MIST

Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial

Latest news

2019 RAS Council elections

As you may have seen, the nominations for RAS Council are currently open with a deadline of 29 November. MIST falls under the “G” (Geophysics) category and there are up to 3 councillor positions and one vice-president position available. MIST Council strongly encourages interested members of the MIST community to consider standing for election.
 
Clare Watt (University of Reading) has kindly volunteered to be a point of contact for the community for those who may wish to talk more about being on council and what it involves. Clare is a councillor on RAS Council, with her term due to complete in 2020, and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 

 

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.

Rishbeth Prizes 2015

Congratulations to Maria Walach (Leicester) and Joe Dods (Warwick) for winning this year's Rishbeth prizes for their presentations at NAM/MIST at Llandudno in July.

Maria won the prize for the best student talk, which was "A test of ionospheric convection predictions from the expanding/contracting polar cap paradigm"

Joe won the prize for the best poster, for "Network Analysis of Geomagnetic Substorms Using the SuperMAG Database of Ground Based Magnetometer Stations".

Articles by both winners will appear shortly in A&G!

Jim Dungey 1923-2015

It is with sadness that we report the death of Prof. Jim Dungey last Thursday (7th May), at the age of 92.

Jim was, of course, a pillar of the MIST community and a regular at MIST meetings until quite recently. His intellectual achievements need no introduction to anyone familiar with our field. Below is a short appreciation by Prof. David Southwood:

Jim Dungey passed away last week. A light went out for me. I feel some echo of that must have been felt by everybody in the MIST community. He was an extraordinary scientist, someone out of the ordinary. His style was terse. In two pages in Physical Review Letters in 1961 he resolved the basis of solar-terrestrial interaction. He famously conceived it whilst stirring a coffee at a pavement café on Boulevard Montparnasse in Paris. Almost every sentence contains a nugget. Conversations with him could be as dense. I suspect that I am not the only one of his students for whom meetings during his PhD supervision were a matter of grasping clues and only later, often much later, appreciating the true import of what had been said. Indeed, in respect of his 1961 paper, it took the community as a whole almost 20 years to grasp the basic idea. The enormity of the 1961 paper's ultimate impact distracts from the number of other seeds he sowed: geomagnetic pulsations were standing MHD waves in the magnetosphere, Kelvin-Helmholtz instability could be important at the magnetopause, that the radiation belts had an external origin, that whistlers could determine the equilibrium of the belts, that magnetospheric MHD waves could be excited by bounce-drift resonance. I could continue and will, indeed, say more elsewhere. Moreover, he was a theorist but he welcomed any kind of experimental data, ground-based, space based and he also appreciated, long before I did, the interpretation of computer simulations. He was a MIST community member and a regular attendee at early meetings. His students and 'grand-students' are all around us. Everybody in the UK MIST community should feel the loss but, I hope, also a small pride that he was one of us.

RAS Awards 2015

Congratulations to Mike Lockwood, who has been awarded the Royal Astronomical Society's Gold Medal in geophysics. The Gold Medal is the highest award in the society's gift, and is awarded as recognition of a lifetime's work. The society's announcement says:

Prof. Lockwood is one of the most eminent researchers today in space physics. He has made defining contributions in several different fields, from the ionosphere, via the magnetosphere and the heliosphere, to the Sun and its influence on the Earth's climate. Among the highlights of his broad career are his early discovery of a 'fountain' of ions populating the polar magnetosphere from the ionosphere. Thereafter, his novel analysis using ground-based radar combined with space-based particle measurements yielded new quantitative insights into magnetic reconnection at the magnetopause. This helped to illuminate how this most fundamental of plasma processes operates.

His most recent work has focused on the impact of the variable solar output on the heliosphere and the Earth's climate, including founding a new field of study of the long-term variability of the Sun's magnetic field. Quite remarkable is the fact that this now vibrant research area arose from Prof. Lockwood's very first paper in solar physics, reporting that the Sun's coronal magnetic has doubled in the last 100 years. Throughout his career, Prof. Lockwood has provided novel and far-reaching insights that have subsequently become accepted paradigms, and paved the way for further study.

Sincere congratulations are also due to our colleague in the UK Solar Physics community, Alan Hood, who has been awarded the RAS's Chapman medal for investigations of outstanding merit in solar-terrestrial physics.

Further information about all of this year's medal and award winners is available on the Royal Astronomical Society's web site.

BIS Capital Investment Consultation Exercise

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has launched a consultation exercise on "Proposals for
Long-Term Capital Investment in Science & Research".  Anyone is welcome to contribute to the consultation exercise at an individual level and coordinated responses are being created from various organisations including MIST via MIST council and the SSAP (Solar Systems Advisory Panel from STFC).

You can see the documentation here:

BIS consultation document

You can put in your response here:

Respond to BIS consultation

The consultation closes on 4th July 2014.