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.

Minutes from remote meeting on 20 December 2018


  • Approving minutes from July 2018 onwards
  • NAM 2019 sessions
  • Autumn MIST feedback
  • MIST at RASreach


Approving minutes

  • John to re-circulate minutes
  • Councillors to read through the minutes from previous meetings to approve them by 21 January
  • John to post minutes online after approval

NAM 2019 sessions

  • Ian to email Mihalis about a joint session on capabilities etc
  • John to put a solar system PE session in with [redacted]
  • Several sessions have been submitted

Autumn MIST feedback

  • Detailed summary of feedback has been compiled by Jasmine
  • People commented that abstracts were accepted too late; not enough time before the meeting
  • We could reduce the chance of this next year by:
  • Giving the Autumn MIST organiser more autonomy over the process
  • Could also have an earlier abstract deadline
  • It was suggested that we could move to IOP at King's Cross
  • Comments on the theme:
    • Less focus on students/postdocs
    • Discourages people for whom theme is not relevant?
  • Ian asked Geolsoc for the last Friday in November
    • It's booked that day, so we got 22 November 2019 instead
    • If we move forward with this we would need to publicise this widely and in advance
    • Ian did get a booking for last Friday in November 2020
  • Oliver is writing the article for A&G, the deadline is February 2019
  • MIST at RASreach

    • Sheila Kanani offered to let us share with RASreach, which is to be held in Newcastle in 2019
    • John plans to submit a parallel session to NAM so it's possible that two events in one year is overkill
    • Council says that NAM is the obvious choice
    • [redacted] 

    MIST website

    • John to email PE projects about contact emails
    • Oliver to investigate options for putting seminar speaker list into Google Sheets
    • Jasmine to start sending nuggets to the MIST list

    Minutes from remote meeting on 25 October 2018


    • List of seminar speakers for the MIST community
    • NAM sessions/plenaries
    • Oliver's suggestion
  • Autumn MIST submissions
  • MIST communications


    Seminar speakers for the MIST community

    • Useful for early career researchers to make themselves known to group seminar organisers
    • UKSP does this as an on-request service but it might be better for us to do it on the website
    • List should include name, email address, seniority, institution, and topic(s) they can talk on
    • Oliver to send emails and construct list
    • John to add Oliver to the website and add initial list

    NAM sessions/plenaries

    • MIST strategy day/bolt-on planning:
      • Sarah raised idea of MIST strategy day at end of NAM, no resistance from Lancaster
      • Ian talked with Mihalis (UKSP chair) about the idea of a parallel UKSP/MIST strategy slot at NAM
      • Mihalis invited MIST people to annual mission forum on 10 January at Burlington House
        • Jonny has been to these before
      • Mihalis indicated that he'd be open to a collaborative follow-up at NAM
      • Sarah to email HOGS and keep organising this
    • We should make sure that UKSP/MIST sessions are proposed:
      • A member of the community has approached Jasmine about co-convening an MHD waves session
      • Oliver mentioned a ‘from Sun to mud’ session being talked about at Reading, including Rad Sat and SWIGS from the MIST side and UKSP
      • [redacted] suggested that exoplanetary magnetospheres aren't advanced enough yet to have a session which includes solar system bodies
        • If the title includes habitability or atmospheres that might open it up to more exoplanetary researchers
    • Suggestions for plenary speakers are sought:
      • Council to suggest speakers by next meeting (as Lancaster internal deadline is end of December)
      • Since 2013, there has been:
        • 3x solar talks (Green '17, Dougherty '16, Fletcher '15)
        • 1x gas giant talk (Bunce, 2018)
        • 1x cometary talk (Taylor, 2015)
        • 1x terrestrial talk (Lester, 2013)
      • [redacted] could be a good suggestion
      • A terrestrial talk might be nice given the last was 2013
      • Mercury/Venus/Mars are not at all represented
      • Gas giants were covered very recently (last year)

    Autumn MIST submissions

    • Six talk/poster abstracts so far
    • Zero lightning talks so far
      • Might be worth making criteria more flexible in the next reminder email
    • Jasmine to send reminder email with plug for lightning talks

    MIST communications

    • John has asked Q to redirect This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    • Jonny to join the MIST Slack

