Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial

Latest news

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.

SSAP roadmap update

The STFC Solar System Advisory Panel (SSAP) is undertaking a review of the "Roadmap for Solar System Research", to be presented to STFC Science Board later this year. This is expected to be a substantial update of the Roadmap, as the last full review was carried out in 2012, with a light-touch update in 2015.

The current version of the SSAP Roadmap can be found here.

In carrying out this review, we will take into account changes in the international landscape, and advances in instrumentation, technology, theory, and modelling work. 

As such, we solicit your input and comments on the existing roadmap and any material we should consider in this revision. This consultation will close on Wednesday 14 July 2021 and SSAP will try to give a preliminary assessment of findings at NAM.

This consultation is seeking the view of all members of our community and we particularly encourage early career researchers to respond. Specifically, we invite:

Comments and input on the current "Roadmap for Solar System Research" via the survey by clicking here.

Short "white papers" on science investigations (including space missions, ground-based experimental facilities, or computing infrastructure) and impact and knowledge exchange (e.g. societal and community impact, technology development). Please use the pro-forma sent to the MIST mailing list and send your response to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Quo vadis interim board


A white paper called "Quo vadis, European space weather community" has been published in J. Space Weather Space Clim. which outlines plans for the creation of an organisation to represent the European space weather community.
Since it was published, an online event of the same name was organised on 17 March 2021. A “Quo Vadis Interim Board” was then set up, to establish a mechanism for this discussion, which will go on until June 21st.

The Interim Board is composed of volunteers from the community in Europe. Its role is to coordinate the efforts so that the space weather (and including space climate) European community can:

  1. Organise itself
  2. Elect people to represent them

To reach this goal, the Interim Board is inviting anyone interested in and outside Europe to join the “Quo Vadis European Space Weather Community ” discussion forum.

Eligible European Space Weather Community members should register to the “Electoral Census” to be able to vote in June for the final choice of organisation.

This effort will be achieved through different actions indicated on the Quo Vadis webpage and special Slack workspace.

Call for applications for STFC Public Engagement Early-Career Researcher Forum


The STFC Public Engagement Early-Career Researcher Forum (the ‘PEER Forum’) will support talented scientists and engineers in the early stages of their career to develop their public engagement and outreach goals, to ensure the next generation of STFC scientists and engineers continue to deliver the highest quality of purposeful, audience-driven public engagement.

Applications are being taken until 4pm on 3 June 2021. If you would like to apply, visit the PEER Forum website, and if you have queries This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The PEER Forum aims:

  • To foster peer learning and support between early career scientists and engineers with similar passion for public engagement and outreach, thus developing a peer support network that goes beyond an individual’s term in the forum 
  • To foster a better knowledge and understanding of the support mechanisms available from STFC and other organisations, including funding mechanisms, evaluation, and reporting. As well as how to successfully access and utilise this support 
  • To explore the realities of delivering and leading public engagement as an early career professional and build an evidence base to inform and influence STFC and by extension UKRI’s approaches to public engagement, giving an effective voice to early career researchers

What will participation in the Forum involve?

Participants in the PEER Forum will meet face-to-face at least twice per year to share learning and to participate in session that will strengthen the depth and breadth of their understanding of public engagement and outreach.

Who can apply to join the Forum?

The PEER Forum is for practising early-career scientists and engineers who have passion and ambition for carrying out excellent public engagement alongside, and complementary to, their career in science or engineering. We are seeking Forum members from across the breadth of STFC’s pure and applied science and technology remit.

The specific personal requirements of PEER Forum membership are that members:

  • Have completed (or currently studying for – including apprentices and PhD students) their highest level of academic qualification within the last ten years (not including any career breaks)
  • Are employed at a Higher Education Institute, or a research-intensive Public Sector Research Organisation or Research Laboratory (including STFC’s own national laboratories)
  • Work within a science and technology field in STFC’s remit, or with a strong inter-disciplinary connection to STFC’s remit, or use an STFC facility to enable their own research
  • Clearly describe their track record of experience in their field, corresponding to the length of their career to date
  • Clearly describe their track record of delivering and leading, or seeking the opportunity to lead, public engagement and/or outreach
  • Can provide insight into their experiences in public engagement and/or outreach and also evidence one or more of
  • Inspiring others
  • Delivering impact
  • Demonstrating creativity
  • Introducing transformative ideas and/or inventions
  • Building and sustaining collaborations/networks
  • Are keen communicators with a willingness to contribute to the success of a UK-wide network
  • https://stfc.ukri.org/public-engagement/training-and-support/peer-forum/  

    Astronet Science Vision & Infrastructure Roadmap


    Astronet is a consortium of European funding agencies, established for the purpose of providing advice on long-term planning and development of European Astronomy. Setup in 2005, its members include most of the major European astronomy nations, with associated links to the European Space Agency, the European Southern Observatory, SKA, and the European Astronomical Society, among others. The purpose of the Science Vision and Infrastructure Roadmap is to deliver a coordinated vision covering the entire breadth of astronomical research, from the origin and early development of the Universe to our own solar system.

    The first European Science Vision and Infrastructure Roadmap for Astronomy was created by Astronet, using EU funds, in 2008/09, and updated in 2014/15. Astronet is now developing a new Science Vision & Infrastructure Roadmap, in a single document with an outlook for the next 20 years. A delivery date to European funding agencies of mid-2021 is anticipated. 

