The PI will continue the operation of the Bruny Island Radio Spectrometer (BIRS) in Tasmania for an additional five years after mid-2007. BIRS operates in the frequency range from 5 to 62 MHz and employs modern digital techniques to avoid strong radio interference. BIRS also bridges the gap between low frequency solar radio observations made from space and most of the routine higher frequency observations made from the surface of the Earth, providing a useful link between space-based and ground-based solar radio observations. BIRS data are primarily useful for understanding and predicting coronal mass ejections (CMEs), solar energetic particles (SEPs), and geomagnetic storms. An additional five years of operation will make BIRS data available well into the next solar cycle, during the period of STEREO spacecraft operation.
BIRS is at nearly the same longitude as the Culgoora spectrograph in Australia and observes the Sun for a similar period of time each day. BIRS provides a frequency overlap between space-based observations by WAVES and STEREO and those of Culgoora. By combining data from these three instruments, spectra can be produced from about 20 kHz (the approximate low-frequency cutoff caused by the interplanetary medium) to 1800 MHz (the upper frequency of the Culgoora instrument).
The PI will investigate the nature of metric type II bursts and their role in large solar events; the propagation of energetic electron and proton streams through the heliosphere; and the generation of decametric bursts with very fine time and frequency structure.
Design information for BIRS has been provided to other groups and similar systems have been built at NRAO-Green Bank (Green Bank Solar Radio Burst Spectrometer, GBSRBS) and at Goddard Space Flight Center. Combining the data from these systems provides nearly 24 hours per day of solar coverage. The BIRS data are displayed on the GBSRBS web site each day in order to make them publicly available to the solar community.