Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial

Latest news

RAS Specialist Discussion suggestions invited

The RAS is inviting suggestions from Fellows of the RAS for Specialist Discussion meeting topics in the academic year 2019/20. These meetings are held on the second Friday of the month between October and May in a given academic year; the April meeting will be moved due to the second Friday being Good Friday. 

If you would like to organise one of these meetings, you can do so by submitting a proposal no longer than one A4 page. Geophysics proposals, including MIST science, should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and the deadline is 1 March 2019.

Your proposal should include the title of the meeting; the names of the co-convenors (at least one of whom should be a RAS Fellow); the topics you intend to cover; the rationale (including timeliness); suggestions for invited speakers; and the preferred date for the meeting. More information, including detailed guidance, can be found on the RAS website.


RAS awards for 2019 announced

MIST Council would like to extend their congratulations to the 2019 Royal Astronomical Society award winners, as well as the recent AGU award winners. In particular, we congratulate the following MIST members recognised for their significant achievements:
  • Margaret Kivelson (UCLA) has been awarded the Gold Medal in Geophysics for a lifetime of outstanding achievement in understanding planetary magnetospheres and their connections to the planets they surround.
  • Tom Stallard (Leicester) has been awarded the Chapman medal in Geophysics for outstanding contributions to understanding planetary upper atmospheres and their interactions with their magnetospheres.
  • The Cluster Science and Operations Team have been awarded the Geophysics Group Award for their continued success ensuring the operations and scientific exploitation of the European Space Agency’s Cluster mission.
  • Mark Clilverd (British Antarctic Survey) has been awarded the James Dungey Lecture for their excellent research on energetic particle precipitation and its effects on the upper atmosphere and climate, and their vast experience delivering outstanding scientific talks to a broad range of audiences.
  • Julia Stawarz (Imperial College London) has been awarded the Basu United States Early Career Award for Research Excellence in Sun-Earth Systems Science for significant contributions in furthering understanding of collisional plasma turbulence and kinetic scale processes. 
MIST Council would also like to congratulate Fran Bagenal (Colorado), who has been awarded the AGU Van Allen Lecture for exceptional work on the understanding of planetary magnetospheres and outstanding contributions to planetary missions.

New community resources now available

MIST Council are pleased to announce three resources for the MIST community on the MIST website.

List of research groups

The list of MIST research groups has been updated to include the latest members of the MIST community, and to incorporate the latest links to their presences online. Old groups, or groups at institutions which have merged since the original list was written, are now excised, and the list should be an exhaustive and up-to-date list of British MIST institutions.

List of seminar speakers

We asked the MIST community to come forward and be listed on our list of seminar speakers, and the uptake has so far been very encouraging. The list ranges from relatively junior PhD students to academics at various institutions, and if you're arranging seminars for your research group, we would encourage you to take a look.

List of public engagement projects

Following the success of the recently-held Public Engagement in MIST (MIST+PE) symposium, there was an appetite for MIST Council to better advertise the public engagement being done at MIST institutions across the UK. The Public Engagement page on the MIST website aims to advertise the MIST community's strengths to the rest of the community.

If you spot omissions on any of the above pages, or would like us to include content, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.

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 (with registration beginning at 09:30) 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. Tea and coffee will be provided during the poster session.

The programme and abstracts for the conference can be downloaded at those links, and if you have feedback on the conference, you can submit it using this Google Form.

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.


Details of MIST-related STFC summer schools in 2018

Details are now available regarding this year's STFC summer schools. With these summer schools, STFC-funded and self-funded PhD students are typically able to register for a fully-funded place, whereas other prospective attendees (e.g. NERC-funded PhD students or PDRAs) must pay a registration fee. This year, three summer schools are being run by the STFC which have been advertised to the MIST mailing list.

Introductory Solar System Plasmas Summer School

The STFC Introductory Solar System Plasmas Summer School 2018 will be run from 27–31 August 2018 at the University of Exeter. Registration is open until 15 July 2018, and if you wish to register or find out more, you can do so through the summer school's website.

