Heliospheric Physics Research Group - ESA Expert Service Group for Heliospheric Weather

The University of Graz

UNIGRAZ with its Kanzelhöhe Observatory and the research groups on Solar and Heliospheric physics at the Institute of Physicsis a world-wide leading institution in the research on space weather. The main research areas cover the physics, interplanetary propagation and geomagnetic consequences of coronal mass ejections (CMEs), the conditions and modelling of the solar wind properties and its effect on ICME propagation, as well as the high-energy physics of solar flares and accelerated particles.

Based on this research, co-operatively performed with thUniversity of Zagreb in Croatia, we could develop services to forecast solar wind high speed streams as well as arrival times and impact speeds of CMEs at Earth or other planetary targets. 

The Kanzelhöhe Observatory and its patrol observations, daily monitor the solar sources of space weather using high-quality, high-cadence and standardized images. Automatic feature recognition algorithms developed co-operatively with the Technical University of Graz, allow to give alerts of solar flares and filament eruptions in almost real-time. 

Space Situational Awareness

ESA's Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Programme was authorised at the November 2008 Ministerial Council and formally launched on 1 January 2009. The mandate was extended at the 2012 Ministerial Council until 2019, and the programme is funded through to 2016.

The objective of the SSA programme is to support Europe's independent utilisation of, and access to, space through the provision of timely and accurate information and data regarding the space environment, and particularly regarding hazards to infrastructure in orbit and on the ground. In general, these hazards stem from possible collisions between objects in orbit, harmful space weather and potential strikes by natural objects, such as asteroids, that cross Earth’s orbit. Watch the ESA video on "What is Space Weather?"


The University of Graz (UNIGRAZ), founded in 1585, is the second largest university in Austria, with about 3.900 employees (including 2,700 scientists) and 31.000 students enrolled in more than 100 different studies. UNIGRAZ with its Kanzelhöhe Observatory is a world-wide leading institution in the ground-based observations of the solar sources of space weather.