Non-linear physics of the solar wind and impacts at earth

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Physics


Astrophysical plasmas are observed to act as efficient particle accelerators, converting electromagnetic field energy into particle energy and heat. Fully non-linear fundamental plasma processes such as reconnection, shocks and turbulence are observed to accelerate the plasma, but these processes are yet to be fully understood. Open questions include how the solar wind is heated and whether this is the result of a universal mechanism, and how shocks increase entropy in the absence of collisions. The solar wind and planetary shocks offer a uniquely diagnosed natural observatory for these phenomena: in-situ satellite observations are available from sub-second timescales to that of the solar cycle. As well as being of fundamental physical interest, the physics of the solar wind is central to understanding space weather impacts on earth.
This project involves quantitative analysis of these datasets in order to further our understanding of the physics of these nonlinear phenomena and to quantify their role in plasma heating and particle acceleration. Data analysis of the geomagnetic response at earth, alongside that of the solar wind, will connect these results into our understanding of space weather.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/N504506/1 01/10/2015 31/03/2021
1622697 Studentship ST/N504506/1 05/10/2015 31/03/2019 Elizabeth Tindale