MIST

Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial

Latest news

Winners of Rishbeth Prizes 2023

We are pleased to announce that following Spring MIST 2023 the Rishbeth Prizes this year are awarded to Sophie Maguire (University of Birmingham) and Rachel Black (University of Exeter).

Sophie wins the prize for the best MIST student talk which was entitled “Large-scale plasma structures and scintillation in the high-latitude ionosphere”. Rachel wins the best MIST poster prize, for a poster entitled “Investigating different methods of chorus wave identification within the radiation belts”. Congratulations to both Sophie and Rachel!

As prize winners, Sophie and Rachel will be invited to write articles for Astronomy & Geophysics, which we look forward to reading.

MIST Council extends their thanks to the University of Birmingham for hosting the Spring MIST meeting 2023, and to the Royal Astronomical Society for their generous and continued support of the Rishbeth Prizes.

Nominations for MIST Council

We are pleased to open nominations for MIST Council. There are two positions available (detailed below), and elected candidates would join Beatriz Sanchez-Cano, Jasmine Kaur Sandhu, Andy Smith, Maria-Theresia Walach, and Emma Woodfield on Council. The nomination deadline is Friday 26 May.

Council positions open for nomination

  • MIST Councillor - a three year term (2023 - 2026). Everyone is eligible.
  • MIST Student Representative - a one year term (2023 - 2024). Only PhD students are eligible. See below for further details.

About being on MIST Council


If you would like to find out more about being on Council and what it can involve, please feel free to email any of us (email contacts below) with any of your informal enquiries! You can also find out more about MIST activities at mist.ac.uk.

Rosie Hodnett (current MIST Student Representative) has summarised their experience on MIST Council below:
"I have really enjoyed being the PhD representative on the MIST council and would like to encourage other PhD students to nominate themselves for the position. Some of the activities that I have been involved in include leading the organisation of Autumn MIST, leading the online seminar series and I have had the opportunity to chair sessions at conferences. These are examples of what you could expect to take part in whilst being on MIST council, but the council will welcome any other ideas you have. If anyone has any questions, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..”

How to nominate

If you would like to stand for election or you are nominating someone else (with their agreement!) please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Friday 26 May. If there is a surplus of nominations for a role, then an online vote will be carried out with the community. Please include the following details in the nomination:
  • Name
  • Position (Councillor/Student Rep.)
  • Nomination Statement (150 words max including a bit about the nominee and your reasons for nominating. This will be circulated to the community in the event of a vote.)
 
MIST Council contact details

Rosie Hodnett - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mathew Owens - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Beatriz Sanchez-Cano - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jasmine Kaur Sandhu - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Andy Smith - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Maria-Theresia Walach - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Emma Woodfield - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
MIST Council email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

RAS Awards

The Royal Astronomical Society announced their award recipients last week, and MIST Council would like to congratulate all that received an award. In particular, we would like to highlight the following members of the MIST Community, whose work has been recognised:
  • Professor Nick Achilleos (University College London) - Chapman Medal
  • Dr Oliver Allanson (University of Birmingham) - Fowler Award
  • Dr Ravindra Desai (University of Warwick) - Winton Award & RAS Higher Education Award
  • Professor Marina Galand (Imperial College London) - James Dungey Lecture

New MIST Council 2021-

There have been some recent ingoings and outgoings at MIST Council - please see below our current composition!:

  • Oliver Allanson, Exeter (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), to 2024 -- Chair
  • Beatriz Sánchez-Cano, Leicester (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), to 2024
  • Mathew Owens, Reading (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), to 2023
  • Jasmine Sandhu, Northumbria (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), to 2023 -- Vice-Chair
  • Maria-Theresia Walach, Lancaster (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), to 2022
  • Sarah Badman, Lancaster (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), to 2022
    (co-opted in 2021 in lieu of outgoing councillor Greg Hunt)

Charter amendment and MIST Council elections open

Nominations for MIST Council open today and run through to 8 August 2021! Please feel free to put yourself forward for election – the voting will open shortly after the deadline and run through to the end of August. The positions available are:

  • 2 members of MIST Council
  • 1 student representative (pending the amendment below passing)

Please email nominations to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 8 August 2021. Thank you!

Charter amendment

We also move to amend the following articles of the MIST Charter as demonstrated below. Bold type indicates additions and struck text indicates deletions. Please respond to the email on the MIST mailing list before 8 August 2021 if you would like to object to the amendment; MIST Charter provides that it will pass if less than 10% of the mailing list opposes its passing. 

4.1  MIST council is the collective term for the officers of MIST and consists of six individuals and one student representative from the MIST community.

