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IAP P7/08 CHARM - Contemporary physical challenges in Heliospheric and AstRophysical Models

CHARM is project P7/08 in the phase VII IAP programme (Oct. 2012-Sep. 2017) organised by BELSPO, the BELgian federal Science Policy Office.


Five Belgian research teams, strengthened by two renowned international partners, join forces to investigate Contemporary physical challenges in Heliospheric and AstRophysical Models. The CHARMing aspect of our network, is that we started from recognizing the various team weaknesses, to find colleague teams that fill these gaps. Our unified effort has identified common grounds across our disciplines that vary from solar, magnetospheric and heliospheric, to galactic or cosmologically driven curiosities. These common grounds are found in the high performance computing approaches, in the challenges we face to confront models with observations, and in the most enigmatic aspects of the physical processes at work. The latter include a network-wide research theme on turbulence and particle acceleration aspects, found in magnetospheric, solar wind, molecular clouds and intergalactic scenarios alike. At the same time, we set forth to cross-fertilize astrophysical models focusing on vastly different scales, through improved treatments of the radiative-dynamical feedback loop. Another challenge joins our most pressing questions in space plasmas, where the presence of charged constituents requires to recognize fully the interplay between global magnetohydrodynamic and phase-space based kinetic physics. Direct intercomparisons as well as novel coupling strategies must lead to breakthroughs in our understanding of reconnection events, at play in solar atmospheric, interplanetary to Earth’s near space environment. Our network will make use of the latest opportunities brought about by the unique armada of space instruments monitoring our Sun and the heliosphere. It will likewise hook into state-of-the-art international consortium efforts to unravel galaxy evolution questions, that are on the horizon thanks to simulation and software engineering efforts like the EAGLE cosmological hydro challenge or the AMUSE code coupling framework. This new consortium of seven partner teams also provides an excellent opportunity for training a new generation of researchers and all teams contribute to the CHARM of our network.



The participating research teams are Centre for mathematical Plasma Astrophysics at KU Leuven, Astronomical Observatory at UGent,  Fluid and plasma dynamics Research Unit at ULB, Solar Physics Research Department of the Royal Observatory of Belgium, Solar Wind Research Unit of the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, Computational Astrophysics at Leiden University, Institute for Computational Cosmology at Durham University.

A picture taken at the CHARM kickoff event on 8-9 October 2012 shows the people involved.