    The Science Vision and Infrastructure Roadmap revolves around the research themes listed below:

    • Origin and evolution of the Universe
    • Formation and evolution of galaxies
    • Formation & evolution of stars
    • Formation & evolution of planetary systems
    • Understanding the solar system and conditions for life

    but will include cross-cutting aspects such as computing and training and sustainability.


    After some delays due to the global pandemic, the first drafts of the chapters for the document are now available from the Panels asked to draft them, for you to view and comment on. For the Science Vision & Roadmap to be truly representative it is essential we take account of the views of as much of the European astronomy and space science community as possible – so your input is really valued by the Panels and Astronet. Please leave any comments, feedback or questions on the site by 1 May 2021.

    It is intended that a virtual “town hall” style event will be held in late Spring 2021, where an update on the project and responses to the feedback will be provided.

    EGU2020: Sharing Geoscience Online

    By Sadie Robertson

    What is EGU?

    The European Geosciences Union (EGU) is Europe’s leading geoscience research organisation and each year hosts the largest geoscience conference in Europe. This year, EGU2020 was set to be held in Vienna in the first week of May. Abstracts had already been submitted and presentations/posters allocated before the COVID-19 pandemic was declared. After some initial uncertainty, the meeting was scheduled to be hosted online and rebranded as EGU2020: Sharing Geoscience Online.

    Preparing for an online conference

    As a second year PhD student, EGU was going to be my first large international conference, and I had been scheduled to give a talk. I have previously given talks at NAM (the UK’s National Astronomy Meeting) and at a smaller Magnetospheric Multiscale mission (MMS) Community Meeting.

    After being informed that the conference and all talks/posters were online, I assumed that I would still be giving a similar presentation and talk, only over the internet – but I was wrong! A couple of weeks before the conference, I was pointed towards some extra information provided on the conference website; presenters had to upload materials (such as a pdf) prior to their session and then there would be a live online text-based chat during the session. There would be no video/audio element to ensure the conference was as inclusive as possible. As my slides would no longer be comprehensive without me talking alongside, I had to rework them to include more information and clearly portray my results. This culminated in a set of presentation slides/poster hybrid that I uploaded as a pdf, which seemed to be the way most people chose to present their work. I found the best presentations to be the ones with sufficient background detail so that I could understand the problem being investigated.

    There was also an issue of copyright, which I had not needed to consider in the same way before. The presentation materials were uploaded and remained accessible by anyone for a month after the conference. EGU provided a creative commons logo to put on slides to make their copyright clear. To avoid issues with reproducing other people’s figures, I had to cut out some diagrams I would usually include and reference on my introductory slides – although it is fine to reproduce figures if you get permission.

    The conference

    My session, titled ‘Magnetic reconnection and associated multi-scale coupling in space, astrophysics and laboratorial plasmas’, was scheduled for the first day of the conference. I presented work on electron trapping associated with magnetic mirror structures and magnetopause flux ropes, which I have been investigating using MMS. After a few teething issues with the text-based chat, my session convenors decided to allow each presenter to introduce their work and then take questions for 10-15 mins before moving onto the next presenter. Some presenters were not online, so it was hard to predict what time a given presentation would be discussed. When it came to my turn, I had a few simultaneous questions about my work, resulting in some rapid typing to respond to them. Overall, I think I managed to give sufficient answers to the questions and people seemed interested in my work – although it is much harder to judge than when you are talking face-to-face!

    I dropped into some other sessions throughout the conference week. The convenors of each session used slightly different formats, meaning each session was slightly different. I sometimes found the sessions hard to follow when viewing the materials being presented for the first time. Jumping between tabs, reading both the chat and presentations at the same time, could become overwhelming. I think the best results and discussion would come from reading the presentation materials in advance, particularly in the presentations most interesting to you. 

    The conference was an excellent opportunity to share my work with a large audience and to learn more about a vast range of research. Having not yet attended a large international conference it is difficult to directly compare experiences; however, I did find the social aspects more limited than at in-person conferences. There were very few opportunities to engage in casual conversations, for example in lunch and coffee breaks, which could lead to interesting science discussions. Instead, I felt as though I had to have a specific question to engage in a conversation about someone’s work. Issues such as this may be amplified for students who are new to their fields.

    Despite this, adapting to the pandemic has provided us with the opportunity to explore the potential benefits of virtual conferences. Flying is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions in academia. Over the past year, I have worked as part of a team alongside Imperial’s Grantham Institute assessing aviation emissions at Imperial. We found that in the 2017/18 academic year 9% of Imperial’s emissions could be attributed to aviation, comparable to those associated with electricity and gas consumption [1]. Virtual conferences could be used to compliment in-person conferences as a way to cut these greenhouse gas emissions.

    Virtual conference advice

    If you’re preparing for an online conference, some of my tips would be:

    • Read all email correspondence and online guidance carefully. Don’t assume you know what is expected of you as it can be very different to a regular conference.
    • Give yourself more time than normal to prepare presentation materials. You might need to use a different structure with more information than you usually would, and they could be more visible and remain online after the conference.
    • Don’t forget about technicalities, such as copyright, and get any permissions you may need in advance.
    • Do some reading of uploaded presentations in advance of the scheduled session – particularly if you plan to ask questions.

    However, this advice may turn out to be EGU-specific and who knows what structure future online conferences may take!

    If you have any more questions about Sadie’s experience at EGU2020: Sharing Geoscience Online, then you can This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..