SANSA: Solar Physics Bursaries 2022 / 2023

South African National Space Agency (SANSA) invites student to apply for Solar Physics and Space Weather Forecasting Bursary Programme 2023 academic year.

Bursary Application Closing Date: 30 May 2022

Scope of our projects:
How active can the sun be?

Activity on the Sun has a direct influence on thexvzspace environment near the Earth. We have been actively measuring solar activity throughout the space age, i.e. starting in the late 1970s. Some indicators of solar activity, such as sunspots, have been measured for hundreds of years. Those records show long stretches of very low activity, and some periods of high activity. The natural question is: “What are the limits of solar activity?” Using observations from the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS), we can assemble a hyperspectral image of the Sun.

Every pixel in the image has a spectrum, and can be correlated to magnetic field information from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). What would a theoretical Sun composed of all quiet pixels do to the Earth environment? Perhaps more importantly, what is the maximum activity level of the Sun, and how would it impact space weather?

How does hydrogen emission from the Sun change over the solar cycle?

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, and it makes the brightest emission line in the solar spectrum.

The shape of the line is determined by conditions in the outer atmosphere of the Sun, which change on both long and short time-scales. The goal of this project is to see how the shape of one particular hydrogen line changes from year to year as the Sun becomes more active, and to correlate these changes to other indicators of solar activity.

Bursary criteria

The main criteria used in the selection of successful applicants are financial need, academic potential and career-oriented study programmes.

Please note the following:

  • An application will only be considered if it has been completed properly and in full.
  • Documents that accompany the application form must be uploaded and certified.
  • Testimonial form must be completed by the supervisor and uploaded to the application form.

For the 2022 academic year successful applicants will receive bursaries with values as stated below:

  • Hons – R100 000 (one year).
  • Masters – R120 000 per year for two years.
  • PhD – R140 000 per year for three years.

Applicants may not hold a combination of bursaries that exceed these amounts. Should an applicant have another bursary of lessor amount, SANSA will consider providing a top-up amount to the student provided the student meets the criteria mentioned above.

Support for continuing years is not guaranteed and will depend on satisfactory progress during the previous year.

How to apply

Apply online at:

The completed application must be submitted no later than 30 May 2022  if you want to be considered for a bursary for 2022.

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