5.1 Members of MIST council serve terms of three years, except for the student representative who serves a term of one year.

5.2 Elections will be announced at the Spring MIST meeting and voting must begin within two months of the Spring MIST meeting. Two slots on MIST council will be open in a given normal election year, alongside the student representative.

5.10 Candidates for student representative must not have submitted their PhD thesis at the time that nominations close.

MIST online seminars

Upcoming Seminars

Tuesday 05 March 2023 | 11:00 - 12:00 GMT | Sophia Zomerdijk-Russell & Patrik Krcelic

Sophia Zomerdijk-Russell (Imperial College London) - Investigating Magnetospheric Dynamics Driven by the Solar Wind at Mercury

Abstract:

In this work, an exploration of Mercury’s dynamic magnetosphere, that is driven strongly by the solar wind, is presented. We reveal the impact of external factors, that include variability of the solar wind ram pressure and embedded interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), and magnetic reconnection processes, on the planet's magnetopause boundary. Furthermore, we explore the potential of using electromagnetic induction techniques to probe Mercury's interior electrical conductivity structure. 

We investigate how variations in solar wind ram pressure affect the movement of Mercury’s magnetopause and the resulting magnetic field that it induces. By utilising data from the Helios mission, we predict that BepiColombo will encounter highly unpredictable solar wind ram pressure conditions that lead to the generation of a non-uniform inducing field. Using example inducing field spectra we generated, we show a potential method that could allow BepiColombo’s two spacecraft to derive conductivity profiles within Mercury’s crust and mantle. Additionally, we examine the impact of changes in IMF direction of Mercury’s magnetopause currents, revealing, through analytical modelling, that IMF variability can influence current flow and the resultant inducing magnetic field. 

We also study magnetic reconnection processes at Mercury’s dayside magnetosphere using flux rope (FR) observations from the MESSENGER spacecraft. The analytical modelling of 201 FRs indicates that most are formed in high-magnetic shear regions on Mercury’s magnetopause as expected. Interestingly, however, some FRs were found to have formed under very low shear conditions, challenging the notion that reconnection is restricted to maximum shear points and supports enhanced rates of FR formation across a wide range of shear angles at Mercury’s magnetopause.

This work is in preparation for the upcoming BepiColombo mission to Mercury. We provide insights into magnetospheric phenomena driven by solar wind interactions at Mercury and establish groundwork for utilising electromagnetic induction techniques to study the planet’s internal structure.

 

Patrik Krcelic (University of Southampton) - The electrodynamics of fine scale aurora and associated Joule heating 

Abstract:

Our goal is to better understand the highly dynamic nature of the fine-scale auroral arcs and its effects on the atmosphere. Fine-scale auroral arcs are characterized by highly variable electric fields leading to extreme Joule heating. A statistical study has been made of dynamic fine-scale auroral events in order to understand the drivers of the high variability in the electrodynamics of auroral arcs at fine scales. We used the Auroral Structure and Kinetics (ASK) instrument, located on Svalbard, in order to measure various electrodynamic properties of fine scale auroral arcs. We performed Spearman and Kendall statistical tests and found two significant correlations. The first is between the mean precipitation flux of event and the variability of flux, which we assume is because of the dynamic and bursty nature of the acceleration mechanism and its dependence on Alfvén waves. The second correlation is between the variability of the precipitating electron flux and the variability of the tangential component of the electric field close to the arc and perpendicular to the magnetic field. We propose that both variablities occur because of the variability of the upward (field-aligned) current sheet in and around the arc, which is dynamic and non-uniform. The correlation between the two variabilities can therefore be explained by their common source. 

Additionally, we estimated the Joule heating caused by such variability by analysing two case studies. We have used two separate techniques to estimate local Joule heating effects near fine-scale auroral features for two auroral events in February 2017. In both cases Joule heating appeared in burst-like form with median distribution values of few hundreds mW/m2, with the lower 10% of the distribution having values close to or around 100 mW/m2. Extreme increases in the neutral temperature were also observed in both cases. Our results suggest that the averaging of intense and variable electric fields near fine-scale auroral features may be responsible forunderestimates of the Joule heating. 

 

Past Seminars

Previous MIST online seminars are recorded and available on the  MIST YouTube channel .

Links to individual seminars are in the table below.

