MIST

Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial

Latest news

Outcome of SSAP priority project review

From the MIST mailing list:

We are writing to convey the outcome of this year’s priority project “light touch” review, specifically with reference to those projects within the remit of SSAP. We would like to thank all the PIs that originally submitted ideas, and those who provided updates to their projects over the summer. SSAP strongly believe that all the projects submitted are underpinned by strong scientific drivers in the SSAP area.

The “light touch” review was undertaken with a unified approach by SSAP and AAP, considering factors that have led to priority project development (in STFC or other research councils) or new funding for priority projects (1/51 projects in the STFC remit) in the last 12 months. After careful discussion, it was agreed by SSAP and AAP not to select any project where the remit clearly overlaps with UKSA (i.e. space missions or TRL 4+), reflecting STFC’s focus on ground-based observations, science exploitation and TRL 0-3 development. Whilst in no way reflecting the excellence of the science, or community scientific wishes, this approach has resulted in some changes to the list of SSAP priority projects. However, now, unlike at the time of the original call, it is clear that such projects cannot move forwards without UKSA (financial) support, and such funds are already committed according to UKSA’s existing programme. SSAP remain strongly supportive of mission-led science in solar-system exploration, so SSAP have strongly recommended that the high-level discussions between UKSA and STFC continue with a view to supporting a clear joint priority projects call in future, more naturally suited to mission and bi-lateral opportunities.

The priority projects (and PIs) identified by SSAP for 2019/20 are:

  • Solar Atmospheric Modelling Suite (Tony Arber)
  • LARES1: Laboratory Analysis for Research into Extra-terrestrial Samples (Monica Grady)
  • EST: European Solar Telescope (Sarah Matthews)

SSAP requested STFC continue to work with all three projects to expand their community reach and continue to develop the business cases for future (new) funding opportunities. In addition, SSAP have requested that STFC explore ways in which the concept of two projects—“ViCE: Virtual Centres of Excellence Programme / MSEMM Maximising Science Exploitation from Space Science Missions”—can be combined and, with community involvement, generate new funding for science exploitation and maximising scientific return in solar-system sciences. Initially this consultation will occur between SSAP and STFC.

We would like to thank the community again for its strong support, and rapid responses on very short timescales. A further “light touch” review will occur in 2020, with a new call for projects anticipated in 2021. SSAP continue to appreciate the unfamiliar approach a “call for proposals with no funding attached” causes to the community and are continuing to stress to STFC that the community would appreciate clearer guidance and longer timescales in future priority project calls.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Helen Fraser on behalf of SSAP

The Global Network for the Sustainability In Space (GNOSIS)

The Global Network for the Sustainability In Space (GNOSIS) is an STFC Network+ with the goal of helping researchers within the Particle, Nuclear and Astrophysics areas to engage with researchers from other research councils and industry to study the near Earth space environment. For more details, visit the GNOSIS website or see this issue of the GNOSIS newsletter.

Over the next few years we expect a large increase in the number of satellites in Earth orbit. This will lead to unprecedented levels of space traffic much of which will end as debris. The aim of this network is to understand the debris populations and its impact on space traffic management with a view to enabling a safer environment.

The free GNOSIS lunch event will be held on 18 November 2019 at the British Interplanetary Society at Vauxhall, London, with a video link to the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, to facilitate participation from across the UK. Tickets can be obtained here.

GNOSIS will be producing a programme of meetings for both space operations specialists and subject matter novices and will be able to support the development of collaborative ideas through project and part graduate student funding. Details of our first workshop will be announced in the next month.

If you are an academic with no direct experience but have knowledge of areas such as observations, data analysis, simulation or even law, then register your interest on our website. If you are a currently working in the space sector or if you are just interested in the aims and goals of the network please also register your interest and get involved.

SWIMMR: A £19.9M programme of the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund

Space Weather Instrumentation, Measurement, Modelling and Risk (SWIMMR) is a £19.9M programme of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Strategic Priorities Fund.

MIST would like draw the attention of the research community to the potential opportunities which will become available as a result of this programme, which received final approval from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in August. The programme will run from now until March 2023 and is aimed at improving the UK’s capabilities for space weather monitoring and prediction. UKRI’s Strategic Priorities Fund provides a means for linking research council investment to governmental research priorities, hence the areas being emphasised in the programme reflect space weather threats to critical infrastructure, as reflected in the UK national risk register.

The programme will be delivered jointly by the STFC and NERC, mainly through open grant calls, but including some elements of commissioned work to be delivered through open competitive tenders. The first calls are expected to appear during the coming weeks. More information about the programme is available through the RAL Space website, and is forthcoming from the NERC web site.

To mark the official launch of the programme and provide more details of the planned activities, a kick-off meeting is being held in the Wolfson Library of the Royal Society on Tuesday 26 November 2019, from 10:30. Pre-registration is required for this event and can be done using this link. We hope that many of you will be able to attend.

Representing the MIST Community in award nominations

MIST Council has recently launched an effort to create an award nominations task force with the following aims:

  1. Actively contribute towards more equal representation and a diverse range of nominees for awards
  2. Recognise and promote the work of overlooked members of the community
  3. Provide a means for students and ECRs to gain experience in preparing an effective nomination package

The initial plan is to start by considering those awards given out by the Royal Astronomical Society. This is so there will be sufficient time to prepare nomination packages by the RAS deadline (July 2020), and the wide range of awards will allow us to consider the entire MIST community. The task force is spearheaded by Oliver Allanson, Jasmine Sandhu, and Maria-Theresia Walach.

