team is good, despite COVID-19 and the explosive consumption of caffeine - that's why my picture is upside down :-)."
Impression of the 2018 open doors
Steven: "It is very quiet now at the space pole. I am currently writing a research proposal on the application of Artificial Intelligence techniques to weather and climate observations."
Ingolf: "Routinely, I keep my part of PROBA2/LYRA software and websites updated. My life is about as calm as
solar activity in its minimum. The strongest flare in a looong time was the B2.6 on 01 May. You can see it in the graph below.
It is a bit boring.
Hoping to see my colleagues again soon."
Laurence: "During this period of confinement, the operations of the SWAP and LYRA instruments
onboard PROBA2 are quiet, but also interesting with the special campaign to support EUI first light.
Between an active and sleeping mode, I have finished the paper 'A flare and filament overview in LYMAN-alpha by PROBA2/LYRA' for the PROBA2 topical issue. Almost, because I'm still looking for a nice conclusion.
Now, I have restarted to play with pieces of the code to estimate the solar radius with the LYRA irradiance data taken during distinct partial eclipses."
Matthew: "Hi, throughout lockdown I’ve been co-developing the EUV instrument, LUCI, including making images that represent what LUCI will see, you can see this below. I’ve also been working with the PROBA2 team to make sure it’s running well and writing a paper EUV imagers."
Dana: "During the past two months I've been working on publishing a paper and on analysing the numerical simulations performed so far. The goal is to understand how the simulated coronal mass ejections occur, how they evolve until reaching Earth and what forces contribute to their development. Exciting stuff! :D"
Jan: "Despite the corona crisis, I can continue working on most of the topics I'm already dealing with at the office. There's the daily management of Editorial Office for the Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate, the weekly STCE Newsitems to write, 2 duties of space weather forecasting,"The Best of ... 2019" online article for the STCE website, writing a first draft on the monitoring and forecasting of relativistic electrons for the SWx forecasters at SIDC, as well as writing and submitting my paper on polar faculae. The various SIDC and PECASUS slack channels keep me connected to my dearest colleagues, and I'm always looking forward to the SIDC seminars. Of course I'm missing the birthday cakes and chocolates, but postponed doesn't mean canceled! Being at home nearly all the time has certainly also its advantages. Aside sleeping more and having more time for cooking, I can now observe the Sun much more often!"
Andrei: "I am coordinating the science activities during the development of the ASPIICS solar coronagraph onboard the PROBA-3 mission of ESA, to be launched in 2022. Teleconferences take place very often, so I almost don't take off my AirPods."
Dina: "Here I am, being the Space Weather forecaster for the week, Pecasus operator, attending meetings or updating codes, all in the comfort of my slippers and badly needing a haircut. I completed my first even forecasting week right when the lockdown started, with the help of the team who were there for me whenever I needed them. Cheers STCE!"
Le Binh San: "Like everyone, I am working from home, and there are still a lot to do for communication and outreach: informing the public about astronomy (Venus, Starlink satellites, Sun, Moon...), writing reports and publishing web articles, press releases and social media posts of the Observatory... Recently, I contributed with Petra and the EUI team to the publication of a press release concerning EUI's first light. I am happy that everything is doing well for the Observatory and am looking forward to publish the next news about our institute."
Marilena: "It was a busy period, working on different projects related to PROBA2 (paper just published!), PROBA3 (paper in preparation), EUI (having fun with the first-light images), CME related studies (ISSI project on "Understanding Our Capabilities In Observing And Modeling Coronal Mass Ejections" - paper in preparation; project on EUHFORIA 2.0 - just started) etc. A lot of video conferences and virtual meetings. Missing face-to-face interaction with my colleagues. Looking forward to come back to the normal situation!"
Roeland: "I created myself a nice, sunny, office at home for telework, close to the living room where my children do, rather independently, their pre-teaching tasks. One day a week, I go to the institute to prepare and launch the ozone sounding.; we really want to keep up the frequency of 3 launches/week, so we shared the workload to more people in Corona times. These last lockdown months, I was (and still am) very occupied with an update of a World Meteorological Organization report on the Quality Assurance and Quality Control for Ozonesonde Measurements, for which we held several telecon meetings."
Eric: "Working from home to enhance ROB’s services to E-GVAP members (EUMETNET program) and to provide 24x7 products to European meteorologists for weather forecasting, a well as maintaining the real-time access to GNSS data from the EUREF Permanent Network (EPN), participating to online conferences and contributing to some extend to a project proposal of our GNSS team... "
Sabrina: "Our team keeps on doing the daily observations of the sun with USET (Uccle Solar Equatorial Table).
Each observer takes his weekly shift as usual. Because you can do the observations alone, the physical distancing is
While the weather has been exceptionally sunny since the beginning of the lockdown, the solar activity has been very low. But, we see the slow awakening of the new solar cycle with the presence of small sunspots at high latitude few days per month.
When I am not at ROB for the observations, I work from home on the image processing algorithms for the USET images and, on the software to analyze hand-made drawings automatically."
Gael: "During this lockdown, I studied Earth's auroras for the MOMA project. Before the lockdown, our
MOMA team went to Norway to observe auroras. I am going now through the analysis of these data searching for
polarisation of the aurora. I am also working on other campaigns of aurora observations, and preparing some papers.
Team meeting through webex are regurlarly happening so we can progress during this lockdown.
Also, this has been a chance to improve my 3D printing skills and watching the sky from my balcony :-) "
Yana: "When you recover from an unknown virus to find your work just a few steps away from your bed!'"