Date

Speaker

Title (Click for Link to Seminar)

06 Feb 2024

Heli Hietala

(Queen Mary University London)

Shock generated transient structures in Solar System environments

16 Jan 2024

Jonny Rae

(Northumbria University)

International Cooperation and the European Heliospheric Community

05 Dec 2023

Suzie Imber

(University of Leicester)

Mercury's Dynamic Magnetosphere

07 Nov 2023

Catherine Regan

(MSSL, UCL)

The influence of dust on Mars' magnetosphere

07 Nov 2023

Samuel Fielding

(University of Edinburgh)

Space Weather: trying to improve ground level magnetic field perturbation prediction

03 Oct 2023

John Plane

(University of Leeds)

Cosmic dust in the atmospheres of Earth and Mars

05 Sep 2023

Andrea Larosa

(QMUL)

The relation between magnetic switchbacks and turbulence in the inner heliosphere

01 Aug 2023

Sheila Kanani

(Royal Astronomical Society)

EDI at the Royal Astronomical Society

11 Jul 2023

Harriet Turner

(University of Reading)

Solar wind data assimilation in an operational context

11 Jul 2023

Cameron Patterson 

(Lancaster University)

Can space weather delay your train… or worse?

06 Jun 2023

Charlotte Goetz

(Northumbria University)

The Magnetic Field of a Comet

02 May 2023

Mark Lester

(University of Leicester)

Sounding the Martian Ionosphere: New Insights from Mars Express and other satellites at Mars

07 Mar 2023

Audrey Schillings

(University of Leicester)

Strong variations in the Earth’s magnetic field (dB/dt spikes) possibly associated with sub-auroral polarizations streams (SAPS)

17 Feb 2023

Alexandra Fogg 

(Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies)

Investigating the effects of solar wind pressure pulses on the terrestrial magnetosphere

01 Nov 2022

Ingrid Cnossen

(British Antarctic Survey)

Climate of the upper atmosphere: Long-term change and North-South asymmetries

04 Oct 2022

Alan Wood

(University of Birmingham)

Ionospheric structures and their drivers observed with the International LOFAR Telescope and the ESA Swarm mission

06 Sept 2022

Andrew Kavanagh

(British Antarctic Survey)

Simultaneous multi-scale measurements of Ion Drift in the Earth's Auroral Ionosphere

07 June 2022

Maria-Theresia Walach

(Lancaster University)

Ionospheric Electrodynamics at Earth

03 May 2022

Chris Owen

(MSSL/UCL)

Solar Orbiter – Progress to date and prospects going forward.

05 April 2022

Henrik Melin

(University of Leicester)

Aeronomy of the giant planets from over 30 years of H3+ observations

01 February 2022

Daniel Whiter

(University of Southampton)

Neutral heating by auroral electrodynamics

07 December 2021

Adam Masters

(Imperial College London)

A More Viscous-Like Solar Wind Interaction With All the Giant Planets

02 November 2021

Sandra Chapman

(University of Warwick)

‘Data analytics’ approaches to space weather in space and time

05 October 2021

Laura Berčič

(Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UCL)

Physical mechanisms related to the sunward electron deficit in the solar wind

07 September 2021

Beatriz Sánchez-Cano

(University of Leicester)

Mars’ Space Weather: the role of the ionosphere for (near) unmagnetised planets 

06 July 2021

Graziella Branduardi-Raymont

(University College London)

 

 

Soft X-ray imaging of geospace with SMILE

01 June 2021

Julia Stawarz

(Imperial College London)

Turbulence and Magnetic Reconnection in Space Plasmas: Insights from the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission

04 May 2021

Emma E. Woodfield

(British Antarctic Survey)

From Van Allen to Juno: Radiation Belts of the Solar System

13 April 2021

David Themens

(University of Birmingham)

Data first, physics later: How user needs have framed the development of E-CHAIM

02 March 2021

Martin Archer

(Imperial College London)

Researchers and public engagement: What role should I play to make a real difference?

02 February 2021

Luke Barnard

(University of Reading)

Coronal Mass Ejection modelling and prediction with Heliospheric Imagers

12 January 2021

Gabrielle Provan

(University of Leicester)

Magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling at Saturn and Jupiter in the era of Juno and Cassini

01 December 2020

Mike Lockwood

(University of Reading)

Semi-annual and Universal Time variations in the magnetosphere

03 November 2020

Clare Watt

(Northumbria University)

Earth's outer radiation belt: From microscale to macroscale

06 October 2020

Imogen Gingell

(University of Southampton)

Earth’s Bow Shock: A Laboratory for Kinetic Plasma Physics

01 September 2020

Caitriona Jackman

(Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies)

Solar wind influence at the gas giant planets

04 August 2020

Jim Wild

(Lancaster University)

Space weather: living with our star

14 July 2020

Daniel Verscharen

(Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UCL)

Kinetic physics, collisions, and turbulence in the solar wind: a multi-scale perspective