This task force is inspired by Liz MacDonald, a heliophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Liz Macdonald organized the Nomination Task Force within AGU’s Space Physics and Aeronomy (SPA) section, which has been summarised in an article in Eos. We plan to work in a manner similar to that described in the article, as we believe that by having a community task force we will be able to achieve community-wide representation in a timely manner.

If you would like to be part of the task force then please sign-up using our Google Form by Friday 4th October. At this stage we are not soliciting for specific ideas for nominees. Instead we are seeking to gauge support and receive feedback. We would like to emphasise that all members of the MIST community are welcome, and indeed encouraged, to sign-up to to join this task force, from PhD student to Emeritus Professor.

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.

Strikes' impact on Autumn MIST

MIST Council appreciates that the following news will inconvenience some Autumn MIST attendees, but after much discussion, we feel that this is the best way to proceed to ensure a vibrant and constructive meeting.

There is a significant risk that Autumn MIST will not occur as scheduled. We recommend making travel arrangements as late as possible.

As some of you may already be aware, a few days ago the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) called strike action for 25 November–4 December, and Autumn MIST is scheduled for Friday 29 November.

If the UCU strike action has not been cancelled by 22 November, Autumn MIST will either be cancelled or rescheduled, pending the result of an advisory survey that will be circulated on that date.

Please note: UCU says "You should not take part in any action until you have joined UCU". Therefore, MIST Council recommends that non-UCU members do not participate in this strike action. For more information, visit the UCU website.

Autumn MIST programme and abstracts

Edit: Autumn MIST may be postponed, see our recent news item for details.

The programme and list of abstracts have been announced for the Autumn MIST meeting scheduled for Friday 29 November. Please note that we will not be providing paper copies on the day.

As a UK-based community meeting, we believe that it is important to accommodate all submissions, and that has been our philosophy when putting together the schedule. Therefore we have a busy schedule this year. We look forward to engaging with attendees both during and after the meeting, to discuss the planning of future meetings. Please note that we will be back in the larger Geology Society venue in 2020. The current plan is then to continue using Geology Society indefinitely.

For more information about Autumn MIST, see the initial meeting announcement.

 

UK Solar Orbiter Workshop 2020

The third UK Solar Orbiter Workshop will take place at the University of St Andrews between the 13–14 January 2020, just prior to the launch of Solar Orbiter in February 2020. Abstract submission is open and details of how to submit an abstract can be found on the meeting webpage. Registration for the meeting will open shortly, further details to follow. The chairs of the SOC are Duncan Mackay and Gherardo Valori.

Information on travel to St Andrews and possible options for accommodation in both hotels and B&B’s can be found here. We recommend booking of accommodation as early as possible as St Andrews is a tourist destination.

Please note the key dates below:

  • Abstract submission closes : 5th December 2019
  • Scientific Program announced: 15th December 2019
  • Registration and payment closes: 6th January 2020
  • Workshop begins: Monday 13th January 10:30am
  • Workshop closes: Tuesday 14th January 4:30pm

RAS Specialist Discussion – Cometary science with Rosetta: Striking, timely, and more to come

Contributions are invited to the upcoming RAS Specialist Discussion, “Cometary science with Rosetta: Striking, timely, and more to come” which will be taking place on the 13 December 2019 at the RAS in London. More details can be found on the RAS website. If you would like to present your work, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Friday 15 November 2019 with a title, a short abstract, and whether you prefer an oral or poster presentation. Contributions from PhD students and early career scientists are particularly encouraged.

The invited presentations are:

  • “The active surface of comet 67P witnessed by Rosetta” by Ramy El Maarry (Birkbeck University, UK)
  • “The surprising plasma environment at comet 67P revealed by Rosetta” by Pierre Henri (LPC2E, Orléans/Observatoire de Nice, France)
  • “The future Comet Interceptor mission” by Geraint Jones (UCL, UK) — given by C. Snodgrass
  • “Future plans in cometary science building from what we have learned from Rosetta” by Dominique Bockelée-Morvan (Observatoire de Paris, France)

The abstract for the meeting is as follows:

The Rosetta mission was the first mission to escort a comet, a possibility to witness the evolution of the coma and the nucleus as it approached perihelion and departed from it. This dataset has been complemented by the measurements from the Philae lander, first probe to land on a cometary nucleus (November 2014), and by Earth-based observations. This RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting will highlight the great scientific advancement in cometary science which Rosetta has brought. It is extremely timely as the official post-operations period of the mission ended recently (September 2019) and a consolidated and enhanced dataset is becoming available to the scientific community via the ESA Planetary Science Archive (PSA). Finally, the Meeting will offer us a forum for highlighting and exploring new directions after Rosetta, including the recently-selected ESA “Comet Interceptor” mission.

Full programme to be available early December on the RAS website. The meeting will open at 10 am with the first presentation at 10:30 am.

Admission to Specialist Discussion Meetings is free for RAS Fellows, £15 for non-fellows (£5 for students), cash or cheque only, collected at the registration desk. Admission to the subsequent Open (Monthly A&G) Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society is open to all, at no charge.

Python in Heliophysics (PyHC) Fall 2019 meeting

The Python in Heliophysics Community (PyHC) Fall 2019 meeting will take place at LASP in Boulder, Colorado, over 4–6 November 2019. This meeting focuses on delving further into topics brought up in the Spring 2019 meeting, as well as considering several other relevant themes brought up since said meeting. We will be revisiting PyHC governance and standards, discussing funding opportunities for PyHC and PyHC community members' funded projects, and discussing and working in tandem on various other topics deemed important by the PyHC group. The meeting will generate a report with findings and recommendations that will be presented to the community.

The first two days (Monday and Tuesday) are full days, whereas the last day (Wednesday) is a half day. All days will have coffee/snacks provided, while full days will also feature catered lunches. For more information and to register, visit the conference website.