Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Astrophysical and Meteorological Mesoscale Phenomena

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.02.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Physics   

Code Science Field
P520  Natural sciences and mathematics  Astronomy, space research, cosmic chemistry 
(1) astronomy and astrophysics, (2) meteorology, (3) general theory of relativity, (4) astronomical spectroscopy, (5) astronomical telescopes and spectrographs, (6) measurement of distances and time-lags in the universe and influence of gravity on macroscopic scales, (7) exact time measurement, (8) physics of binary stars, (9) cosmochemistry of stellar atmospheres and interstellar medium, (10) mission GAIA of the European Space Agency, (11) spectroscopic sky survey RAVE, (12) formation and composition of our Galaxy, (13) physics of active galactic nuclei, (14) observation of immediate environments of black holes and neutron stars, (15) mesometeorological numerical modelling, (16) verification of modelled fields, (17) intensive precipitation processes, (18) wind chanelling, (19) extreme meteorological events, (20) climate variations and change
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (17)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  01486  PhD Andrej Čadež  Physics  Researcher  2004 - 2008 
2.  06640  Bojan Dintinjana  Physics  Technical associate  2005 - 2008 
3.  14485  PhD Saša Gaberšek  Physics  Researcher  2005 - 2006 
4.  15837  PhD Andreja Gomboc  Physics  Researcher  2004 - 2008 
5.  18765  PhD Gregor Gregorič  Physics  Researcher  2006 - 2008 
6.  28534  PhD Gal Matijevič  Physics  Junior researcher  2007 - 2008 
7.  14331  Herman Mikuž  Physics  Technical associate  2005 - 2008 
8.  22508  PhD Andrej Prša  Physics  Researcher  2004 - 2008 
9.  03162  PhD Jože Rakovec  Physics  Researcher  2004 - 2008 
10.  29930  PhD Paola Re Fiorentin  Physics  Researcher  2008 
11.  23978  PhD Gregor Skok  Physics  Technical associate  2006 - 2008 
12.  24575  PhD Anže Slosar  Physics  Researcher  2005 - 2008 
13.  20368  PhD Simon Vidrih  Physics  Researcher  2004 - 2008 
14.  08000  PhD Tomaž Zwitter  Physics  Head  2004 - 2008 
15.  21370  PhD Rahela Žabkar  Physics  Junior researcher  2004 - 2008 
16.  27683  PhD Mark Žagar  Physics  Researcher  2006 - 2008 
17.  26239  PhD Nedjeljka Žagar  Physics  Researcher  2005 - 2008 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  1554  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics  Ljubljana  1627007 
Our research group is the principal and leading research group in Slovenia for the fields of astronomy (astrophysics) and meteorology. Thus also the broadness of the research goals, aimed at continuation and expansion of our past achievement and experience: (1)The group is actively involved in preparations of the European Space Agency's mission GAIA (www.gaia.esa.nl), a Cornerstone-6 mission with the aim of measurement of position, distance, all three components of the velocity vector and physical parameters for over a billion stars in our Galaxy. This will clarify the origin of our Galaxy and the role of galactic canibalism in this process. It will be also the most accurate study of the distribution of dark matter, which is the principal component of the Universe. We are contributing to optimisation of reference parameters of the spectrograph and the photometric system. (2)The group is a foundation member of RAVE (RAdial Velocity Experiment, www.potsdam.mpe.de/rave), a collaboration of 11 countries which uses the Australian UK Schmidt telescope to obtain spectra of hundred thousand stars, determine their radial velocity and the stellar atmospheric parameters. This huge and so far the largest dataset of stellar spectra will allow us to study Galactic kinematics and composition in detail. (3)Techniques for physical parameter analysis will be developed and applied to (a) spectroscopic observations of stars already obtained at the Asiago observatory, TNG on Canary islands, ESO-MPI in La Silla and elsewhere; (b) chemical analysis of RAVE collaboration observations; (c) determination of physical parameters of binary stars, with special emphasis on chemical composition and rotation velocity that could not be determined by other methods. (4)We are developing a large code for physical modelling of binary stars which expands capabilities of earlier WD codes by automation of modelling needed for the RAVE and GAIA survey interpretation, as well as more than a dozen especially interesting double stars which have been secured at Asiago observatory (Italy). (5)Our calculation of light paths in the vicinity of a black hole had already noticeable impact in the field and shall be continued. The goal is to easily interpret observations of immediate vicinities of black holes to be obtained with X-ray telescopes (Chandra). Our contribution to the techniques of discovery of the gamma-ray burst echoes with the Liverpool telescope will ease our participation to this project in the years to come. (6) Analysis of kinematics and distribution of matter in supernova remnants will be studied for the case of a landmark example, the Crab nebula. (7)Mesometeorological modelling: Regular measurements and campaigns provide us with the basic knowledge of meteorological processes, but physical experiments in controlled conditions in the