MIST

Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial

Latest news

New MIST Chair and Vice-Chair elected

Congratulations to John Coxon on becoming MIST Chair, and to Jasmine Sandhu on becoming MIST Vice-chair in a unanimous vote at a Council meeting last week.
 
MIST Council elects a new Chair whenever the previous Chair steps down, and in addition this year, the council has decided to elect a Vice-Chair for the first time.
 
On behalf of the MIST community, we would like to thank Ian McCrea for doing a superb job as Chair during his tenure on the Council.

EGU elections now open

The call for candidates for the EGU 2019 elections is currently open, with a deadline of 15 September 2019. The following roles are up for election: Union President, General Secretary, and the Division Presidents. More details about these roles and how you can nominate yourselves/colleagues can be found on the EGU website. 
 
MIST Council would like to emphasise that this is an excellent opportunity to contribute to and shape the field on an international scale, and we hope to see members from the MIST community putting themselves forward.

Summer Science Exhibition 2020

The Royal Society is currently accepting proposals for the Summer Science Exhibition 2020, and the deadline for proposals is 10 September 2019. Further details on applying can be found here.
 
MIST Council would like to highlight that this is an excellent opportunity for cross-institutional collaborations! The MIST community is involved in a number of projects with a particularly timely aspect (e.g. Solar Orbiter and SMILE), which would be very appropriate to propose to the Royal Society. If you are currently preparing a proposal that you are happy to invite community members to join or you have an idea for a proposal that you would like to work with the community on, then please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a short outline by 9 August 2019. We hope to then share these projects with the community to build support for the proposals and involve the wider community!
 
We will be discussing this further and sharing ideas on the #public-engagement channel on the MIST Slack workspace. If you aren’t on the MIST Slack workspace then click here for details.

2019 Rishbeth prize winners announced

We are pleased to announce that the Rishbeth Prizes this year are awarded to Affelia Wibisono and Michaela Mooney , both of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (UCL).
 
Affelia Wibisono wins the prize for the best MIST student talk, entitled “Jupiter’s X-ray Aurorae as seen by XMM-Newton concurrently with Juno”. Michaela wins the best MIST poster prize, for a poster entitled “Evaluating auroral forecasts against satellite observations”.
 
MIST Council would like to congratulate both Affelia and Michaela. As prize winners, Affelia and Michaela have been invited to write articles for Astronomy & Geophysics, which we look forward to reading.

Call for MIST/GEM Liaisons

There is a potential opening for a member of the MIST community to act as a liaison with the GEM (Geospace Environment Modelling) group. This will be an opportunity to act as a representative of the UK MIST community and inform GEM about relevant activities within the MIST community.

GEM liaisons will typically have the following responsibilities:

  1. Attend​​ a preponderance ​​of ​​GEM Steering ​​Committee ​​meetings​ ​at ​​summer​ ​workshop and​ ​mini-GEM​ ​​(June​ ​and​ ​December)
  2. Provide​​ written​​ annual​​ report​​ to​​ GEM Communications ​​Coordinator​​​ (by ​​April)
  3. Help ​​recruit ​​new​ ​GEM Steering​ ​Committee ​​members ​​​(as ​​needed)
  4. Provide ​​feedback​​ from​​ the​​ MIST community ​​and​​ share​​ with the GEM Chair/Vice​ ​Chair​ ​​(ongoing)

At this stage we would like to welcome any expressions of interest for this role from the community. If you are interested in being a GEM Liaison, then please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. including up to 100 words detailing why you would like to be a liaison and how your experience equips you for this role, and how often you would be able to attend GEM meetings.

If you have any further questions or would like more information about what the role would entail then please get in touch!

Guidelines for summer school organisers

Typically, a summer school will start Monday morning and end Friday lunchtime with an afternoon off during the week. This gives 16 slots of 1.5 hours each. We propose that, in each school, 12 of these are filled with a ‘core’ curriculum, not including a ‘careers’ element which should be included in the Advanced School. This will leave some flexibility for course organisers to present topical lectures perhaps reflecting their own group’s activities, have hands-on activities and schedule student talks.

STFC’s own guidance reads: “Courses or schools must be held in a core research activity supported by the STFC studentships programme (astronomy, solar system science, particle astrophysics, particle physics, nuclear physics) and must be aimed primarily at STFC-funded PhD students. Courses of a specialist technical nature will not be supported.” Our schools therefore fall within this remit.

The organisers of each school need to put in an application to STFC about a year before the summer school. We strongly recommend contacting the previous organizers for information and advice. Please note that funding is increasingly competitive and is not guaranteed.

