Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial

Latest news

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.

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.

Navigating Zoomland: Outreach & Public Engagement

By Megan Maunder

I’m a passionate believer in making science engaging and accessible, thus outreach and public engagement have made up a large part of my ‘extra-curricular’ activities since starting my PhD. As well as a personal passion, getting involved in outreach and public engagement is a huge motivator for me; I am reminded of why I chose to pursue my PhD, and I enjoy the challenge of answering questions and finding new ways to explain concepts to curious minds.

Lockdown has presented unique new challenges in how to best deliver sessions and keep participants engaged, especially as we are spending more time at our desks, staring at screens, and many of us are now suffering with ‘Zoom Fatigue’. Whilst I’ve really missed the face-to-face interactions with students, teachers, and adults alike, I have found new ways to get involved and engage others. Below I’ve compiled some ideas and my own experiences about how to get involved, how to decide what content to develop or projects to take on.

Top Tips

  • Ask around, talk to other people already involved and see what you might like to get involved in and what money is available for new projects. Providing meaningful paid outreach opportunities for PhD students in line with teaching assistant work, rather than relying on unpaid voluntary contributions, is one way some institutions are trying to combat gender gaps. I’d also recommend talking to your supervisor, my supervisor already had some resources and experiments she could loan me and her experience with outreach was invaluable when I was preparing and developing new sessions.
  • Figure out why you want to get involved, and what you hope to get out of it. Personally, I enjoy the interaction, learning process, and finding new approaches to articulating ideas over creating graphics, editing, and developing new ways to share content, but I know others who are the complete opposite.
  • Use other peoples platforms*! I strongly recommend getting involved in existing projects and sessions to start. This was key in developing my own sessions and style, and it gave me a better idea of my strengths, and the type of work I want to be involved in. Even if it ends up being a long-term commitment, there’s a lot to be said for not having to maintain your own platform particularly if you would rather be an occasional contributor and aren’t able to commit to developing a project long term. (*I’ve mentioned a few in this piece, but my advice is to contact people working on projects you want to be involved in to find out if/how you can contribute.)
  • Finding a balance: I make sure to realistically evaluate how much of my own time I want to spend on a project, and when I am able to contribute. If I said yes to everything, I’d have no free time. Make sure to consider how much time is involved in preparation and development, delivering the content, and then any time spent on post-production like editing.

Activities and Experience

I’ve listed a few ways I’ve explored lockdown-outreach over the past few months, accompanied by my own experience with it.

Pre-Recorded Videos

Before university, I worked for skincare brand which regularly required me to produce content and I became used to filming and preparing videos so I thought this would be fairly simple. However, when it came to preparing and filming my own content solely by myself, I was at a loss. Talking straight down a camera, without a cameraman or audience was a little too surreal for me. I was a complete novice when it came to editing and the technology side of producing this type of content, which meant that it took a lot longer than anticipated. Broadly it went well, I’ve had some great feedback and it was a nice way to include content in a wider session but it was a lot of work and I really missed the interaction I normally get in similar face-to-face sessions. I’m not sure I would do it again, but I do have a new found respect for You-Tubers!

Interactive Online Sessions

My experience with preparing and delivering interactive sessions it that it needs to have both variety and a clear structure, to ensure it’s engaging and accessible. It is important to check any access needs and set out etiquette: microphones off unless speaking and no requirement or expectation for cameras to be turned on in main sessions, only in smaller interactive groups/breakout rooms. Depending on the purpose of the session I’ve used a combination of pre-prepared tasks/worksheets, Q&A sessions, and some lecture-style content, either pre-recorded or live. I much prefer interactive sessions as I enjoy it a lot more and find it much more rewarding. Running my own sessions, can initially take up a fair chunk of time, but once they are set up, they are easily be adapted and reused. If you’re keen to run these I’d recommend finding out who currently organises and runs sessions at your institution or within the local community. I developed many of these in partnership with my department’s Widening Participation Team; they organise a range of events  from single days to residential courses and are always looking for new sessions and leaders, we are also paid at the standard teaching assistant rate for preparation and delivery. If you’re looking to get involved in an external, existing project I can recommend ‘I’m a Scientist, Stay at Home!’, an online chat based activity. I found that it was a really low time-commitment and being asked questions about my research is a great motivator.

Panel Events

This is perhaps the one thing that I feel hasn’t vastly changed or needed a re-think or re-structure moving to online sessions. I really love being asked to do panel events, not only sharing my experiences but learning from others. Almost every panel I’ve been on (both related to my PhD and outreach work, and in other aspects of my life) has provided a space for meaningful discussion and exposure to new ideas. As an invited speaker, I’ve found it’s low time-commitment, as it doesn’t require a huge amount of preparation however, I imagine this isn’t the case if you want to run your own panel event. If you’re keen to get involved in this, my advice is get in touch with local groups that organise these type of events explaining what you feel you can contribute. Every year my university runs a ‘Women in STEM’ event for local schools and are always looking for a variety of both PhD students and staff to be on the panel.

Blogging/Written Content

Lockdown has driven a need for many people and groups to curate more online written content. I’ve since written on a variety of topics from own research and outreach experiences, to maintaining health and wellbeing as a PhD student. I love writing, particularly when I’m not stressing about how my plots looks, or if I’ve triple checked my results. I find it an easy medium in which to curate my own voice, fact check, and spread content that the reader can consume in their own time. MIST Student’s Corner is great for this if you want to try your hand at blogging without maintaining your own page!

Pod-casting/Auditory Content

This is a growing medium has has attracted a lot more people during lockdown, especially as its something you can consume whilst doing the dishes, driving, or going for a walk. I’ve not yet been involved in this but I’m hoping to have a few things lined up going forward. For me, this is definitely something I plan to use someone else’s platform for, as I don’t have the passion or time to set up and maintain my own whilst looking for new content and guests!


I hope you find this useful and if you would like to discuss anything further you can This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..