Space Weather Euro News Vol.4 Issue 2 (07-01-2000)

Table of Contents:
1. Effect of leap seconds on space physics coordinate
2. IRInfo No. 18
3. Some ESA Tender Actions
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1. Effect of leap seconds on space physics coordinate
From: Mike Hapgood           E-mail:

I enclose below a copy of a questionaire from an URSI Commission J Working
Group that is investigating the future use of leap seconds in the definition
of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). This issue may be of interest to many
in the space physics community because it impacts on the co-ordinate
transformations that we use. This arises because Universal Time (UT1) is a
measure of the spin phase of the Earth. Thus it is a key factor in
transformations from inertial co-ordinates (as used to represent spacecraft
orbits) to co-ordinate systems spinning with the Earth, e.g. geocentric and
geodetic co-ordinates plus any system based on the geomagnetic dipole - such
as geocentric-solar-magnetospheric and solar-magnetic co-ordinates. (But
note that it does not impact on the transformations from inertial
co-ordinates to geocentric-solar-ecliptic coordinates.)

Leap seconds are used to keep UTC (based on atomic clocks) within 0.9
seconds of UT1 (measured from the spin phase of the Earth). Given that the
Earth rotates by 13.5 seconds of arc in 0.9 seconds, the difference between
UT1 and UTC amounts to a spin phase error of less than 6.5e-5 radians, which
is equivalent to a position error of less than 3 km at geosynchronous orbit.
Thus we have been able to neglect the difference between UTC and UT1, and
substitute UTC for UT1 in space physics co-ordinate transformations.

If use of leap seconds were to cease (and there may be significant pressure
for this because leap seconds cause problems for important applications such
as global positioning systems), the difference between UTC and UT1 would
then increase at about 0.7 seconds per year. Thus the space physics
community would gradually need to include the correction from UTC to UT1 in
its co-ordinate transformations.

If you wish to comment on this issue, please complete the questionnaire
below and return it to the Demetrios Matsakis at the US Naval Observatory
(address at end of questionnaire).

For those of you who wish just to monitor this issue, I have included (and
will update as appropriate) details on my space physics co-ordinate
transformations web site
Questionnaire from an URSI Commission J Working Group

  Dear Project Manager or Scientist,

  It is being proposed to change the definition of Coordinated Universal
  Time (UTC) regarding the insertion of leap-seconds, possibly even
  eliminating their use.  The issue has been discussed in several
  timekeeping forums, and published in the Innovations Section of the
  November, 1999 issue of GPS World.

  Leap seconds are introduced so as to keep UTC synchronized (within 0.9 s)
  to the time scale determined from the Earth's rotation.  Should no new
  leap seconds be inserted, solar time will diverge from atomic time at
  the rate of about 2 seconds every 3 years, and after about a century
  |UT1-UTC| would exceed 1 minute.  Although no fundamental problems are
  anticipated, it is very likely that Y2K-like problems may result in
  software that assumes UT1=UTC, or |UT1-UTC|< some value, or whose
  input/output records use a field size that can only accommodate
  |UT1-UTC| values up to one second.
  To gather information, an URSI Commission J Working Group was formed,
  consisting of Don Backer, Wim. N. Brouw, Barry Clark, Irwin Shapiro,
  Ir. E. Van Lil, and myself.
  We would like to ask you to consult with the members of your institute
  who currently deal with UT1-UTC, and give us a considered response to
  the following two questions:
  A. If the appropriate international bodies decide to eliminate the
  insertion of new leap seconds, would you foresee any practical problems
  for your institution/instrument/observations?
       no  ____

    *  yes ___
    *  possibly ____
       (* please explain any known or possible problems, but if posible
          try to answer in ascii text instead of an attachment)
  B. Would you be in favor of such a proposal?
       yes ____
       no  ____
       indifferent ___

       have better idea ___
       (feel free to comment)

  C. Is there anyone else you would recommend we contact?
      (feel free to forward this email directly)
  I would appreciate your assistance, and a response by January 15 to

  This questionnaire was first sent to the URSII national representatives,
  a list of 931 astronomical institutions maintained by the American
  Astronomical Society, and 125 prominent scientists.  It has since sent
  sent to several mailing lists associated with Earth rotation.  I would
  like to apologize to anyone contacted twice, but also appreciate it if
  you would forward this email to anyone we may have missed.  We will
  tabulate all responses, and are particularly interested in quantitative
  estimates from people whose systems can not easily accommodate the change.

