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.
 
Read more ...

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.

Nigel Wade

Nigel Wade
Nigel Wade - University of Leicester

It is with deep sadness that we have to inform the MIST community of the untimely death after a short illness of Nigel Wade who worked in the Radio and Space Plasma Physics (RSPP) group at Leicester for over 30 years.

Read more: Nigel Wade

Extended deadline for MIST Council elections

The deadline for voting in the MIST Council elections has been extended until 20:00 BST on 29 July, so please cast your vote this week! All members of the mailing list should have received information on how to vote; if you have not, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and he will help you.

The nominees are:

  • Sarah Badman, Lancaster University
  • Biagio Forte, University of Bath
  • Ian McCrea, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
  • Rob Shore, British Antarctic Survey
  • Simon Thomas, Mullard Space Science Laboratory

Their statements are as follows!

Sarah Badman, Lancaster University

“MIST council plays an important role in communicating within the MIST community and representing its interests to other organisations. If elected I will broaden the Council’s representation of region (north-west) and research area (outer planets) while carrying out this role.”

Biagio Forte, University of Bath

“My research interest is on ionospheric scintillation and the effects the ionosphere can have on systems such as GPS, Galileo, EGNOS. This is an example of the impact adverse space weather conditions may have on our society.”

Ian McCrea, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

“I am a senior scientist at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, with a background in ionospheric physics as studied by ground-based radars. I have been a member of MIST Council since 2013 and Chair since 2014. I am standing again with the aim of continuing the initiatives which we have taken in the past three years, including the biennial Spring MIST meetings and closer links with the solar community in education and training. I also hope to work towards more support for doctoral training and thematic funding, on the NERC side of the STP community.”

Rob Shore, British Antarctic Survey

“I am a postdoctoral researcher currently based at the British Antarctic Survey. My 9-year research career has thus far focused on novel methods of discovering the workings of the Earth and its space environment via the magnetic field. I think that this post would be an excellent opportunity to learn the inner workings of MIST in more detail, and to provide a meaningful contribution to the ongoing health of the MIST community.”

Simon Thomas, Mullard Space Science Laboratory

“I’ve been in the MIST community now for 5 years and have been very active with MIST event during this time, attending almost all meetings and giving a number of presentations. I am currently a PDRA at Mullard Space Science Laboratory studying space weather with Prof. Lucie Green after completing a short PDRA with Prof Chris Owen on solar wind particles. My PhD was at the University of Reading with Dr. Matt Owens and Prof. Mike Lockwood on cosmic ray modulation in the solar wind. I also have an undergraduate in Physics from the University of Bath and an MSc in Meteorology from Reading. Therefore, I have a broad background of MIST science ideal for a council role. Throughout my career so far, I have thoroughly enjoyed MIST events when the community joins together and I have learnt a lot from the friendly community at meetings such as Autumn and Spring MIST. I am keen to keep up the excellent work of previous council members in promoting the work of early-career scientists and assisting in their development through these meetings and the giving out of awards such as the Rishbeth Prize. Furthermore, I am very keen to help to promote the work of members of the MIST community through outreach, be it through social media or by helping to organise public engagement events in our research area. I have gained a lot from the MIST community and standing for MIST council is an excellent way to give something back to the community. Therefore, I would be open to suggestions from MIST members for new ways to improve the community and our science output.”

Amendment of MIST Charter

December saw MIST Council propose an amendment to the MIST Charter which increases the size of the Council from five to six members. The amendment was passed with no objections from the MIST community, so the Charter will be amended accordingly, with the changes taking effect at the next MIST Council election.