Solar Physics and Space Weather
Peter received a BSc (HONS) in physics and mathematics from University College Dublin in 1995, followed by an MSc (Distinction) in optoelectronics and image processing in 1996 and a PhD in astrophysics in 1999 from Queen's University Belfast. He then spent nearly six years in the US, firstly as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Big Bear Solar Observatory in California and then as a Scientist and Senior Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Dr. Gallagher is a Member of the Institute of Physics (MInstP), a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS), a Member of the American Astronomical Society and a Member of the Royal Irish Academy's Astronomy and Space Research Committee. He is an elected member of ESA's Solar System Working Group, which is responsible for ESA mission evaluation for 2015-2025.
Dr. Gallagher's research focuses on understanding the fundamental physics involved in the generation, storage and release of energy in the solar surface and atmosphere. He has a long association with ESA and NASA missions, such as SOHO, RHESSI, TRACE, Hinode and STEREO, and is Co-I for the SWAP (Sun Watcher using Active Pixel System detector and Image Processing) instrument on ESA's PROBA2 satellite, which will be launched in September 2009.
Peter is interested in image and signal processing techniques and their application to problems in solar physics. A number of his recent papers have focussed on the use of multiscale and multifractal methods in solar feature identification and characterisation. He is a founding member of the Solar Image Processing Workshop (SIPWork) series and the creator and developer of SolarMonitor.org. The solar group was recently part of a consortium awarded EUR 3.1M to develop a novel web-service oriented infrastructure called HELIO (Heliophysics Integrated Observatory). HELIO will enable scientists to study the physics of the heliosphere using a broad spectrum of data and models from a diverse range of traditionally disconnected domains, ranging from solar physics to Earth science.
Since joining TCD in 2006, the solar team have been awarded funding from the EC, ESA/PRODEX, SFI, IRCSET, and the RIA.