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Magnetospheric Research at MSSL

We are active in four main areas of magnetospheric research: the cusp, the magnetopause, the inner magnetosphere and magnetotail & substorm physics. In addition we are studying key boundaries such as the bow shock and the underlying physical processes which form them. We are particularly interested in magnetic reconnection at the magnetopause and in the magnetotail.

One of the targets for our magnetospheric research is to determine the acceleration process for relativistic electrons which populate the Earth's radiation belts. This is of interest in space weather studies, in particular for the prediction of 'killer electrons' which can affect satellites.

We are also studying plasma processes which are at work in the Earth's plasma sheet and magnetotail.

The principal tool we use for this research is data from the ESA 4-spacecraft Cluster mission, to be augmented by Double Star in the near future. We also use data from the CRRES, Polar, Interball, Geotail and Wind satellites and from the Cassini Earth flyby.

We are active in the field of comparative magnetospheres, in particular what the magnetospheres of Jupiter, Saturn and Mercury, and the solar wind interactions with Mars and comets, can tell us about our own magnetosphere.

June 2006
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