MIST

Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial

Latest news

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.
 
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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.

New community resources now available

MIST Council are pleased to announce three resources for the MIST community on the MIST website.

List of research groups

The list of MIST research groups has been updated to include the latest members of the MIST community, and to incorporate the latest links to their presences online. Old groups, or groups at institutions which have merged since the original list was written, are now excised, and the list should be an exhaustive and up-to-date list of British MIST institutions.

List of seminar speakers

We asked the MIST community to come forward and be listed on our list of seminar speakers, and the uptake has so far been very encouraging. The list ranges from relatively junior PhD students to academics at various institutions, and if you're arranging seminars for your research group, we would encourage you to take a look.

List of public engagement projects

Following the success of the recently-held Public Engagement in MIST (MIST+PE) symposium, there was an appetite for MIST Council to better advertise the public engagement being done at MIST institutions across the UK. The Public Engagement page on the MIST website aims to advertise the MIST community's strengths to the rest of the community.

If you spot omissions on any of the above pages, or would like us to include content, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

New mailing list for Python in space science

A new mailing list for space scientists who use Python has been founded. Angeline Burrell writes: 

There's been a recent push for more community python development and peer-to-peer support. Much of this is focused in the US at the moment, but as the results of the recent survey showed, MIST scientists are active or interested in python as well. If you would like to become involved, you can join the email list by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The mailing list will comprise discussion as well as webinars/telecons from Python users, so the list should be useful for a range of abilities with Python. To join, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Public Engagement

If you work on a public engagement project which is not listed here, please contact us with a short abstract, any web links, and who is working on it, and we'll include it in the list!

AuroraWatch UK

AuroraWatch UK offers free alerts of when the northern lights, or aurora borealis, can be seen from the UK. Alerts are issued based on real-time data from AuroraWatch UK and citizen science instruments, called magnetometers, that measure geomagnetic activity associated with the aurora. With well over 100,000 subscribers this incredibly popular service also engages its subscribers about the science behind the aurora and space weather. AuroraWatch UK is run by Lancaster University, who are very active in the media, frequently appearing on TV and radio and being quoted in national newspaper articles. They also run wide-ranging outreach events about the aurora and other planets in our solar system. For more details, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Elastic Band Magnetosphere

Created for the Aurora Explorer exhibit at the 2011 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, this interactive demonstrates some of the dynamics of Earth’s magnetosphere such as magnetopause motion, tail reconnection and ULF waves by using brightly coloured elastic bands / bungee cords. The exhibit was created by Imperial College London, and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.

MUSICS

MUSICS (Magnetospheric Undulations Sonified Incorporating Citizen Scientists) enables school students to collaboratively experience and contribute to space weather research in 6-month long projects. They explore ultra-low frequency satellite wave data of Earth’s magnetic shield by listening to it and using audio software. Unexpected science results have been found such as long-lasting decreasing-frequency poloidal waves following geomagnetic storms. The audio and tools for using it are now publicly available via NOAA and thus can be adopted by any MIST researchers in their work with schools or the public. For more details, contact Martin Archer.

Planeterrella

The planeterrella is an update of a century-old experiment by a Norwegian scientist named Kristian Birkeland and is very visually beautiful. There are planeterrellas at the University of Leicester and the University of Southampton, based on designs developed in France by Jean Lilensten. The planeterrella has appeared on QI, and also appears at schools and festivals around the UK. For more details, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Raspberry Pi School Magnetometer project

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. helps run the Raspberry Pi School Magnetometer project at the British Geological Survey. The magnetometer is a very sensitive instrument which allows schools to make measurements of the Earth’s magnetic field, in particular to sense the aurora during geomagnetic storms. The project is jointly run with Lancaster University. Around ten schools in the UK have been involved in the project since 2015.

SMILE

SMILE is a joint mission by European Space Agency and Chinese Academy of Sciences, and is due for launch in late 2023.  The SMILE satellite will have a highly-inclined orbit with apogee at about 19 RE.  SMILE will have an X-ray imager to  to monitor the magnetopause, and a UV imager, to observe the northern hemisphere ionosphere.  An in situ light ion analyser and a magnetometer complete the instrument suite. We are running a long-term project with a set of schools, so that they can follow the SMILE mission through the design, build, testing, launch, and science operations of the mission. We are extending this programme to community and adult education groups. For more details, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SSFX

SSFX (Space Sound Effects), in partnership with several film industry organisations, challenged independent filmmakers to incorporate the usually inaudible sounds from space into short films in creative ways. Seven films were selected and were screened at bespoke events as well as infiltrating 16 existing film festivals and over 500 events across 8 countries. The diverse audiences reached typically wouldn’t attend science events. An anthology film containing the shorts and a framing story narratively depicting the effects of space weather is now online. Contact Martin Archer for access to any of the films in a variety of formats for use at your events.