atmosphere are impossible; thus modelling is necessary. The existing mesometeorological models (ALADIN and MM5) will be upgraded for simulations in non-hydrostatic scales. Importance of anthropogenic influences upon changes of climate and weather will be studied considering local and global chemical composition of the atmosphere. Influence of the mountainous terrain on the atmosphere will be studied, especially to airflow and precipitation patterns. Topography shapes will be taken into account with an emphasis on concave forms, which inhibit the air exchange and dispersion of pollutants.This can cause an increase of local pollution levels; furthermore, pollution is important for energy balance of the atmosphere. (8)The evaluation of the forecasted fields in comparison to the measurements will be aimed. Our analysis will be based on the databases MAP and TRMM. The latest satellite measurements of precipitation will be used and this will contribute to the introduction of the use of GPM technology in Europe. (9) Extreme events in the atmosphere
Significance for science
Our contribution and (partly) a leading role in astrophysical collaborations (RAVE, SDSS, the Liverpool GRB group) increases the scientific knowledge, mostly through publication in leading journals, including Science and Nature. Study of the formation and evolution of our Galaxy deals with fundamental questions of our existence and origin. Study of the Universe as a whole is essential, despite a significant recent progress. Modern particle accelerators, e.g. LHC, are still unable to provide conditions relevant to certain aspects of fundamental physics which are therefore accessible only through cosmological measurements. A typical example is dark energy, likely a form of vacuum energy, which is too weak by several orders of magnitude to be measured directly. Theory of the early universe gives access to energy regimes which are completely unaccessible to the usual experiments. GRBs are one of the hotest topics in Astrophysics today. It is important to understand GRBs in view of the stellar evolution, which can lead to such catastrophic events, study of galactic environment (dust and gas properties in galaxies) and also the study of early galaxies and early Universe. Namely, GRBs can be, due to their extreme brightness (similar as quasars), used as unique cosmological probes, which illuminate otherwise dim distant galaxies. The farthest GRB detected to date by Swift lies at the cosmological redshift of z=6.3. For physics in general, GRBs are important for the study of relativistic shock waves, as a source of cosmic rays, neutrinos, photons with TeV energy and for the potential detection of gravitational waves, which are thought to be produced during the stellar collapse and merger to a black hole. Study of climate change is the prerequisite for mitigation and for adaptation to the modified situation. The global picture heavily relies on our understanding of the regional behaviour. A number of questions have been arising especially from the results of regional climate models. In very small and climatologically heterogeneous countries such as Slovenia model uncertainties can often be larger than the mean climate change signal. The need to perform subsequent and more detailed analyses of these impacts at the local scale can therefore hardly be overstated. Meteorological parameters influence also the spread of pollutants in the atmosphere. Despite a significant pollution with ozone and aerosols in Slovenia little is known about its transport, its local sources and the corresponding meteorological and chemical processes.
Significance for the country
Astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology and meteorology are natural sciences with the highest interest of the general public. They can be also a motivation to study physics or other natural sciences, including medicine. Members of this programme will have a leading role in the forthcoming UN international year of astronomy in 2009 (similar to the one of physics 3 years ago). The programme is the basis for all university level studies in the above mentioned disciplines. Knowledge spread by this program has a direct impact on local economy and on government bodies, as explained elsewhere. This includes our experience with visualization and numerical modelling techniques for large datasets, as well as the knowledge on parallel numerical codes for multiple core processors and computer clusters. The fact that the frequencies of modern processors do not increase any more makes this even more important. This programme has strong links to the evironment protection activities. Its members contributed to the Light pollution control act adopted by the Slovene government in 2007. The importance of climate change is very high on the political priorities list, also manifested by mitigation and adaptation (EU directive from Feb 2007) activities. We note that the outcomes of regional climate models are frequently unclear today and of critical importance in heterogeneous countries as ours. Slovenia is becomming a full member of EUMETSAT and a member of ESA, so a local knowledge of satellite technologies needs to be developed. Several EU directives and EU parliament decisions require the development of methods to report increased levels of pollutants.
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