Dr. Martin Connors
Canada Research Chair in Space Science
Research in the general areas of Space Science, Instrumentation and Networking is carried on under a Canada Research Chair of the same name. Space Science includes activities in both Space Physics and Astronomy. In the former, the main thrust historically has been use of ground magnetic data to interpret electric currents of near-Earth space, and in particular those associated with auroras (northern lights). This has also necessitated running networks of ground magnetometers to detect changing magnetic fields. These instruments, of which we have developed our own low-cost versions, are connected in networks to gather data from all over North America. We have also specialized in online observatories which allow us to measure light from auroras, and have a major new observatory under construction. In the area of Astronomy, most effort has gone into studies of asteroids associated with our own planet, Earth. Over the past decade we have identified several asteroids in Earth's orbit and "Earth plutinos" which are also in resonance. Most recently, the first "Earth Trojan" was discovered. A new telescope should go online soon to allow observational studies, including those of asteroids.
Innovative teaching methods are also targeted, especially for science areas. The large enrollments in Athabasca University Physics courses are partly able to be attributed to the pioneering development of home lab kits, allowing fully accredited study of Physics as a laboratory science done entirely at home. More recently, senior Physics courses (such as "Vibrations and Waves") have been put in place using Open Courseware. In 2009-2010, in teaching at UCLA as a visiting professor, effective ways to use online resources to support classroom teaching were explored.
Updated March 06 2015 by FST Technical Staff