Scientists modernize Antarctic geomagnetic observatory

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Ukrainian scientists have modernized the geomagnetic observatory at the Akademik Vernadsky station. Now it is the only one in the Antarctic that can transmit ultra-precise one-second geomagnetic data in a new format.

Геомагнітна обсерваторія "Аргентинські острови"

AIA Observatory

The data are sent to the international network INTERMAGNET, which unites 106 of the world’s best observatories from 43 countries. The information is then used both by scientists conducting basic research and by various organizations for practical purposes: navigation, mineral exploration, etc.

The Argentine Islands Geomagnetic Observatory (AIA) has been a member of INTERMAGNET since 2004. Observations of changes in the Earth’s magnetic field here began in 1954 by British scientists at the then Faraday Station. After the transfer of the station (1996), Ukraine undertook to continue these studies.

спостереження магнітного поля Землі

Thus, the AIA Observatory now has one of the longest series of continuous observations of the Earth’s magnetic field. This is extremely important because it allows us to track changes in the magnetic field over different periods.

It is important that the data be of high quality, timely and have a high degree of discreteness. Therefore, the requirements for observatories are constantly growing. In this regard, during this year’s seasonal expedition, our scientists carried out another modernization of the AMS. Geophysicist Yuriy Sumaruk was directly involved in this work.

геофізик Юрій Сумарук

What was done

  • A new magnetovariation station was installed and continuous data transmission was established. The Vernadsky Research Center now has two such new stations (the previous one was installed in 2021).
  • A new industrial computer was installed to service the GSM-90 proton magnetometer.
  • Updated data transmission channels.
  • The observatory’s power supply system was modernized. Now the AIA equipment can operate autonomously for more than two days, while before the modernization it could work for no more than two hours.

© Photo: Oleksandr Matsibura, Anna Torgonenko

Today, the Ukrainian observatory operates at the highest world level and produces second-by-second data in a new format. Only 11 observatories in the INTERMAGNET network produce such data today. They are very valuable for the analysis of fast-moving processes and their description and are widely used for satellite research, space weather forecasts and geomagnetic storms.

In particular, in early May of this year, the AIA recorded the largest magnetic storm in terms of power over the past 165 years.

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