Centre of Excellence in Space Sciences to be setup at Kolkata

Kolkata: Aiming to emerge the national hub for research in space weather, supporting space missions and large-scale astrophysics projects, the Centre of Excellence in Space Sciences is set to come up in Kolkata later this year, says a leading scientist.

“The primary focus of the centre is to be a national hub for research in space weather and to support space missions and national large-scale astrophysics projects such as the Laser Interferometer Gravitation Wave Observatory,” co-ordinating scientist Dibyendu Nandi told IANS.

The centre will come up at the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER) campus here.

The novelty of the centre is that it is expected to deliver space weather forecasts based on computer simulations of solar activity and the space environment well in advance, not just by current reading or observations.

According to Nandi, the main functions of the centre are to generate the required scientific understanding of space environment that will lead to predictions of the weather in space.

“A secondary function will be to work in outstanding challenges in the field of astrophysics, particularly supporting national initiatives in grand challenge problems,” said Nandi.

In order to provide advanced training to students interested in space research, the centre will also run a PhD programme, where students can get their doctorates and as well have annual national workshops to disseminate the centre’s knowledge base.

“Our training programme will be geared towards producing space scientists, a trained manpower capable of leading India’s ambitions in the space sciences,” said Nandi.

Terming it as a multi-institutional national Centre, the scientist said: “It is being hosted by IISER, Kolkata but it already involves scientists from IISER Pune, ISRO, Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA, Bangalore), and Udaipur Solar Observatory (a unit of Physical Research Laboratory),” revealed Nandi.