MIST

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.

Les Houches Physics School

The Les Houches Physics School, entitled "The multiple approaches to plasma physics from laboratory to astrophysics" is to be held on 13–24 May 2019 in Les Houches, France. Pre-registration for the conference is now open, and will close on 15 February 2019. The venue for the school can hold 46 participants and, as such, selected attendees will be notified at the beginning of March.
 
 
This two-week school held in the French Alps focuses on plasma physics and its manifestations in laboratory experiments, space environment and in astrophysics. It targets an international audience primarily composed of PhD students and junior postdoctoral researchers. The objective is to introduce the participants to a wide range of fundamental aspects of plasma physics, as well as to the state-of-the-art in many of the sub-disciplines. The school will feature blackboard-style lectures, hands-on activities, talks on latest research, presentation by students, as well as group work such as journal clubs and social activities. This school is the latest of a series of programs held every two years since 2011 at the  Les Houches School of Physics on similar topics (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017).

More information about the Les Houches Physics School can be found at the school's website. If you have any questions, the organising committee can This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Read more: Les Houches Physics School

NAM 2019 parallel session proposals now open

The Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting (NAM) will be held on the campus of Lancaster University from Sunday 30th June to Thursday 4th July 2019. The official website is available here. In addition to the UK's astronomy community, the meeting includes the UK Solar Physics (UKSP) and Magnetosphere Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial (MIST) communities. Lancaster is the home to a large and active MIST group, and so the MIST community will be right at home next year!

Isobel Hook and Jim Wild, on the behalf of the organisers, write:

We now invite the community to submit proposals for parallel sessions to be held at NAM2019. Proposals are welcome for sessions covering all aspects of NAM, UKSP, and MIST science, including cross-discipline sessions.

The deadline for submitting parallel session proposals is Monday 7 January 2019 at 17:30 UTC and proposals should be submitted here.

EISCAT symposium 2019

The dates and location for the 2019 International EISCAT symposium have been announced. It will be held in 19–23 August 2019 at the University of Oulu, Finland. A radar summer school will be held in the preceding week, and a full announcement and website will follow soon.

Andrew Kavanagh writes:

Given that EISCAT 3D is scheduled to come on-line in 2021 this is a great opportunity to develop new collaborations, get up to speed on the science EISCAT can facilitate (including E3D), and give students/postdocs a head start in working with the new system.

EISCAT has put together some cartoons showing how EISCAT 3D will operate under different scenarios including simultaneous multi-user experiments. Check out these illustrations of the beam switch timing and ability to switch between modes on the order of a second!

FReSWeD 2019 in San Juan, Argentina

The Towards Future Research on Space Weather Drivers (FReSWeD 2019) workshop will be held between 2–7 July 2019 in San Juan, Argentina. More details can be found on the workshop's website, including details of how to join the pre-registration mailing list. Attendees are urged to book travel and lodging as soon as possible, since a large number of tourists are expected to come to observe the eclipse.

Hebe Cremades, Cristina Mandrini, and Carlos Francile (on behalf of the LOC/SOC) write:

This space weather workshop and its associated school are being organized on the occasion of the total solar eclipse of 2019, whose totality path will cross five provinces of Argentina extending for more than 1200 km.

Read more: FReSWeD 2019 in San Juan, Argentina

Collaborative public engagement with MIST science

A meeting entitled “Collaborative public engagement with MIST science” is to be held at the University of Leicester on 3 September 2018. Registration for the meeting is open until 10 August 2018. The conference fee is £35 and it includes refreshments and a two course lunch. There are a limited number of spaces open to PhD students for which the conference fee will be waived; these will go to the first 18 PhD students to register online.
 
This meeting brings together those in the MIST community who are interested in engaging the public with MIST science. There is much excellent public engagement already being done: workshops and talks will help identify our strengths and weaknesses in this area, and to work out how we can build on those to improve the public engagement across the community.

Jean Lilensten, the instigator of the planeterrella outreach programme, has accepted our invitation to give a presentation on his work and will be joining discussions and workshops throughout the day.
 
The co-convenors are John Coxon (Southampton), Gabby Provan (Leicester), Jasmine Sandhu (MSSL) and Jim Wild (Lancaster). If you would like to contact them, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..