    Minutes from meeting on 11 September 2018

    Approval of minutes of previous meeting

    • The minutes of the last face-to-face meeting were approved
    • Jim Wild is now the AGP grants chair
    • Newsletter
      • We were going to restart the newsletter but this fizzled—it may be the case that this is not something the community want?
      • It was suggested that we should do either the newsletter or individual emails from the list, not both
      • Nuggets were eventually divorced from newsletters and they are currently flourishing under Jasmine
    • Tweets were successfully sent during Autumn MIST and this was generally a success
    • We found out about why people didn’t attend MIST@NAM, which basically translated to lack of good advertising, cost, difficulty of going to Hull, and other good meetings
    • Spring MIST and EWASS occurred
    • Geophysics fora did not continue owing to the combination of the research councils into UKRI
    • The last teleconference minutes were discussed and the actions had been completed

    Welcomes to MIST Council

    • Oliver was welcomed and John was re-welcomed to MIST Council

    A&G special issue

    • Sarah to construct a list of A&G articles that it would be good to reprint in a virtual issue
    • Sue Bowler needs pictures
      • John has asked for images for aurora from [redacted]
      • Councillors to seek pictures of the aurora for the article and contact Sue Bowler
      • John sought conference photos from the mailing list and has specifically emailed [redacted] about the recent Spring MIST photos
      • John to submit his conference writeup to A&G
      • John to chase pictures if not enough have been submitted by the time he’s back from leave
      • Oliver to let Mike Lockwood know that his article is with Sue Bowler and thank him for writing it
      • It’s ended up looking like a great issue!

    Spring MIST 2018

    • Rishbeth prize articles are in A&G and winners will be notified
    • [redacted]

    Autumn MIST 2018

    • On 30 November
    • Announcement to go out on 1 October
    • Abstract deadline on 1 November
    • Ian got a new quote and put arrangements in place for the meeting at the GeolSoc
    • We have the venue
      • Costs approx £1800 (so charge £20 per person)
      • From 9:30–17:30
      • Meeting to run 10:30–17:30
      • Ian said 100 attendees
      • 15 double-sided poster boards
      • Tea with biscuits in the afternoon
      • We’re allowed to bring lunch into the library
    • John to look up stickers for attendees
    • We have to have someone on the door (as per GeolSoc rules)
      • Ian to ask Sue Caldwell to do this
    • Organisational details:
      • Theme: Radiation belts
        • Keynote talk and the morning session
        • Emphasise planetary radiation belts?
      • Ian to ask Richard Horne to deliver the keynote speech
      • Jasmine to organise the meeting
        • Oliver to co-organise
        • Organisers to ask people to write notes for the article
        • John to construct a document which guides the logic of assigning the oral presentations
      • Jasmine to include requests for lightning talks in abstract submission forms
        • A third type of presentation
        • Not for poster adverts
        • Designed for public engagement efforts, techniques, datasets, etc.
      • Jonny to consult the UCL diversity/inclusion rep about how best to navigate the location of the after-meeting socialising

    Future NAM/Spring MIST meetings

    • NAM 2019 SOC will be set up by the end of the month
    • Then the call for sessions will go out (approx. November, deadline January)
    • Should Council construct a basic schedule of key sessions it would be useful to have (some interdisciplinary)? Should we avoid the open MIST session?
    • Ian to contact Mihalis M:
      • Get UKSP’s opinion on what sessions they would like to see
      • And which ones would make good cross-disciplinary sessions?
      • Have a few hour long UKSP+MIST joint forum embedded in NAM?
      • Councillors to think about this and come back at the next teleconference
        • End of Oct/beginning of Nov
      • Sarah to push NERC involvement in the community sessions
      • Is there scope for a joint UKSP+MIST out-of-town meeting after NAM?
    • NAM 2020:
      • Jonny to ask RAS Council what they have planned
    • We should consider UKSP/MIST joint meetings!

    G-MIST discussion meetings

    • Three upcoming meetings
      • Jasmine’s Sandhu’s storms and substorms meeting
      • Steve Miller and Nick Achilleos‘ H3+ meeting
      • Richard Harrison’s L5 space weather meeting
        • John to put this on the website
    • Should we encourage people to suggest meetings?
      • Ian to check with Mark Lester whether ideas are ‘in the pipeline’
      • The deadline will probably be March 2019
    • The MIST+PE occurred:
      • One of the meeting outcomes was that a press list would be useful
        • John to contact the RAS about their press list
        • John to include a note about a press list on the MIST website
          • Possibly with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
        • One outcome was that continued discussion would be good
          • John to email Sheila at RAS to see whether there’s scope for getting funding for a series of MIST+PE meetings under the RAS200 banner
          • John to suggest MIST+PE session to NAM 2019
          • Encourage lightning talks at Autumn MIST?
        • Is the MIST website/social media aiming at the public? Should it be?
          • John and Jasmine’s gut feeling is ‘no, and no’. The MIST website is aimed at the community.
        • How do we use online resources to support the MIST+PE community?
          • New page on the website to highlight MIST+PE work
            • John to populate this and then announce it to the community for feedback
          • #public-engagement channel on Slack