Ronald: "The captain stays onboard and keeps the boat afloat. Telecons, inlichtingen, pakjes ontvangen, scans maken, digitaal nota's en facturen ondertekenen, het hoort er allemaal bij deze dagen."
Luciano: "During CORONA times I've been working on several projects, including reviving old routines from
the STEREO space mission to be used with Solar Orbiter/EUI, the usual 2 or 3 EUHFORIA related projects dealing with heliospheric models,
working with PhD students
(we even got 2 graduations during this period!), doing the usual 24/7 PECAUSUS operations shifts and
solving issues , working with colleagues from around the world in the usual way (teleconferences and email)
and finding new ways to work with local colleagues (I think Slack is a very powerful tool for that!).
Oh, and somehow we even managed to submit a paper related to L5 observations which got good reviews already. So, busy times, and with children on top! A lot of fun!!"
Pascale: "Covid is for me synonym of videoconferences… a lot of meetings at all times of the day and the night due to jet lags with colleagues from other continents. But no travel is really a good point ! We analysed in detail the power changes of GPS signals, which are regularly introduced by the GPS operator, and which perturbs the detection of solar radio bursts based on the analysis of GPS signal to noise ratio."
Kevin: "My daily tasks include answering telephones and, if necessary, transferring the details of the sick. I receive the mail and parcels. I am also responsible for the fire safety of the Observatory, even though there is not that many staff present."
Veronique: "Producing description fiches to present our new project DeepSun, officially launched just before the lock-down, reviewing papers as an editor of Frontiers Astronomy and Space Sciences, learning about new methods in machine learning in heliophysics, experiencing a first 'globally everywhere' IVOA Virtual Meeting, with sessions beginning early in the morning as well as late at night, ... these were a few of my favorite things... in this otherwise tough period…"
Jasmina: "It has been a very busy spring for me, despite the confinement. Many different projects to work on (CCSOM, SWiM and now EUHFORIA 2.0) and many, many teleconferences...
I also finished several papers: 2 accepted, and 2 should be hopefully accepted in the coming days, and 2 more are in progress...
I hope they will not keep me confined to continue the publishing trend :-)
It would be great to be back to my office and to see the colleagues again, I am very much looking forward to that... "
Nicolas: "Hi, welcome to my home made new office. I am a geophysicist working on ionospheric monitoring and physics, polar research, and I started to work on Mars' atmosphere. During this COVID-19 confinement period, I mainly took time to process data for my research on Earth ionosphere. My daily work is generally to write research proposals (which are not accepted ...) and scientific articles (which are hopefully accepted !!). For the STCE, I give expertise on GNSS (Global navigation Satellite Systems, e.g. GPS, Galileo) and Space weather impact on the ionosphere."
Marie: "Like most of my colleagues, I am working from home. During the last months, I have been participating to a couple of ISSI proposals, doing paperwork (mostly project reporting), and contributing to a couple of scientific papers devoted to spaceborne radiometer contamination and observation of the Sun in Lyman-alpha. I am now eager to start investigating the presence of quasi-periodic pulsations in the very first M flare of the new solar cycle."
Sylvain: "During the confinement, I have been busy with many things. I have finally been able to find the
time to analyse the data obtained with SLP (for the space mission PICASSO) during a measurement campaign in the plasma chamber
at ESA/ESTEC last year, and write an article about this. I have been busy with the ground segment for
SLP too (PICASSO and SIMBA launch date: 19/06!!). Furthermore, I have been involved in the
Comet Interceptor mission where we will supply the Langmuir probe sensors.
Finally, I have been working on the Daedalus mission where we are designing the
Cross-Wind Sensor (CWS) instrument. So, different exiting projects running in parallel together
with more time to spend with the family and a great sunny weather (most of the time):
the lockdown life style has been a positive experience so far, although I must admit I miss the chats
with the colleagues…
Hope to see you soon!"
Antonio: "The SIDC’s observational activities include radio monitoring of the solar activity in the metric and
microwave range, providing near real-time information on eruptive events using sensitive radio telescopes.
These measurements are limited by the radio window set by the attenuation in the Earth’s atmosphere and the
man-made Radio Frequency Interference (RFI).
The radio astronomy station in Humain is not exempt from this adverse situation and any possible source of radio pollution should be investigated in an attempt to reduce their negative influence on the observations. The Radio Working Group carries out a number of simulations using different techniques to determine potential RFIs of each pre-project for wind generators installation (or other possible sources of RFI) in the vicinity of the station. This information allows to assess the impact of those devices over the protected radio quiet zone granted by the Belgian authorities to the Royal Observatory of Belgium."
Laurent: "Hello! I mainly continue working on the preparation of the PROBA-3 mission, "business as usual".
Except that instead of bursting into my office, people contact me on Slack, and instead of trying to find
a free meeting room, we meet via teleconferences. Oh, and also I don't need to use headphones anymore to work
The coronagraph ASPIICS onboard PROBA-3 will provide us with unprecedented images of the solar corona (almost) as good as eclipse pictures, but much more often! So we'd better be prepared to operate ASPIICS and to process all the images it will produce. "
It is June, the time of the year of the annual STCE meeting.
But COVID-19 forces us to rethink the concept. We came up with a digital and clickable meeting-poster
where you can meet several STCE colleagues in their present working environment.
The meeting-poster shows what we have been doing during the confinement, what keeps us going and motivated.