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Global Oscillation Network Group

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Research Areas:
NSF Award:

Management, Operations, and Associated Projects for the National Optical Astronomy Observatory  (AURA/National Optical Astronomy Observatories)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Global Oscillation Network Group (GONG) studies the internal structure and dynamics of the sun by means of helioseismology--the measurement of acoustic waves that penetrate throughout the solar interior.  Six stations around the globe, using high-resolution CCD cameras, provide nearly continuous observations of the sun's "five-minute oscillations."  The stations are in Hawaii, California, Chile, Canary Islands, India, and Western Australia.

Global helioseismology allows the group to determine the radial structure of the sun, as well as the depth and latitude variation of its flows and oscillations. The group has also developed computational seismic holography as a tool for imaging the solar interior at high spatial resolution.

The GONG project is increasing our understanding and improving predictions of the soar cycle, which is essential for space exploration, earth sensing, weather forecasting, and communications, all of which are impacted by solar activity.

The GONG facilities are part of the National Solar Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.

Education & Outreach

The facilities of the National Solar Observatory offer numerous opportunities for hands-on education and training for all levels of students and teachers, as well as educational materials for classroom use.  The activities include NSF-supported Research Experiences for Teachers, in which K-12 teachers conduct hands-on research at the observatory, alongside professional astronomers and engineers.

For higher education students, the solar observatory offers the opportunity to study and train with professional mentors--through NSF-sponsored Research Experiences for Undergraduates, and internships and summer research assistantships for graduate students. In addition, the Global Oscillation Network Group offers NSF-supported International Research Experiences for Students in India, which gives U.S. graduate students exposure to international research collaboration at an early stage of their careers.

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  • One of the GONG stations