    Summer schools

    • We think that [redacted] would be a good host for 2024
      • Last year Jonny had an action to sound them out for a future summer school
      • Jonny to check whether that happened/follow that up
    • Ian to talk to Mihalis M to see what the plan is for the next phase of summer schools
    • John to get any extant feedback from Rob Fear and Claire Foullon
      • With a view to passing it to the 2019 summer schools
    • It might be best to avoid having two institutions be the same affiliation (UKSP/MIST) in the same year

    Community consultations

    • Last consultation was the SSAP consultation
    • These are often announced very close to the deadline
    • Should we have venues to discuss MIST tactics on funding? A “MIST forum”?
      • Solar missions forum is (somewhat) the UKSP equivalent
    • Sarah and Jonny to discuss a MIST forum in or near Lancaster for the day after NAM
      • RAS out-of-town meeting?

    Geophysics forums

    • Jonny to ask MISTHOGS whether Geophysics Forums are a good thing and get ball rolling on re-establishing them
      • On proviso that every group needs to send 1–2 people
      • Chaired by Mark Lester
      • Follow-up actions to be taken

    RAS and other awards

    • John to resubmit his Maunder award nomination
    • We could nominate [redacted] for [redacted] next year
    • IOP award deadline coming up in January
      • Submit RAS award nominations to the IOP award?
    • John to add the Alfvén award and the AGU awards to the website

    MIST website

    • It has received an upgrade courtesy of John and Q
      • John to chase Q to see how to pin posts (e.g. on the Nuggets page)
      • John to look at whether This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and other email addresses could be set up to redirect to various members of Council
      • John to look at getting a Twitter widget embedded on the website
      • John to split summer school list into past/future schools
      • John to check whether we have analytics


    • Jasmine has been doing great work on nuggets
    • John to replace ‘Science’ tab with ‘Nuggets’ tab on main menu
    • Jasmine to give guidelines on appropriate level for nuggets
      • Aimed at undergrad physics knowledge
      • No references!
      • Short text
      • One figure

    MISTHOGS mailing list

    • Being used, and has generally been well-received

    Doctoral Training Partnerships/Centres for Doctoral Training

    • Jonny fed into NERC at a relatively high level that a CDT is necessary
    • Next one is not us, but we think we are on the list of upcoming ideas
      • Jonny to see whether we’re still on the list
    • If CDTs are supposed to be cross-council, what about NERC+STFC?
    • How will UKRI affect this? They have a CDT on artificial intelligence
      • Jonny to speak to Robyn Thomas on how this has evolved
    • Lancaster has a PhD student starting on the new STFC data science CDT
    • Jonny put a comment into the SSAP consultation to use the UK spaceport for sounding rocket flights, balloons etc as a way to have PhD students (and the wider community) designing, building, analysing such missions
      • SSAP may endorse it in the report of unselected bits
      • If this occurs, Jonny to touch base with UKSA to try and move it forward

    MIST Council membership

    • Ian was elected Chair
    • Ian and Sarah will be at the end of their terms next year
    • We need to start thinking about who should succeed Ian
    • Some people asked whether they needed to be in post throughout the term they were standing for, and the answer is no — we should highlight that in future elections

    MIST Charter

    • John to put amendments to the vote with the MIST community
    • John also to remove “No intermediate counts will be revealed. Final vote totals will be released only to the candidates.”

