Space Plasma and Magnetospheric Physics (SPMP | INU7026U)

Description: Introduction [1]
Plasmas in the solar system, solar effects on Earth, historical context of the development of this rapidly developing field

Plasmas [3]
What is a plasma, and what is special about space plasmas; Debye shielding, introduction to different theoretical methods of describing plasmas

Single Particle Theory [6]
Particle motion in various electric and magnetic field configurations; magnetic mirrors; adiabatic invariants; particle energisation

Earth's Radiation Belts [3]
Observed particle populations; bounce motion, drift motion; South Atlantic Anomaly; drift shell splitting; source and acceleration of radiation belt particles; transport and loss of radiation belt particles

Introduction to Magnetohydrodynamics [3]
Limits of applicability; convective derivative; pressure tensor; continuity equation; charge conservation and field aligned currents; equation of motion; generalised Ohm's law; frozen-in flow; magnetic diffusion; equation of state; fluid drifts; magnetic pressure and tension

The Solar Wind [3]
Introduction, including concept of heliosphere; fluid model of the solar wind (Parker); interplanetary magnetic field and sector structure; fast and slow solar wind; solar wind at Earth; coronal mass ejections

The Solar Wind Interaction with Unmagnetised Bodies [2]
The Moon; Venus, Comets

The Solar Wind and Magnetised Bodies (I) [4]
Closed Magnetosphere Model
The ring current, boundary currents; shape of the magnetopause; corotation; convection driven by viscous flow

The Solar Wind and Magnetised Bodies (II) [3] Open Magnetosphere Model, Steady State
Magnetic reconnection; steady state convection; currents and potentials in an open magnetosphere; the magnetotail; the plasmasphere; the aurorae

The Solar Wind and Magnetised Bodies (III) [2]
Open Magnetosphere Model, Non-Steady State
Phases of a substorm; Substorm current systems and unanswered questions about substorms; magnetic storms; dayside reconnection.

This module is taught at UCL