MIST

Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial

Latest news

Call for proposals for ESA's Living Planet Fellowship

ESA is currently inviting proposals for their Living Planet Fellowship with a deadline of 15 March 2021. These fellowships, worth a maximum of €110k, are intended:

To support young scientists, at post-doctoral level, to undertake cutting-edge research in Earth Observation, Earth System Science or Climate Research, maximising the scientific return of ESA and European EO missions and datasets through the development of novel EO methods, techniques and products, and by delivering excellent scientific results addressing the grand Earth Science challenges of the next decade, enabling improved predictions of the physical interaction of society with the Earth system.

Interested candidates need to propose a two-year-long research plan which contributes to either of the two themes of the fellowship: "Advancing novel methods and techniques" or "Advancing Earth system science". The call also includes opportunities in the use of cloud computing capabilities; to support small ground-based experiments and in situ data collection; and a visiting scientist scheme to join the new ESA Earth System Science Hub.

Questions related to the call can be submitted via email, and must be "not later than two weeks before the Closing Date" (i.e. by the end of February 2021). The timeline for the fellowships is as follows:

Milestone Date
Submission of proposals 15 March 2021 
Communication of results* Q2 2021
Beginning of activities* Q3 2021

*tentative

"Mental Health and Wellbeing in the MIST Community": A series of panel discussions

We are hosting a series of pre-recorded panel discussions on the topic of "Mental Health and Wellbeing in the MIST Community", exploring the sources and impacts within our community as well as discussing ways to move forwards. The discussions will focus on both individual and community-wide perspectives, and will consider perspectives from a range of career stages. The panel discussions will separately focus on views from a) PhD students, b) PDRAs, and c) Tenure positions. 
 
To ensure that the discussion focuses on the needs and issues most important to the MIST Community, we request your input on questions that you would like to pose to the panel, as well as specific topics that you would like to see covered. To suggest questions & topics, please use the following form: https://forms.gle/J4QS5JdaVCo1hF6z7 and submit your suggestions by Friday 26 February. Please note that any responses on the form are completely anonymous.
 
For support with mental health and wellbeing concerns, we recommend the following resources: https://ras.ac.uk/education-and-careers/places-you-can-find-support.
 
If you have any other questions, concerns, or would like to discuss anything in further detail, please get in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Seminar: Python tutorial for space physics

The Planetary Science Group at Leicester are hosting a virtual seminar on 27 January 2021 at 14:00. The speaker is Dr Angeline Burrell from the US Naval Research Laboratory and her talk is titled: "Python tutorial for space physics". The seminar will be held on Microsoft Teams (click here to join), and the abstract is below.

Python is a free and open source programming language that is very useful for scientific data analysis.  Many members of the space physics community have developed packages and tools to perform specialised functions commonly used within the community.  In this presentation, I will provide several examples showing how Python can be used to display data, perform common data analysis operations, and perform space physics specific analysis.  I will also go over some basics of responsible programming practices, which are applicable across all languages, and provide resources for learning more about Python, Python in space physics, and good programming practices in general.

Congratulations to the 2021 RAS Award winners

MIST Council would like to extend their congratulations to the 2021 Royal Astronomical Society Award winners.

In particular, we congratulate the following members of the MIST and wider space physics community that have been recognised for their outstanding achievements and contributions:

Winton Award: Dr Julia E. Stawarz, Imperial College London
Chapman Medal: Professor Ineke de Moortel, University of St Andrews
Annie Maunder Medal: Professor Robert Walsh, University of Central Lancashire
Fowler Award: Dr Richard Morton, University of Northumbria
James Dungey Lecture: Dr Karen Aplin, University of Bristol

Further details on all the RAS 2021 award winners can be found on the RAS website.

2021 Astronomy Grants

The closing date for the 2021 Astronomy Grants Round is 4th March 2021. Submissions are accepted from now. The Astronomy Guidelines for Applicants have been revised and can be found via the links below (the PDF with the full guidance is available under the ‘who can apply’ section on both pages):

Applicants should ensure they have read the guidelines in detail and contact the office with any queries ahead of submission.

Key points or revisions from the 2020 guidelines have been briefly summarised below for information:

  • Page Limits – The page limit per project has been simplified and is no longer based on a requested FTE calculation.
  • Applicant/Project FTE – There has been a change to the upper limit for requested applicant FTE (25%, not including PI management time). The guidance for total FTE requests per project has also been updated and must be strictly adhered to.
  • Outreach Projects – Clarification on the page limit for outreach projects/outreach funding.
  • Pathways to Impact – UKRI removed the requirement to submit a pathways to impact plan in March 2020; however applicants should still consider impact as part of their case for support (see guidelines for further information).
  • Publications Table – Updates to the information required in the publications table.

New groups submitting their first consolidated grant proposal or those considering a consortium proposal are advised to inform the office ahead of submitting to the closing date. If you have any queries please 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..

RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting on Comparative equatorial Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Magnetosphere coupling (February 2021)

The RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting “Comparative equatorial Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Magnetosphere coupling” is to be held remotely on Friday 12 February 2021 from 10.30–15.30. It will be convened by Tom Stallard, Greg Hunt, and Beatriz Sanchez-Cano. Abstracts can be submitted here and should be submitted by the end of Tuesday 12 January 2021. To register, visit the RAS website for the meeting (free for Fellows and £5 for non-Fellows). The meeting will be held on Zoom and Gather.town.

The main goal of this meeting is to bring a bridge between different planetary communities that would help to understand how equatorial magnetic fields link the atmosphere with the surrounding space environment across a range of planetary bodies, providing us with a comparative view of how these regions interact, the currents, and dynamics that these interactions produce; click through to read the abstract.

Meeting abstract

Our understanding of planetary equatorial thermospheres and ionospheres, and the magnetic fields which thread them, has changed very significantly over the past decade, with a wealth of new measurements from orbiting spacecraft such as Mars Express, Cassini and Juno, as well as supporting ground-based telescope observations.

In some ways, individual planets have processes not observed elsewhere, a product of their unique setting (for example, the infalling of material from rings of Saturn) while in other case, what appear to be highly divergent worlds have very similar ionospheric structures (such as the localised weak ionosphere at the magnetic equator of both Earth and Jupiter). Discussions of these differing space environments will help improve our understanding of these similarities and differences, greatly improving our on-going observations of the thermospheres, ionospheres and magnetospheres at these planets.

Specific topics may include (but are not limited to):

• Formation of the Equatorial anomaly at Earth

• Localised aurora and ionospheric variations at Mars

• The azimuthal magnetic field anomalies measured inside Saturn’s rings, and the thermospheric driver of the currents that produce them

• The variation in ‘Ring-Rain’ falling from Saturn’s rings into the mid-latitude ionosphere

• The generation of Jupiter’s Lyman-alpha bulge and its relationship with the localised magnetic anomalies in Jupiter’s field