MIST

Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial

Latest news

New mailing list for Python in space science

A new mailing list for space scientists who use Python has been founded. Angeline Burrell writes: 

There's been a recent push for more community python development and peer-to-peer support. Much of this is focused in the US at the moment, but as the results of the recent survey showed, MIST scientists are active or interested in python as well. If you would like to become involved, you can join the email list by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The mailing list will comprise discussion as well as webinars/telecons from Python users, so the list should be useful for a range of abilities with Python. To join, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

New MIST forum via Slack

In the days of yesteryear, there was a MIST forum provided for members of the MIST community to discuss things in a fashion more immediate and informal than email. It has been some years since the fabled MIST forum was a going concern, and in that time, the MIST Council has technically been in violation of the MIST Charter, which states that

MIST will provide an on-line forum to allow ongoing discussions and the formulation of ideas prior to public dissemination. This forum will be private, visible only to registered members; membership is restricted to active MIST scientists and is offered at the discretion of MIST council chair.

As a result of realising that the Charter mandates the maintenance of a forum, MIST Council have chosen to create a Slack workspace for the MIST community. If you would like to join, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. specifying the email address you would like to use, and you will be invited to join.

MIST Council election results

The polls have closed, and Oliver Allanson (Reading) and John Coxon (Southampton) have been elected to MIST Council. The full results of 2018’s elections are as follows:

  • Oliver Allanson: 56 votes
  • John Coxon: 100 votes
  • Simon Pope: 27 votes
  • Samuel Wharton: 38 votes
  • Darren Wright: 40 votes

121 people cast two votes, and 19 cast a single vote, for a total of 140 responses. This is a turnout of 32.9% against the MIST mailing list, which comprises 426 eligible voters.

The chair of MIST Council, Ian McCrea, said:

I would like to congratulate John on his re-election to MIST Council and to congratulate Oliver on his election – we look forward to you joining us at our next meeting. To the unsuccessful candidates, I would like to say a sincere thank you for taking part and for your interest in being part of MIST Council. Obviously only two candidates can be successful in any given year, but there are elections every year and we hope that you will not be discouraged from standing again at a future date.

MIST Council would like to express their thanks and appreciation to Luke Barnard who is leaving MIST Council, and whose contributions over the last three years have been invaluable. We would also like to thank Q Stanley for handling the technical aspects of the election.

Astronomy/Solar System Advisory Panels call for priority projects

The Astronomy and Solar System Advisory Panels have been asked to identify a few priority projects, comprising 'large scale' (>£50M), ‘medium scale’ (£10-50M) and ‘small scale’ (<£10M) projects that can be started within the next 6 years. The outline business cases put forward by the community will be considered by STFC’s Executive Board and Science Board in September. We will then work with the community and UKRI to identify the best way of taking these ideas forward. 

Interested parties should summarize their ideas for priority projects using the template provided. Only those projects considered to be the most exciting and highest priority (by the Advisory Panels) will be asked to develop an outline business case. Please email your project summary to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Astronomy) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Solar System). If your project has overlap with both astronomy and solar system, then please indicate this in your summary and send to both panels. The deadline is Wednesday 18 July 2018. If you have any questions regarding remit, format or submission, please feel free to contact the relevant Advisory Panel.

Jonathan Eastwood wrote, in his email to the MIST mailing list:

STFC has launched a consultation with research communities, designed to identify new world class science and technology proposals for potential future investment. The aim is to develop an ambitious portfolio of outline business cases for priority projects that relate to our strategic scientific and research infrastructure objectives, covering our remit, and driven by our communities… the scope of the projects is very broad – what is needed are exciting and ambitious scientific projects within the broad remit of astronomy and solar system science. Funds for estates and campus development are out of scope, and projects should not be an uplift to the grant/fellowship lines. This exercise is not part of the Evaluation of Astronomy which STFC will undertake in the Autumn (part of its assessment of the wider astronomy, particle and nuclear physics programmes), but projects identified here will be forwarded to that exercise to ensure information is not lost.

MIST Council would like to urge members of the MIST community to engage with this exercise in order to make sure that MIST science is well-represented in STFC strategy in the future.

Petition to eliminate harassment and bullying

MIST council is committed to fostering an open and inclusive scientific environment.

Many people will have seen the recent reports of bullying and harassment in Universities are becoming more and more widespread. In one of many steps to highlight the need for these actions to stop, an open letter and petition has been prepared by members of the wider community, including faculty from Imperial, UCL, and other UK and international institutions. This cross-institute example underlines the importance of eliminating harassment and bullying from the university and research environments. If you wish to sign the petition, you can find it by clicking here.

Our community is a big part of the RAS, which has a Code of Conduct and a Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Policy that we must adhere to:

  1. Promoting an inclusive environment for all.
    2. Promoting equality of opportunity.
    3. Welcoming applications from all backgrounds.
    4. Supporting and developing careers for all.
    5. Recruiting and promoting staff based on merit, rather than absence or presence of underrepresented characteristics.

We would strongly encourage our community to continue to participate in eradicating these issues from our scientific and every day lives.

Announcement of Autumn MIST 2018

Autumn MIST will be held at the Geological Society (opposite the Royal Astronomical Society) at Burlington House, in London, on Friday 30 November 2018. The meeting will commence at 10:30 and will include a poster session, lightning talks, and oral sessions. The registration fee will be £20, and we can only accept on-the-door payments in cash. Although the meeting will start at 10:30, we will have access to the Lecture Theatre and Lower Library from 09:30. Tea and coffee will be provided during the poster session.