  Technology permitting, I will also email the report to all who have

  Demetrios Matsakis
  Dr. Demetrios N. Matsakis            Director, Time Service Department
  (202) 762-1587  DSN 762-1587         U. S. Naval Observatory
  FAX (202) 762-1511                   3450 Massachusetts Avenue NW              Washington DC, USA  20392-5420

2. IRInfo No. 18
From: Dieter Bilitza        E-mail:

           *** International Reference Ionosphere ***
                             ***IRInfo No. 18 ***
                                 January 5, 2000
1) CALL FOR PAPERS: COSPAR Session on Modeling the Topside
Ionosphere and Plasmasphere

CALL FOR PAPERS: COSPAR Session on Modeling the Topside
Ionosphere and Plasmasphere

33rd COSPAR Scientific Assembly  Warsaw, Poland, 16-23 July 2000

Abstract deadline: 10 January 2000 (please send copy to the main
scientific organizer)

Session Number: C4.1/D3.9 (currently scheduled for Tuesday and
Wednesday of the COSPAR week)

Session Description: This is a joint meeting of COSPAR Commissions C
and D. The meeting is organized by the URSI/COSPAR Working Group on
the International Reference Ionosphere (IRI). The objective is to review the
status of topside and plasmaspheric modeling and to establish improved
models for inclusion in IRI. Empirical and theoretical papers are welcome.
We will also accept papers that deal with improvements of IRI parameters
in areas other than the topside/plasmasphere. The organizing team strongly
encourages contributions that describe applications of the IRI model. The
session will include solicited, contributed and poster papers.

Main Scientific Organizer: Dr. Dieter Bilitza  National Space Science Data
Center  GSFC/Raytheon ITSS  Code 632  Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
phone: (301) 286-0190  FAX: (301) 286-1771  Email:

Deputy Organizer: Dr. Iwona Stanislawska  Space Research Centre of
Polish Academy of Sciences  00-716 Warsaw  Ul.Bartycka 18a  POLAND
tel: +(48) (22) 8403766 ext. 381  fax: +(48) 39 121273  e-mail:

Organizing Committee: I. Stanislawska, D. Bilitza, B. Reinisch, K. Oyama,
K. Rawer

 2) C-version of IRI

We thank Ari Edinburg (MSc Electronic Engineering, Software Now cc,
Johannesburg, South Africa) for submitting a new C-code version of IRI.
The files are available from the IRI ftp site at in
directory models/ionospheric/iri/iri95/c_code/Dec_99/.

3. Some ESA Tender Actions

For more information and the complete list of ESA Tender Actions
please look at:

Note: This newsletter is an initiative of the ESA Space Systems Environment Analysis Section
and is intended to establish a prototype of a potential
mailing list or forum with news of interest for the Space
Weather community in Europe.

- SWEN contact group (which keeps SWEN informed of news coming from
  other channels)is currently:

 Eamonn Daly, ESA (excluding science programme)
 Richard Marsden, ESA science programme
 Maurizio Candidi, CNR
 Paul Cannon, URSI-Commission G
 Mike Hapgood,  EGS
 Hannu Koskinen, SCOSTEP working group on Space weather
 Pierre Lantos, ISES
 Henrik Lundstedt, Lund space weather center
 Goetz Paschmann, ISSI
 Jean-Yves Prado, CNES-ONERA working group on space weather
 Michael Rycroft, ISU
 Volker Bothmer, EGS-Solar Physics Secretary
 Wolfgang Baumjohann, MPE-German Representative

- SWEN archives are also available on:    

- Please direct all replies and submissions to the
newsletter to:

- To subscribe to the newsletter send your email address

- Please update your e-mail address if it has been
changed.  Please send both your new and old e-mail
address to the editor for easier updating of your file.

We are looking forward to receiving your inputs.

The SWEN editor

Alain Hilgers



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