What is the International Heliophysical Year?



More than a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the International Geophysical Year (IGY), the International Heliophysical Year (IHY) planned for 2007 will be a program of coordinated research in the tradition of a long succession of international programs, of which the IGY is arguably the most famous. One might justifiably ask, “Yet another coordinated research program? Given all the others, what will IHY have to offer? Will it lead to better science or just more science?” To address these and other questions, nearly 60 scientists participated in the U.S. Planning Workshop for the IHY last April at the National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico.The workshop, organized into four working groups on the Sun, the heliosphere, magnetospheres and ionospheres, and atmospheres and climate, took up the challenge posed by these critical questions.