Space Physics Research Group, Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley
Data Center Description
The University of California at Berkeley, just above the Lawrence Hall of Science and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories, the Silver Space Sciences Laboratory was built by NASA in 1966 to conduct basic space research in a variety of fields. The Berkeley Space Physics Research Group (SPRG) occupies the third floor and currently has 3 physics department professors, 17 research fellows, 11 graduate students, and approximately 43 engineers and technicians engaged in ongoing experimental space physics projects.
SPRG conducts experimental research in space plasma physics on a variety of different spacecraft covering the earth's magnetosphere, auroral zone, tail region, the interplanetary solar wind, and in the near-space environments of other planets. Our emphasis is generally on the detailed, high time and spatial resolution measurements of the microphysics that governs the behavior of the larger scale processes occurring in these planetary, interplanetary, and presumably most other astrophysical plasmas. To accomplish this aim we conceive, design, and build state-of-the-art plasma particle detectors and electric field sensors to make in situ measurements of fields and particle distributions in various space plasmas. From these measurements we can study particle acceleration, plasma waves, wave-particle interactions, currents, various types of shocks and boundaries between different plasma environments, and other phenomena of interest to both basic plasma physics and general space physics. Instruments are flown on small NASA sounding rockets to study particle acceleration and wave-particle interactions in the Earth's northern auroral zone, while a multitude of satellite missions currently underway or in construction carry our instruments to more distant space plasmas surrounding the earth or in other regions of the solar system.