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The solar system changes on a daily basis. One of the most significant changes is the “atmosphere” or “planetosphere” that each planet, including the Earth, covers. Compared to the weight of the main body, this area is overwhelmingly small and scarce. However, it is in this area that the Earth, with its oceans and teeming with life, differs significantly from Mars, which has only a trace atmosphere, and Venus, which has an excess atmosphere.


The solar wind, consisting of supersonic plasma (electrically charged gas), blows from the sun. On the planetary side, solar heating is the source of energy for meteorological phenomena and photochemical processes, and volcanic and subsurface changes also cause compositional variations. In between these phenomena, spacecraft fly over the upper atmosphere, where intense auroral and magnetospheric activities take place, and atmospheric outflows also occur. The daily transformation of the “planetosphere” is the subject of our research at PPARC.


PPARC captures faint signals from the solar system with IPRT/AMATERAS, a 30-mVHF radio telescope in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, and HF bandwidth telescopes in Iitate and Zao, Miyagi Prefecture. The 40cm optical telescope (T40) and the 60cm optical-infrared telescope (T60) are located at the summit of Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii, and continue to observe infrared and visible light emitted by planets, satellites, and micro-orbits. We will explore the changes and evolution of the solar system by combining dedicated observation instruments that can be pointed at any time toward the solar system, including the Earth, with Japanese and international satellites and probes that sometimes carry instruments we have developed, including the observation systems deployed around the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. Together with our colleagues at Tohoku University, our colleagues in Japan, and top-class researchers from around the world, we will explore the changes and evolution of the solar system.


 Project and Data

Our Group Laboratories


This post is also available in: Japanese