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PHSI422 Upper Atmospheric and Space Physics

Physics of Earth’s atmosphere, our space environment, the Sun, and space plasma. The course provides students with a physical understanding of interactions in the Sun-Earth system.

Paper title Upper Atmospheric and Space Physics
Paper code PHSI422
Subject Physics
EFTS 0.0833
Points 10 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $704.22
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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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

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system