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Research development

List of focus areas of the research activities/important engineering and technical projects of the StrAU

  • Research of high energy astrophysical objects and evolutionary processes in the Universe describes research and solutions in a number of topical issues of modern astrophysics and cosmology, including description of the evolution and formation of stars, galaxies, clusters of galaxies; high-energy astrophysics (neutron stars, supermassive black holes, gamma-ray bursts); dark matter and dark energy; cosmological models of the evolution of the Universe. International cooperation with space orbital observatories (INTEGRAL, SWIFT, PLANCK) on optical identification of X-ray sources, supermassive black holes, clusters of galaxies. Ground-based support of Russian-German orbital observatory Spectrum-RG with 1.5 m telescope RTT-150.  SRG is planned to be launched in 2017.

The project’s goals correspond to the topical research issues in astrophysics and cosmology that is proved by participation of world-class scholars in the program (Alexei Starobinsky, Rashid Sunyaev).

In general, the priority research area of high energy astrophysical objects and evolutionary processes of the Universe is divided into the following areas of research:

А) Complex theoretical research of evolution and structure of the Universe.

The main partners are Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow), Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (Barcelona, Spain), University of Tours (France), Nagoya University (Nagoya, Japan).

B) High energy astrophysics, Hidden mass in the Universe, Asteroid hazard.

The main partners are Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow), Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (Munich, Germany), Institute d’Astrophysique Spatiale (Paris, France).

C) Monitoring of galactic and extragalactic active objects (microquasars and active nuclei of galaxies) in a radio-range frequency. Such measurements are carried out by research staff and doctoral students at a basic KFU department in SAO RAS with the use of a radiotelescope RATAN-600. Support of cosmic radio interferometer “RADIOASTRON”, studies of discrete radio sources within the research project of microwave background (relict) radiation at PLANCK observatory, joint programs RATAN-600, Fermi, AGILE, LOFAR and other cosmic and terrestrial telescopes.

  • Complex monitoring of the fleeting space processes to ensure the safety of life and equipment performance on Earth and in Space (MMT, RTT-150, meteoric radar): control of Near-Earth Space; analysis of Solar-Terrestrial relationships; Asteroid and meteoroid hazard.

А) Development of physical models of meteors in atmosphere of the Earth (that is decisive for interpretation of observation data of meteors); analysis of dynamics and forecasting of meteoroid matter evolution in the Solar system; development of genetic relationships models between meteor complexes, comets and asteroids including the ones crossing the Earth’s orbit; studies of the dynamics and evolution of meteoroids and their parent bodies in the context of gravitational excitation from planets (that, in general, will let analyze contribution of gravitational potential of planets and, in particular, of certain planets).

B) Wide-angle optical monitoring of the celestial sphere is aimed at control of near-Earth space, detection and research of the dynamics of artificial objects – satellites, space debris, identification and research of small objects of the Solar system dangerous for human civilization. Search and studies of objects and phenomena in near space and outer space in optical spectrum, non-stationary objects and phenomena of galactic and extragalactic localization (variable and flare stars, new and supernova stars, gravitational lensing, occultation of stars by planets, active nuclei of galactic and quasars, bursts of high-energy radiation) are to be implemented, too.

  • Formation and development of distributed systems of near and deep space monitoring, including platform elements of microsatellite basing: systems of land monitoring of relict radiation; the phased antenna array for a radiointerferometry with a long base; systems of distributed optical astronomy; systems of multispectral photo and video filming; systems of radar, radio-navigational and radio-astronomical supervision; systems of a laser ranging.

A) Formation of a radio measuring complex on detection and supervision of relict recombination lines in the range of 1-6 GHz. Such research is not conducted in the Russian Federation. It is only planned in a number of astronomical establishments abroad. It will be a joint project with SAO RAS. It is planned to develop sets and antenna systems on a low-cost basis (not less than 10), to investigate their opportunities, to carry out the search for funding for the system creation on the basis of Russian and foreign grants. These are pioneer works; they will have a big international resonance.

B) The prototypes of antennas for the interferometric supervision with a long base. Development of cryptographic connection models; research of generation and distribution of cryptographic keys based on physical properties of multipath wave propagation

  • Formation of a highly precise selenocentric navigation network for its use in the navigation system GLONASS for the solution of astronavigation problems: completion of tasks in the sphere of physical planetary libration; creation of a selenocentric navigation network. The aim of the project is to create a selenocentric navigation system which includes the following main interconnected components: the coordinate navigation network covering the Moon surface to the best advantage, the model of a mega relief and characteristics of the Moon physical libration, in the light of its internal structure.
  • Application of space activity results.

