The BiSON observatory at Carnarvon, Western Australia.

The Sun is the most important star in the sky - it dominates the solar-terrestrial environment and its behaviour has important consequences for our lives on Earth. The group in Birmingham has been studying the Sun since the 1960's and has built up decades of expertise. Members of the group are world leaders in the study of the Sun using its global acoustic modes of oscillation. Over the decades the group has been involved in many exciting aspects of solar science including:

The BiSON observatory at Narrabri, New South Wales, Australia.
  • The discovery and resolution of the solar-neutrino problem.
  • The solar magnetic activity cycle and its associated Space Weather.
  • The dynamo, or multiple dynamos, inside the Sun.
  • The ongoing solar abundance problem.
  • The quest for solar g-modes that would reveal the properties of the deep solar interior.

To observe the Sun, the group runs its own global network of automated robotic helioseismic observatories known as BiSON - the Birmingham Solar-Oscillations Network. BiSON consists of six remote sites, each of which supports a variety of complex, purpose-built instrumentation. These instruments observe the 'global' modes of oscillation that probe the deep solar interior. These data are widely regarded as being of unrivalled quality. Our instrumentation are based at the following sites:

The BiSON observatory at Las Campanas, Chile.
  • Mount Wilson, California, USA
  • Las Campanas, Chile
  • Izaña, Tenerife
  • Sutherland, South Africa
  • Carnarvon, Western Australia
  • Narrabri, New South Wales, Australia

Data from the network, dating back to 1976, can be downloaded from the BiSON Open Data Portal. You can also view live system telemetry and images from the on-site cameras at BiSON Live!

BiSON images © S.J. Hale.