Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

PHSI422 Upper Atmospheric and Space Physics

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website

Upper atmospheric properties; solar interaction; ionosphere; plamsa dynamics including: single particle motion in a spatially varying magnetic field, collision effects; plasma waves: propagation and amplification, cyclotron wave modes.

Paper title Upper Atmospheric and Space Physics
Paper code PHSI422
Subject Physics
EFTS 0.0833
Points 10 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $673.90
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $2,981.97

^ Top of page

Limited to
BSc(Hons), PGDipSci, MSc
Teaching staff
Course co-ordinator: Dr Annika Seppälä

Textbooks are not required for this paper.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

This course provides an introduction to the physics of the Earth's atmosphere, our space environment, and the Sun. Starting from the Sun we will trace the paths taken by solar photons, protons and electrons through the solar system, the Earth's magnetic field, ionosphere, finally reaching the atmosphere.

By the end of the paper you are expected to have gained understanding of the following:

  • Principles of plasma physics as applied to space physics
  • Properties of space plasmas, including quasi neutrality
  • Mechanisms and equations controlling the motion of particles in a non-uniform magnetic field
  • Electrical conductivity and current systems in the Earth's ionosphere
  • Structure of the neutral atmosphere
  • Derivation of hydrostatic equations for the neutral atmosphere
  • Familiarity of various observation techniques used to monitor solar activity, geospace and the atmosphere
  • How to use observations and geospace simulations to track propagation and impact of solar storms throughout the Sun-Earth system

^ Top of page


Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system