MIST

Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial

Latest news

STFC Public Engagement Early-Career Researcher (PEER) Forum

The STFC has issued a call for applications to join their Public Engagement Early-Career Researcher (PEER) Forum, which is designed to support talented scientists and engineers in the early stages of their career in developing their public engagement and outreach goals. This forum is geared towards PhD students and early-career postdocs developing ideas for public engagement with similarly-minded researchers in a context that allows them to feed suggestions for the improvement of STFC's programmes back to STFC itself, and involves meeting twice a year. The deadline for applications is 4pm on 3 June 2019. For more information and more detail on what the scheme involves, you can visit the PEER Forum webpage or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The aims of the PEER Forum are as follows:

  • To foster peer learning and peer support between early career scientists and engineers with a passion for public engagement and outreach.
  • To improve understanding of the support STFC provides for public engagement and outreach (including funding mechanisms, evaluation, and reporting) and how to successfully utilise this support.
  • To stimulate discussions that help to develop and influence STFC’s approaches to public engagement.

ESA Science Programme Committee greenlights SMILE

The Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer (SMILE) has been given the green light for implementation by ESA's Science Programme Committee. SMILE will explore the Sun-Earth connection in a very novel way, by mapping solar wind-magnetosphere interactions in soft X-rays. SMILE is a joint mission by ESA and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CSA). The UK is one of many countries contributing to the payload development.

The SMILE payload comprises four instruments: a soft X-ray imager (SXI), a UV auroral imager (UVI) and an in situ measurement package composed of a light ion analyser and a magnetometer. The UK leads SXI, Canada leads UVI, and China leads the ion analyser and magnetometer. SMILE will fly in a highly elliptical polar orbit with an apogee of 20 Earth radii to image the magnetosphere and the Northern Lights for more than 40 hours continuously per orbit. The launch is planned in November 2023.

For more information, visit the European Space Agency, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, or Mullard Space Science Laboratory.

Debye mission proposal for ESA F-class call

We are currently preparing a proposal for the space mission “Debye” in response to ESA’s F-Class call. As the first dedicated electron-astrophysics mission, Debye will use the solar wind as a testbed to study universal small-scale electron processes throughout the universe. The mission's key science question is: “How are electrons heated in astrophysical plasmas?”
 
Debye will consist of up to four spacecraft that will orbit the Lagrange point L2. The main spacecraft will measure electron distribution functions with unprecedented cadence and very high resolution, electric fields, magnetic fields, and plasma ions. The deployable spacecraft will provide multi-point and multi-baseline measurements of the magnetic field to determine the nature of fluctuations on electron scales.
 
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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.

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). This meeting specifically targets the exploitation of our research and instrumentation for space weather applications, in particular, associated with the ESA Lagrange mission and the associated NASA L1 mission. The RAS page for the meeting is here, and the programme is available here.

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

NAM abstract submissions open for 2019

The online abstract submission system for the 2019 Royal Astronomical Society National Astronomy Meeting is now open. The deadline for abstract submissions is 15 March and abstracts can be submitted through the NAM 2019 website.

NAM 2019 will be held at Lancaster University between 30 June–4 July. Further information and a full list of parallel sessions is available on the event website. Additional practical information will be added to the site prior to registration opening on Mon 25 February, and it is not necessary to register to submit an abstract.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. The LOC and SOC look forward to welcoming you to Lancaster in the summer!

Read more: NAM abstract submissions open for 2019

2019 EISCAT Symposium, 46AM Optical Meeting, and Incoherent Scatter Radar School

Further to the initial announcement, more details are now available on the 2019 International EISCAT Symposium. It will be held alongside the 46th Annual European Meeting on Atmospheric Studies (46AM) at the University of Oulu, Finland, from 19–23 August 2019.

The joint meeting will be immediately preceded by the International EISCAT Incoherent Scatter Radar School, at Pikku Syote (150 km east of Oulu), from 12–17 August 2019.

Registration information for both meetings will be published in February, but in the meantime, please visit the EISCAT Symposium and 46AM webpage and the EISCAT Radar School webpage for more information.

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 an invited talk from 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 websiteThe programme and list of abstracts are available here on the MIST website. 

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.

Advances in hydrogen molecular ions: H3+, H5+ and beyond

There is a scientific discussion meeting to be held at the Royal Society on 21–22 January 2018, organised by Professor Jonathan Tennyson FRS, Professor Benjamin McCall, and Professor Steven Miller. The webpage for the meeting is available on the Royal Society's website.

Jupiter’s southern aurora captured in the light of H3+ by the JUNO infrared imager. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM
 

This meeting will highlight recent developments in theoretical, laboratory and astronomical studies of the molecular ion H3+ and its hydrogenated cousin H5+. These developments include the first models of H5+, high-resolution studies of H3+ deuterated isotopologues, ultra-cold chemistry studies, new chemical models of the Galactic Centre, and data from the space missions Cassini (Saturn) and JUNO (Jupiter).