All bids must be contained within three pages and provide the following information:

  • the dates and venue of the proposed course or school
  • justification for the course or school, in terms of its relevance to the STFC studentships
    programme
  • the number of STFC PhD students who would benefit from the course or school
  • a detailed breakdown of the budget requested;-details of the proposed lectures and
    courses

Bids are normally to be submitted as an e-mail attachment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., by 1 October in the year before the summer school. The points of contact are Clare Heseltine and Susan Blackwell, and the relevant STFC contact page is here.

Suggested core lectures

Below are the suggested core lectures for each of the schools. Each lecture represents 1.5 hours with a small break in the middle.

Introductory Solar System Plasmas School (about 16 lectures in total)

  1. Introduction to Plasma Physics: gyration, drifts, plasma oscillations, EM waves in magnetised plasmas, elements of plasma kinetics.
  2. Introduction to MHD: MHD equations: applicability conditions, MHD equilibria, basic timescales and dimensionless parameters.
  3. Solar interior and helioseismology: Dynamo theory, differential rotation, global and local helio- seismology and its results.
  4. MHD Waves and Instabilities: Waves in uniform media, modes of a magnetic flux tube, basic macroscopic and microscopic instabilities.
  5. Magnetic reconnection: 2D reconnection (Petschek + Sweet-Parker), basic concepts of topology, diffusion regions and observational investigation.
  6. Introduction to the Solar Atmosphere: photosphere, chromosphere, TR, corona, heating, flares.
  7. CMEs, the Solar Wind and the Heliosphere: Basic solar wind models, basic structures, phenomenology of CMEs, MHD turbulence, heliopause.
  8. The Magnetosphere: basic topology, bow shock and magnetopause, magnetotail, plasmasphere, radiation belts, ring current, current systems, substorms and geomagnetic activity.
  9. The Ionosphere: formation and structure, ion-neutral coupling, vertical coupling, dynamics, energy dissipation, chemistry, auroral acceleration, conductivities and currents.
  10. The Mesosphere and Thermosphere
  11. Planetary plasma environments: giant planet magnetospheres, rapid rotation and M-I coupling, plasma transport, Dungey and Vasyliunas cycles, miniature and induced magnetospheres, comets.
  12. Solar variability and climate: solar irradiance effects, UV variability, stratospheric chemistry and dynamics, coupling to troposphere, effects of SEP and radiation belt particles, cosmic rays.

Advanced Solar-System Plasmas School (about 16 lectures in total)

  1. Overview of the Sun-Earth System and state-of-the-art observations: including quick overview of current missions and facilities
  2. Solar interior and helioseismology (more advanced topics)
  3. Dynamics of the Earth’s magnetosphere
  4. Split session: 
    1. Solar observations (UKSP students)
    2. Magnetosphere-Ionosphere-Thermosphere coupling and the aurora (MIST students)
  5. MHD and plasma waves: including coronal seismology
  6. MHD instabilities and reconnection
  7. Solar flares and activity
  8. CMEs, SEPs, solar wind and space weather
  9. Planetary magnetospheres: magnetic reconnection, upstream influences, ion pickup, Alfven wings, ionopause formation, induced tails, chemistry and coupling, plasma transport, stress balance
  10. Plasma turbulence
  11. Physics of particle acceleration
  12. Split session:
    1. Dynamo theory (UKSP students)
    2. Wave-particle interaction in the magnetosphere: including the radiation belt and ring current (MIST students)
  13. Career planning

Additional Lectures

In addition to the core content above, each School will have 3/4 slots to be decided by the host for extra topics, including hands-on/interactive activities, student presentations or posters (Advanced School only). As examples, such activities could include lectures focusing on specific techniques, facilities and models, data analysis or computing exercises, grant application tutorials, presentations on outreach and research impact or sessions focusing on the development of research skills. Organisers are recommended to consult MIST and UKSP Councils at an early stage in timetable preparation.

Selection of Lecturers

The primary requirement is of course that lecturers should be experts in the relevant field, who can present clear and interesting talks. Organisers should pay attention to balancing seniority and institutions of speakers, and especially to having an appropriate gender balance. In the interests of efficiency of lecture preparation, it may be helpful to “recycle” some (but not all) lecturers from previous schools to speak on the same topic. We also hope that all lecturers would be prepared to share their materials with successors.

Student feedback

Organisers are expected to collect feedback from students attending the Schools, a digest of which should be passed on to the organisers for the following year, as well as to UKSP and MIST Councils to aid future planning.