Category Archives: Science at OKC

An update from above the Arctic Circle

In a little over two weeks, just after Midsummer, the launch window for PoGOLite will open. In my last post, I talked about the conclusion of PoGOLite tests at Linköping airport. Since then, PoGOLite has been moved up to the Esrange Space Centre thereby marking the start of the launch campaign. Esrange is located some 40 km east of Kiruna and provides unique opportunities to launch large helium-filled balloons into the stratosphere. We are hoping to make a circumpolar navigation of the North Pole, overflying Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Canada and … Continue Reading ››

New instruments for Dark Matter

Things have been happening lately with experiments which could eventually shed some light on dark matter.

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory, which was completed last December, defiantly started data taking in its final configuration on Friday the 13:th of this month. Data from 5397 optical modules are recorded at a rate of 2370 events per second, and about 50 million events per day are sent North for analysis via satellite (unfortunately,
almost all are due to atmospheric muons, not neutrinos).

Observing supernovae with the Gran Telescopio Canarias

We are just about to finish our second night at the world’s largest optical telescope, the 10.4m Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) on the summit of the island of La Palma. For me personally, observing surely confirms that the only difference between children and scientists are the prices of their toys. The pricetag of the GTC is roughly 650000 times more than the telescope I got in the 8th grade, but on the other hand it also has about 10000 times light collecting capability.

Dissipative photospheres in gamma-ray bursts

One of the many research topics at OKC is the study of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). Several aspects of them are studied, such as the gamma-ray and X-ray emission, the afterglow emission, and the interaction between the bursts and the circumburst medium.

In a recent paper based on observations with the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope it is argued that the main emission during the first few minutes of GRBs is dominated by the jet photosphere and that there is significant amount of energy dissipation close to the photosphere. This result is significant for our understanding of physics of GRB jets.

Spring time for LOFAR Sweden

As the Sun is finally warming up both the nature and people this far north, also the efforts to construct the Swedish LOFAR station awake from their winter sleep. From November until now snow and frozen soil stopped the work in its tracks, but today at Onsala near Göteborg on the west coast of Sweden, the building activities will recommence.

LOFAR is a European wide radio telescope consisting of stations spread out over the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, France and Sweden, with possibly more countries joining in the future.