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PHSI422 Upper Atmospheric and Space Physics

Paper Description

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.

Prerequisites:
PHSI 332

This paper consists of 15 lectures and 3 tutorials. There are 3 assignments.

Assesment:
Final Exam 70%, Assignments 30%

Important information about assessment for PHSI422

Course Coordinator:
Dr Annika Seppälä

The overall goal of this course is to provide each student with solid understanding of principles of the Sun-Earth system and how different parts of this highly dynamic system are connected via physics.

By the end of the course 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

Topics:

  • Introduction to the Sun-Earth system
  • The Sun: structure from core to corona, origins of solar magnetic field, solar activity
  • Solar magnetic field and its expansion to space: The Interplanetary magnetic field, solar wind
  • Earth's magnetic field: From dipole to interaction with solar wind
  • Outer and inner magnetosphere
  • Currents and plasma in the magnetic field, radiation belts
  • Movement of particles in the magnetic field, bounce and drift
  • Interaction with solar activity, storms in the magnetosphere, acceleration and loss of particles, waves in plasma
  • Ionosphere: formation and layers, electric fields, conductivity and currents, aurora
  • Neutral atmosphere: Structure, composition, dynamics and circulation, interaction of the neutral atmosphere with solar activity and the magnetosphere

 


Formal University Information

The following information is from the University’s corporate web site.


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Details

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) $640.66
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $2,676.93

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Limited to
BSc(Hons), PGDipSci, MSc
Contact
annika.seppala@otago.ac.nz
Teaching staff
Course co-ordinator: Dr Annika Seppälä
Textbooks
Text books 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
The overall goal of this paper is to provide each student with a solid understanding of the principles of the Sun-Earth system and how different parts of this highly dynamic system are connected via physics.

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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Timetable

Second Semester

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
None