    Any Other Business

    • We discussed the Strategic Priorities Fund:
      • Ian McCrea talked to Janet Seed, one of the things that UKRI do is look for overlapping bid ideas and combine them when they’re found
      • Other bodies are also allowed to bid into the process e.g. UKSA, Met Office
      • Ian McCrea requested STFC funding for a space weather idea. Others similar:
        • [redacted]
      • Ian’s idea is going through to phase two
    • Ian to talk to Lucy Carpenter to look at success rates of NERC standard grants

    Minutes from remote meeting on 2 August 2018

    MIST Council meetings

    • Face to face meeting will be at RAS on 19 September at 11am, with biscuits

    Autumn MIST

    • Ian has asked for a new quote with just afternoon catering, and is waiting to hear back
    • We can pay after the meeting to prevent people needing to register in advance
    • Theme of radiation belt physics, in honour of their 60th anniversary

    MIST Charter

    • John has set up a Slack for MIST because the charter says we must provide a forum
    • John will start putting minutes online
    • John suggested some amendments to the charter because we are currently in violation
      • Councillors to suggest changes to his circulated email before September
      • John to send out to the MIST list after the face-to-face meeting

    A&G issue

    • Oliver to tell Mike Lockwood about the deadline for his article and details (2000–2500 words, 3–4 figures)
    • John to talk to Sue Bowler about specific deadline for articles and also reprinting Henry Rishbeth's article
    • John to email the mailing list to see whether people have conference group photos, and get the Test MIST Special photo from Rob Fear
    • Jonny to ask Mervyn Freeman about his Rishbeth prize article
    • Ian will start an article looking back at the MIST community since 1997 with contributions from councillors to be circulated on/before 17 August

    Awards nominations

    • This part of the minutes discussed specific members of the MIST community and has been redacted

    SSAP consultation

    • Jonny thinks that it might be worth having forums in MIST to corral the community behind consultations
    • Sarah suggests consulting the community on this at Autumn MIST

    Notes from MIST Council meeting 29/10/12

    29 October 2012, Conference room 13, RAL

    Participants: Mike Hapgood, Emma Woodfield, Mario Bisi, Rob Fear, David Southwood

    1. Agree agenda
      1. Agenda agreed
    2. Draft SSAP report
      1. Draft and Agreed note to send on behalf of STP community
      2. Sent 4 minutes before formal deadline at noon
      3. Put on MIST web site
    3. Autumn MIST
      1. Coffee and rooms are booked
        1. RAS LT for talks
        2. Council room for coffee
      2. Can have 3 sessions and run until about 17:00
      3. Tim Horbury to give invited talk
      4. Will need talk on state of MIST
      5. Deadline is coming Friday (2 Nov) - already have 6 abstracts
      6. Posters
        1. Suggestion to put boards against Council table
        2. But this limits us to use one side of board
        3. Will review when we know how many posters we have
    4. Dungey Special Meeting and Lecture
      1. Reviewed David's draft annoucement
      2. David chasing up other old students of Jim
      3. Looking for younger scientists to talk about topics on which Jim has worked
        1. ULF waves
        2. reconnection
        3. radiation belts
      4. Meeting is in GeolSoc LT so can handle 200+
        1. but some concern we may exceed this
        2. do we need tickets so numbers are controlled?
        3. David may ask Imperial secretary to collect registrations
    5. NAM 2013
      1. Plenaries
        1. First choice is Mark Lester as Mark missed slot at NAM 2012
        2. Other possibilities
          • Andrew Fazakerley - follow up to his Chapman Medal
          • Malcolm Dunlop - SWARM
          • Richard Horne - RBSP
        3. Mike to discuss with SOC
      2. How to build programme?
        1. Need to make a Call for Ideas
        2. Start Call at Autumn MIST
    6. MIST web site
      1. Rob and Emma now in control of web site
      2. Reviewed content on-line and agreed some changes
      3. Remove old links
      4. Tidy up list of groups
      5. Collect data on indicators of esteem for MIST scientists
        • Fellowships
        • Awards and Named Lectures
    7. Promoting our science
      1. Briefing papers
        1. Mike to chase up old list ot proposed papers
        2. Some exist in draft form
        3. EISCAT_3D should be a priority
        4. Re-prompt for ideas at Autumn MIST
        5. Can authors recycle material from proposals
        6. Other options
          • Rad belts - can Spacecast help?
          • Artificial aurora - Lancaster?
          • History - David interested to write about Alfven, Chapman, Dungey and Birkeland
      2. Promote outreach sites
        1. SunEarthPlan.net
        2. SolarStormWatch
    8. AOB
      1. Should we have a MIST equivalent to UKSP nuggets?
        1. How to sustain?
      2. MIST Council election 2013
        1. needs to take place before "Spring MIST" @ NAM2013
        2. Mike to flag this at Autumn MIST
        3. circulate note to Heads of Groups - ask them to encourage candidates so we have a good election
      3. Date of next MIST Council meeting
        1. telecon in Feb/Mar 2013
      4. Rishbeth Prize money
        1. Mike to check status with RAS