Image from: NASA

Latest publications

The ASIM Mission on the International Space Station

The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) is an instrument suite onthe International Space Station (ISS) for measurements of lightning, Transient LuminousEvents (TLEs) and Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs). Developed in the framework ofthe European Space Agency (ESA), it was launched April 2, 2018 on the SpaceX CRS-14flight to the ISS. ASIM was mounted on an external platform of ESA’s Columbus moduleeleven days later and is planned to take measurements during minimum 3 years. The instruments are an x- and gamma-ray monitor measuring photons from 15 keV to 20 MeV, and an array of three photometers and two cameras measuring in bands at: 180–250 nm, 337 nm and 777.4 nm. Additional objectives that can be addressed with the instruments relate to space physics like aurorae and meteors, and to Earth observation such as dust- and aerosol effects on cloud electrification. The paper describes the scientific objectives of the ASIM mission, the instruments, the mission architecture and the international collaboration supported by the ASIM Science Data Centre. ASIM is the first space mission with a comprehensive suite of instruments designed to measure TLEs and TGFs. Two companion papers describe the instruments in more detail (Østgaard et al. in Space Sci. Rev., 2019; Chanrion et al. in Space Sci. Rev., 2019).
Publication Link
2019/3

The Modular X- and Gamma-Ray Sensor (MXGS) of the ASIM Payload on the International Space Station

The Modular X- and Gamma-ray Sensor (MXGS) is an imaging and spectral X- and Gamma-ray instrument mounted on the starboard side of the Columbus module on the International Space Station. Together with the Modular Multi-Spectral Imaging Assembly (MMIA) (Chanrion et al. this issue) MXGS constitutes the instruments of the Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) (Neubert et al. this issue). The main objectives of MXGS are to image and measure the spectrum of X- and γ -rays from lightning discharges, known as Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs), and for MMIA to image and perform high speed photometry of Transient Luminous Events (TLEs) and lightning discharges. With these two instruments specifically designed to explore the relation between electrical discharges, TLEs and TGFs, ASIM is the first mission of its kind. With an imaging system and a large detector area MXGS will, for the first time, allow estimation of the location of the source region and characterization of the energy spectrum of individual events. The sensors have fast readout electronics to minimize pileup effects, giving high time resolution of photon detection for comparison with measurements on μs-time scales of lightning processes measured by the MMIA and other sensors in space or on the ground. The detectors cover the large energy range of the relevant photon energies. In this paper we describe the scientific objectives, design, performance, imaging capabilities and operational modes of the MXGS instrument.
Publication Link
2019/2

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ASIM Science Data Centre

The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor is a climate observatory for the International Space Station - ISS. It is developed by the ASIM consortium for ESA. The ASIM consortium is formed by Terma A/S, Danish Technical University, University of Bergen, University of Valencia, Polish Academy of Science Space Resarch Center, and OHB CGS. The Danish Technical University is leading the scientific advisory board to ESA and Terma A/S is the prime contractor under ESA for the payload development. Development started in 2010 and current launch is planned for 2017 with Falcon-9/Dragon by SpaceX. The budget of ASIM is 35-40 MEUR.


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DTU Space

University Bergen, BCSS

University of Valencia

DTU Space uses space as a base for research and technology development in order to learn more about the Universe and Earth, to study climate and environment on Earth and create results and technologies that benefit society.

Birkeland Centre for Space Science (BCSS) is a Centre of Excellence (CoE) at the University of Bergen (UiB), that also includes scientists from NTNU and UNIS. The objective of BCSS is to understand how Earth is coupled to space.

Our university, founded over five centuries ago by the Juries of Valencia, has become a modern, public university that teaches all areas of knowledge: social, economic and legal sciences, experimental sciences, engineering, health sciences, educational sciences and the humanities.

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Latest news

Hans Christian Ørsted Research Award 2019 goes to DTU space scientist

Lightning scientist Torsten Neubert receives the Hans Christian Ørsted Research Award for his contribution to an understanding of how giant lightning bolts are created in space.
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Tue 20 Aug 2019, 10:41

Space-station cameras reveal how thunderstorms trigger gamma-ray bursts

Nature article: Mysterious electrical flashes above storm clouds have long puzzled scientists. “This is a game changer,” says Nikolai Østgaard, a space physicist at the University of Bergen in Norway. He described the findings in a pair of talks at the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics meeting in Montreal, Canada, on 9 and 12 July. Picture: NASA/JSC
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Wed 17 Jul 2019, 15:54

How do thunderstorms affect the Earth’s climate?

The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) was launched last April in an effort to study severe thunderstorms. Just a year later, the observation facility is already providing scientists with a better understanding of the role that thunderstorms play in the Earth’s atmosphere and climate and how lightning is created. Picture: Earth.com
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Thu 11 Apr 2019, 15:40

Fireworks of blue lightning and gamma-rays above thunderclouds

After only one year in space, the Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) on the International Space Station has given researchers a new understanding of how lightning is created, and how thunderstorms can affect the atmosphere and the climate. Picture: ESA/NASA
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Tue 09 Apr 2019, 14:43

New knowledge about giant lightning bolts in space

Measurements from the large ASIM space project shows a firework of blue lightning and X-ray radiation above thunderclouds. After one year in space, the ASIM (Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor) observatory on the International Space Station (ISS) has given researchers from Denmark’s Technical University (DTU) a new and better understanding of how lightning is created, and how thunderstorms can affect the stratosphere and the climate. Picture: ESA
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Tue 09 Apr 2019, 14:11