А) Space geodesy. Application of tools and methods of space geodesy (GNSS, SLR, VLBI, and other measuring systems) for implementation of theoretical and applied studies in the field of geodesy, cartography, and navigation, geographical dynamics, and geophysics, meteorology, and oceanology.

Partners: Institute of Applied Astronomy RAS (Saint Petersburg) Dynamic Meteorology Laboratory of Ecole Polytechnique (Paris, France).

Expected outcomes: Models of the local and regional movements of an earth surface in active oil production districts. Models of atmosphere humidity and its pollutions in conditions of active technogenic influence. Snow cover characteristics and humidity of soils being determined by re-reflected signals from satellite systems. Estimation of global weather changes based on the GNSS data.

B) Integral ecological assessment and mapping of territories of Russia based on materials of remote sensing of the Earth from space. The project solves the following issues: Assessment of dynamics of land use in different regions of Russia; mapping and monitoring of complex of erosion processes on agricultural lands of Russia being a primary factor of accelerated degradation of a soil covering and reduction of crop yield; mapping, monitoring, assessment, and prognosis of exogenous natural hazards ( landslides, abrasion, karsts, etc.).

Establishment of partner relationship in these directions either exists already or is planned with the following organizations: The Space Research Institute of the RAS, Institute of Geography of the RAS, Moscow State University, Perm University, Belgorod University, University of Palermo (Sicily, Italy); Division of Geography and Tourism, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences of the KU Leuven (Leuven, Belgium); Department of Geography of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).

C) Space technologies in the development of territories management. Construction of a system of expeditious monitoring of the impact of unfavourable and extraordinary situations on socio-economic development and quality of life of the population of territories using space methods and technologies for the purpose of public municipal administration efficiency increase.

D) Information support of the space activities. Data processing methods for supercomputer simulation of space activities will be developed. Among these methods are: development of the mechanisms of interaction between high speed cosmic bodies and surface of Moon, Earth and planets; search and investigation of endogenous activity areas of the Moon territory based on the data from high-resolution satellite imagery; development of perspective tasks and formulation of recommendations for upcoming Russian lunar missions. In order to provide these activities a separate OpenLab will be established. The OpenLab will work in close cooperation with RAS Institute of Oil and Gas Problems, RAS Space Research Institute, National University of Córdoba, etc.


Professional development for faculty members participating in research activities

  • Implementation of grant programs and academic exchange programs with world leading universities and research centres. StrAU’s staff training in Stanford University (USA), National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Shanghai Astronomical Observatory (China), Royal Observatory, Greenwich (UK), Faculty of Geoinformatics of the Munich University of Applied Sciences (Germany), etc. (min 10 annually);
  • Implementation of measures on attracting young researchers and staff from international and Russian universities and research centres on competition basis to take part in youth schools, large-scale international conferences and seminars held at KFU, distance learning programs, etc. (min 20 annually);
  • Participation in international, local, regional and university’s academic mobility programs and in professional training programs for KFU’s research and teaching staff (min. 70 annually). Inviting 10 outstanding scientists with h-index > 7 and 7 researchers with h-index>30 to take part in joint research activities conducted by StrAU. Establishing laboratories for outstanding world class scientists.
  • Creation of a financial support program for talented research trainees and young research and teaching staff. Provision of favourable social conditions for life and work (subsidized mortgage loans, guesthouse in Engelhardt Astronomical Observatory, etc.);
  • Improvement of professional language competencies of KFU research and teaching staff.

Other results and measures to develop the research activities of the StrAU

  • Establishment of joint Research and Academic Centre. Establishment of joint Research and Academic Centre with National Astronomical Observatory of Japan which will be aimed at implementation of joint Russian-Japanese projects in the field of space research.
  • Cooperation between KFU and SAO RAS. Design of new academic programmes of training of the StrAU students and increasing of academic and staff mobility.
  • Implementation of joint academic program KFU-National Instruments. Development of student and staff academic mobility programs and implementation of international research grants.
  •  Collaboration with Ruselectronics. In the framework of implementation of StrAU’s new academic programs in radiophysics, an academic centre for training specialists in radiophysics and radioelectronicsis to be established. The centre provides arrangement of practical training for students and PhD students at the enterprises being a part of Ruselectronics holding (State Corporation Rostec).