Sunlight and the glow of the moon are what we traditionally think of as the sun's influence on Earth, but visible light is only part of the energy given to us by our star. Solar flares and sunspots, usually hidden from us, lead to the ejection of energetic particles that flood the solar system, including the neighbourhood of the earth. These particles, as well as light in the x-ray and ultraviolet part of the spectrum, interact with the earth's protective magnetic field and atmosphere. The study of the relationships between the sun and the earth's magnetic field and atmosphere is described as "Solar Terrestrial Physics". Studies of the atmospheres of other planets in the solar system involves the field of quot;Planetary astronomy". These studies are the focus of the Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies.
Human activities as well as solar terrestrial processes are modifying our "atmospheric environment". Longterm variations in solar output, the depletion of ozone, changes in volcanic dust aerosols, and the increases in Green House Gases all contribute to "Climate Change" and influence the ability of the Earth to protect and provide for its inhabitants. The 'space environment' near the Earth is increasingly used for satellites to enhance communications, navigations, earth remote-sensing and to provide a unique habitat for Humans. It is a hazardous environment and requires knowledge of "Space Weather". We explore the climate and storms of space, and are developing the ability to forecast the weather of space. The two themes of 'Climate Change' and 'Space Weather' are major activities of the members of ISAS.
The Past and Present
The Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies (ISAS) was formed in 1956 to study the aurora (northern lights), the related 'disturbances' in the upper atmosphere and ionosphere, and the effects of solar activity upon climate. Since that time members of the Institute have expanded the world's knowledge and understanding of how the sun and the earth interact; and trained more than 200 scientists and engineers in a wide range of technical and scientific areas. ISAS developed observing systems for space and atmospheric sciences, ground based optical and radar instruments, and satellite systems, remote sensing technology, and knowledge of STP processes are a vital resource for "Canadian Space Science" and couples powerfully into high-technology industries.
Currently the Institute consists of approximately 40 persons: 6 Physics and Engineering Physics professors who are also Principal Investigators of ISAS programs (plus 3 Emeriti), 2 Adjunct Professors, 3 Research Associates, 6 Research Assistants and Engineers, 1 Technician and 1 Clerical Admininstrative staff and 19 Grad Students. It is the largest and most comprehensive Solar-Terrestrial Physics (STP) and Atmospheric Science Institute in Canada. The members of ISAS work in conjunction with other Canadians and with international teams of scientists, engineers, and technologists. Out colleagues are in Eruope, Scandanavia, Russia, China, India, Australia, Africa, South America, the United States, and Japan.
It is the largest and most comprehensive STP Institute in Canada. The members of ISAS work in conjunction with other Canadians and with international teams of scientists, engineers, and technologists. Our colleagues are in Europe, Scandanavia, Russia, China, India, Australia, Africa, South America, the United States, and Japan.
ISAS's research activities are supported by the University of Saskatchewan, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) through grants to individual professors, and the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC).