According to a press release by the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), the agency’s Hermanus facility is embarking on a groundbreaking initiative to install magnetometer sites along and near the magnetic equator in the African sector. This strategic move will significantly advance the understanding of the Earth’s magnetic field and captivate the international scientific community’s interest.
Phase 1: Ethiopia’s ENTOTO Observatory
The first phase of this ambitious plan involves deploying a magnetic station just outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the renowned ENTOTO Observatory. This venture is possible through a fruitful partnership between SANSU Hermanus and the Space Science Group International (SSGI), with Dr Nigussie Giday as a collaborator and primary contact at the site.
Currently, there are no active magnetometer sites along the magnetic equator in the African sector, making this deployment a pioneering endeavour. The project holds immense promise for advancing magnetic equator studies and piquing the curiosity of the global scientific community.
The Proof-of-Concept Station
As a critical initial step, the SANSA Hermanus team will establish a proof-of-concept magnetometer station at its Hermanus site. This station will feature the cutting-edge LEMI 3-axis fluxgate magnetometer, GSM sensor, and a brand-new protective structure design. The success of this test phase will determine the replication of this station in Ethiopia, marking a significant milestone in the project.
A World-Class Collaborator
To ensure the success of this groundbreaking mission, SANSA Hermanus will collaborate with Dr Jürgen Matzka, Head of Geomagnetism at the German Institute of Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam, Germany. Dr Matzka is a renowned expert in magnetometer station deployment, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the project.
Dr Matzka, along with his dedicated student, Mr Marcos da Silva, will visit the Hermanus site for station deployment training and assist the SANSA Hermanus team in testing their new station design. Furthermore, Dr Giday will also join this training session, emphasising the collaborative and international nature of this pioneering effort.
Dr Amoré Nel, Applied Geomagnetic Researcher at SANSA Hermanus, says, “This workshop is a testament to SANSA’s dedication to fostering knowledge and expertise in advanced technologies. It also highlights the agency’s role in promoting international cooperation in electromagnetics and superconductive electronics.”
The installation of magnetometer stations in the African sector represents a significant leap forward in our exploration of Earth’s magnetic equator, and the entire continent looks forward to the remarkable discoveries and insights this endeavour will yield.
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