The 2018 STFC Introductory Solar System Plasmas Summer School will be hosted by the Centre for Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, Department of Mathematics at the University of Exeter. The School programme consists of Core Material and more Specialised Topics reflecting local Exeter activities (e.g. specialist lecture on space weather forecasting from the Met Office). It is suitable for incoming PhD students.

The two contacts for the introductory summer school are the course director, Dr. Claire Foullon, and the secretariat, Dr. Emma Clarke. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Advanced Solar System Plasma Physics Summer School

The Advanced Solar System Plasma Physics Summer School will be held at the University of Southampton from 9–14 September 2018. Registration and more details are, again, available through the summer school's website. Registration is available until 29 June for fully-funded attendees, and until 24 August for those who pay the registration fee.

It is a pleasure to announce that the 2018 STFC Advanced Summer School covering Solar System Plasma Physics will be held at the University of Southampton from Sunday 9 to Friday 14 September 2018. The school is ideally suited to second and third year PhD students, as it will build on the topics covered at previous years’ introductory schools.

The contact for the advanced summer school is the course director, Dr. Robert Fear. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

STFC Introductory Summer School for Research Computing

The STFC Introductory Summer School for Research Computing in Solar Physics and Astronomy will be held at the E. A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Hull from 2–7 September 2018. The programme is available on the E. A. Milne Centre's website and registration is being conducted through a Google Form until 13 July 2018.
The Summer School is aimed at (but not restricted to) PhD students in astrophysics and solar physics. We will use the Python language, which is fast becoming the de facto standard in scientific computing, particularly in astronomy and space physics. Python’s simple, readable syntax and thriving developer community make it an excellent choice of first language for beginners. However, the principles we will be teaching are language-agnostic and will give the students a good understanding of how to develop and maintain high-quality software in any language. This summer school will consist mostly of practical sessions, allowing the students to quickly put into use the concepts they are being taught. This will be combined with a number of invited talks and specialist sessions. Aside from the taught programme there will be plenty of opportunities for networking and socialising with other students and lecturers with an ice breaker event (Sunday) and conference dinner (Thursday), and an excursion.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Brian Anderson to speak at workshop on Joule heating

Brian Anderson has been announced at a one-day workshop, “System-Scale Data Analysis to Resolve Thermospheric Joule Heating”, which will be held at the British Antarctic Survey (Cambridge, UK) on Friday 27 April 2018. The abstract submission deadline for this meeting is Monday 19 March and registrations will close the week of the meeting, on Monday 23 April.

If you're interested in registering, you can do so by visiting the conference page on Eventbrite – postgraduate students are encouraged to apply for financial assistance to apply, as some money has been provided by the Royal Astronomical Society for this purpose. If you would like to submit an abstract, you can do so through the dedicated abstract submission form provided.

The aim of this workshop is to give a forum for discussing of the interdisciplinary utility of data-driven analytical techniques, and the best ways to harness the potential of the available large datasets which are driving advances in near-Earth space research. The specific focus of the workshop is on the intrinsically interdisciplinary problem of resolving Joule heating – the transfer of energy from electrical currents in the ionosphere to the neutral particles of the upper atmosphere.

The meeting is convened by Robert Shore (who is also the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) at the British Antarctic Survey, alongside Anasuya Aruliah, John Coxon and Elizabeth Tindale.

Test MIST Special programme announced

The programme for the upcoming Spring MIST meeting in Southampton has been announced, and can be found on the Spring MIST website.

Each slot of 18 minutes, which comprises a 15 minute presentation and 3 minutes for questions. Posters will be A0, but the orientation has not yet been confirmed. The abstract book will be available online in the near future and will also be provided on a USB stick at the conference.

The meeting's chair, Rob Fear, wrote on the MIST mailing list, “For those of you wondering about the subject line to this email, the name of this year’s spring meeting makes reference to two things. Firstly, following the tradition of naming the spring meeting after local geographical features, it refers to one of our local rivers, the Test, which is one of the main tributaries of Southampton Water. The ‘special’ honours the fact that 2018 is MIST’s 50th anniversary year. Any similarity to low frequency emissions on 198 kHz is purely coincidental!”