Michael Kosch

Michael Kosch
"Mysteries in the Sky - Artificial Auroras and Black Auroras"


Chief Scientist – South African National Space Agency
Extraordinary Professor – University of Western Cape, South Africa
Professor of Experimental Space Science – Lancaster University, UK
Director – EnviroVision Solutions, South Africa


Michael Kosch achieved his BSc Electronic Engineering in 1984 and PhD in Space Physics in 1991 at University of Natal, Durban, South Africa. 1985 he spent a winter at the SANAE Antarctic research station. 1991-2000 he worked at the Max-Planck Institute for Aeronomy in Germany, first as a postdoc then as a researcher. 2001-2010 he worked at Lancaster University in the UK, first as a lecture and then as professor of Experimental Space Science. 2011-2013 he was faculty Research Dean at Lancaster University. 2011 he became a Director of EnviroVision Solutions, a company with over 100 employees that performs remote fire detection using camera systems. He has held research fellowships and worked in Australia (LaTrobe), twice Japan (Nagoya and NIPR), twice USA (AFRL) as well as many research visits to Alaska and Norway. 2016 he visited South Pole station to deploy a Scanning Doppler Imager there. Since 2014, he is the Chief Scientist at the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) space science division. He has organised 8 international conferences and published over 120 peer-reviewed papers. To support the research he operates 2 optical observatories in Norway, 1 in South Africa and has assembled many bespoke optical instruments.

Research Interests

His research has focussed mainly on auroral physics and the electrodynamics of the polar upper-atmosphere, mainly using night-vision optics and radars, as well as experimental plasma physics using high-power radio waves beamed into the ionosphere as a natural laboratory. He has led many experiments at major international facilities, e.g. EISCAT in Scandinavia, HAARP in Alaska and Sura in Russia.