Solar-Terrestrial Environment

St Andrews and Glasgow are world-leading groups in solar, magnetospheric, and laboratory plasma physics research. As team members on most major solar physics space missions both groups are poised to make major joint contributions to future international solar and space weather research. Both institutes have a wide range of expertise ranging from signal analysis and interpretation of data to theoretical modelling and supercomputing simulations.

Missions and Instruments:

St. Andrews and Glasgow are team members in the following present and future space missions.

  • Present Missions : SoHO, TRACE, RHESSI, Cluster, ACE, Fast.
  • Future Missions : Solar-B, SDO, Stereo, Solar Orbiter.

Data Analysis Techniques :

A wide range of analysis techniques span both groups. These include:

  • Spectroscopy.
  • Wavelet Analysis.
  • Inverse Problems.

Theoretical Modelling.

Theoretical modelling with in the groups ranges from 2 & 3D analytical models to 3D supercomputer simulations. The simulations include :

  • Full 3d MHD (Magneto-Hydrodynamic) Simulations.
  • Kinetic Simulations.
  • Particle Codes.

To carry out these simulations both groups own parallel supercomputing clusters.

Topics Studied:

Our theoretical, observational and modelling expertise is being applied to a range of solar and solar-terrestrial phenomena. Major areas of interest include:

  • Coronal Mass Ejections : These events occur when a large amount of material is ejected from the Sun. This material may then compress the Earth's Magnetosphere and cause Aurora and damage to satellites.
  • Solar Flares :Solar flares are tremendous explosions on the surface of the Sun which may release as much energy as a billion megatons of TNT in the form of accelerated particles, mass motion and coronal mass ejections.
  • Magnetospheric Physics : Low-frequency wave oscillations in the earth's magnetosphere are studied where these oscillations are a result of the interaction of the solar wind with the earth's magnetosphere.