STEREO Heliospheric Imager team win RAS geophysics award
10 Jan 2020



The Royal Astronomical Society has announced that the RAL Space group responsible for the Heliospheric Imagers (HI) on board NASA’s STEREO mission are to be awarded the 2020 Group Achievement Award.


​​​Award winners Prof Richard Harrison and Dr Jackie Davies, part of the HI team

Credit: RAL Space

The award recognises achievement​ by a large consortium in geophysics and has been awarded to the HI team for the entirely new perspective the instruments have given on the heliosphere and space weather.

The team is led by Principal Investigator Professor Richard Harrison at RAL Space, and has produced over 300 refereed papers, 15 PhD theses from the UK and Ireland, and an active citizen science project for solar storm detection.

Professor Richard Harrison said, “The STEREO Heliospheric Imager instruments have been ground-breaking, providing us with an unprecedented view of the impacts of solar activity on the heliosphere and on Earth. I am immensely proud of the UK teams that built and now operate these novel instruments. The operations team serves a large national and international science and space weather community on a daily basis and I am delighted that this award recognises the work of everyone on that team."

Launched in 2006, STEREO consists of a pair of identical spacecraft orbiting the Sun, each moving slightly faster or slower than the Earth, resulting in a unique stereoscopic view.

The Royal Astronomical Society citation for the team stated, “The Heliospheric Imager team have provided outstanding service by contributing tools, assistance and bespoke data products to facilitate rapid scientific progress, with their vital space-weather data and expertise in great demand."

​Professor Mike Cruise, President of the Royal Astronomical Society, said, “The RAS awards recognise the achievements of an extraordinarily talented group of people from the UK and across the globe. In this special bicentenary year, we're continuing our longstanding tradition of honouring the very best researchers, those who rise to the challenge of engaging the wider public with our science, and those who make our science possible with their behind the scenes service. Congratulations to all the winners!"

This is the second year in a row that a RAL Space team has been awarded the prestigious Geophysics Group Achievement award, with the team behind the Cluster space mission receiving the accolade in 2019.

Read the Royal Astonomical Society announcement.

Read the full citation for the HI team. 

The team behind the Heliosperic Imagers are:

Principal Investigator – Professor Richard Harrison (RAL)

Project Scientist – Dr Jackie Davies (RAL)

Instrument Manager – Dr Chris Eyles (RAL/Uni Birmingham)

Data/Calibration Scientist – Dr James Tappin (RAL)

Support Scientist – Dr David Barnes (RAL)

Data/Software Manager – Steve Crothers (RAL)

UKSSDC Manager – Matthew Wild (RAL)


Former team members and their current locations:

Professor Chris Scott, University of Reading

Dr Danielle Bewsher, University of Central Lancashire

Dr Dan Brown, University of Central Lancashire