Abstract submissions

The theme of the meeting is The radiation belts at 60: Earth and beyond, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the discovery of Earth’s radiation belts by Explorer 1. Richard Horne (British Antarctic Survey) will be giving an invited talk on this topic entitled “The Van Allen Radiation Belts: Early History and Current Challenges”. Abstracts on this theme are particularly welcome, but are also welcome from all areas of MIST science.
 
Abstracts should be submitted by the end of Thursday 1 November, and can be submitted by clicking here. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you encounter any problems with the submission process.

Lightning talk submissions

This year we are accepting lightning talk submissions, which can be submitted in addition to abstracts. Lightning talks are short (up to 2 minutes) with a maximum of 1 presentation slide. This format is ideal for presenting new datasets, upcoming missions, analysis techniques, or public engagement projects. We emphasise that lightning talks should not be a poster advert.

Lightning talks can be submitted by clicking here and must also be received by the end of Thursday 1 November.

RAS discussion meeting on space weather monitoring at L1 and L5

A Royal Astronomical Society discussion meeting entitled "Transitioning Research and Instrument Expertise in Heliophysics into Space Weather Monitoring Capabilities at L1 and L5" is to be held at Burlington House on 8 March, convened by Richard Harrison (STFC), Jackie Davies (STFC), and Jonny Rae (MSSL). Registration will be handled by an Eventbrite link which will be available closer to the time of the meeting.

Read more: RAS discussion meeting on space weather monitoring at L1 and L5

EISCAT symposium 2019

The dates and location for the 2019 International EISCAT symposium have been announced. It will be held in 19–23 August 2019 at the University of Oulu, Finland. A radar summer school will be held in the preceding week, and a full announcement and website will follow soon.

Andrew Kavanagh writes:

Given that EISCAT 3D is scheduled to come on-line in 2021 this is a great opportunity to develop new collaborations, get up to speed on the science EISCAT can facilitate (including E3D), and give students/postdocs a head start in working with the new system.

EISCAT has put together some cartoons showing how EISCAT 3D will operate under different scenarios including simultaneous multi-user experiments. Check out these illustrations of the beam switch timing and ability to switch between modes on the order of a second!

RAS discussion meeting on planetary astronomy with H3+

An RAS Specialist Discussion meeting entitled "30 Years of Planetary Astronomy with H3+" will be held on 14 December 2018 at the Royal Astronomical Society at Burlington House. This meeting is co-convened by Steve Miller (UCL) and Nick Achilleos (UCL).

Confirmed speakers include the co-convenors, alongside Sarah Badman (Lancaster), Marina Galand (ICSTM), Jean-Pierre Maillard (Observatoire de Paris), Henrik Melin (Leicester), Renee Prange (LESIA), Licia Ray (Lancaster) and Tom Stallard (Leicester). Talk and poster abstracts are welcome, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The RAS listing for the meeting is available here and the meeting abstract is as follows:

2018 marks the 30th anniversary of the serendipitous discovery of the H3+ molecular ion in Jupiter’s northern aurora. The discovery itself was the result of an impromptu collaboration between astronomical observers, telescope instrument builders, laboratory spectroscopists and molecular physicists. H3+ emission has subsequently been detected from Saturn and Uranus, of the Solar System’s giant planets, but not Neptune. As an energetic and reactive molecular ion, H3+ is now used as a tracer for energy inputs, via particle precipitation, into giant planets’ atmospheres from their enormous magnetospheres: variations in emission levels are used to monitor both shorter-term magnetospheric dynamics, caused by changes in internal (plasma density) and external (solar wind dynamic pressure) factors, and longer-term changes that may result from the solar cycle and seasonal changes in solar irradiation. The final results from Cassini – particularly the VIMS instrument – and new measurements from JUNO mean that there is a wealth of data to add to and complement that being generated from ground-based observations. All-in-all, there is a wealth of material to review and huge current interest in just how this simple molecular ion behaves and what it tells us about planets in our Solar System and beyond.

 
 

RAS discussion meeting on geomagnetic storms and substorms

“The Global Response of the Terrestrial Magnetosphere During Storms and Substorms” is an upcoming RAS discussion meeting to be held on 08 February 2019 at the Royal Astronomical Society at Burlington House. This meeting will include keynote talks from Mona Kessel (NASA/GSFC) and Elena Kronberg (Max-Planck Institute for Solar System Research).

If you are interested in attending, you can visit the page for the meeting on the RAS's website, and if you would like to submit an abstract there is an online submission form. The deadline for abstract submission is 7 December 2018 (just after Autumn MIST).

The meeting is co-convened by Jasmine Sandhu (MSSL/UCL), Hayley Allison (BAS/Cambridge), Maria-Theresia Walach (Lancaster) and Clare Watt (Reading), and the the description of the meeting is as follows:

The magnetosphere is a highly variable environment, and the occurrence of storms and substorms result in the dramatic reconfiguration and redistribution of energy within the system. Understanding the conditions under which these events take place, the response of the magnetosphere, and the causes of the high variability observed is an area of active research.

This meeting aims to further our understanding of how internal and external factors combine to shape the global structure of the magnetosphere and the plasma stored therein during active times. We aim to integrate our collective knowledge of global changes in the magnetic field structure and of plasma behaviour across a wide range of energies, from cold plasmaspheric plasma through to the high energy populations in the plasma sheet, ring current, and outer radiation belt. In addition to bringing together observations from throughout the magnetosphere and ionosphere (e.g., Van Allen, Cluster, and the SuperDARN network), new modelling and simulation results will also provide insight into the response of the terrestrial magnetosphere to a wide range of geomagnetic activity.