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Space Physics and Space Weather

Space Physics and Space Weather

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Space Physics and Space Weather

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  1. Space Physics and Space Weather • Space: “empty” volume between bodies (solid bodies are excluded) • Space physics: space within solar system (astrophysics is not space physics) • Solar-terrestrial relations: space physics focused on solar wind and terrestrial space • Space plasma physics: application of plasma physics to space • Space physics: Coriolis force and gravity not important (unless noted) • Space weather: space physics applications. Space phenomena that endanger space assets and applications and human in space • Space physics: electromagnetic field + charged particles • Require significant math: • Working on but not solving partial differential equations in this class • Vector operations • Require: electromagnetics (additional reading may help)


  3. Magnetic clouds


  5. Regions in Space • Solar wind (sun’s atmosphere, but not bonded by gravity): plasma (ions and electrons in equal number but not attached to each other) stream flows out continuously, but with variations, from the sun with extremely high speeds into the interplanetary space. Note: in space, all ions are positively charged. • Formation of the magnetosphere: the solar wind deflected by the geomagnetic field. • Magnetopause: the boundary separates the magnetosphere from the solar wind (crucial for any solar wind entry). • Bow shock: standing upstream of the magnetopause, because the solar wind is highly supersonic. • Magnetosheath: the region between the bow shock and the magnetopause.

  6. Regions in Space, cont. • Magnetotail: the magnetosphere is stretched by the solar wind on the nightside. • Radiation belts: where most energetic particles are trapped, (major issue for space mission safety). • Plasmasphere: inner part of magnetosphere with higher plasma density of ionospheric origin. • Ionosphere: (80 ~ 1000 km) regions of high density of charged particles of earth origin. • Thermosphere: (> 90 km) neutral component of the same region as the ionosphere. The temperature can be greater than 1000 K.

  7. Space Weather Phenomena • Magnetic storms (hurricanes in space) • Global-scale long-lasting geomagnetic disturbances • Magnetic substorms (tornadoes in space) • Impulsive geomagnetic disturbances • Auroras (rains from space) • Enhanced energetic particle precipitations associated with storms/substorms • Ionospheric plasma density disturbances (fog?) • Destruction of the layered structure of the ionosphere. • Enhanced extremely high-energy particle fluxes (hails?)

  8. Here are the links to the movies - just used to illustrate not with their audio - but I think the class might like them: New Slide 11 (Left) Title: STEREO Tracks Solar Storms From Sun To Earth (Right) Title: Substorms The point being not the accuracy of the depiction but that substorms are localized events and lead to aurroa New Slide 12 (Left) Title: Aurora from Orbit Sept. 17, 2011 The 5 min movie of aurora from ISS but it is too big to email: (Right) Aurora from Earth The other movies on New Slide 23 just show the 3 ways of describing plasma.


  10. Evidence for Space Processes Aurora: emissions caused by high energy charged particle precipitation into the upper atmosphere from space. Geomagnetic field: caused by electric currents below the earth’s surface. Geomagnetic storm/substorm: period of large geomagnetic disturbances. Periodicity of magnetic storms: ~ 27 days. Rotation of the Sun: 26 ~ 27 days.

  11. Space physics started with observations of the aurora. Old Testament references to auroras. Greek literature speaks of “moving accumulations of burning clouds” Chinese literature has references to auroras prior to 2000BC

  12. Galileo theorized that aurora is caused by air rising out of the Earth’s shadow to where it could be illuminated by sunlight. (Note he also coined the name aurora borealis meaning “northern dawn”.) Descartes thought they are reflections from ice crystals. Halley suggested that auroral phenomena are ordered by the Earth’s magnetic field. In 1731 the French philosopher de Mairan suggested they are connected to the solar atmosphere.

  13. By the 11th century the Chinese had learned that a magnetic needle points north-south. By the 12th century the European records mention the compass. That there was a difference between true north and the direction of the compass needle (declination) was known by the 16th century. William Gilbert (1600) realized that the field was dipolar. In 1698 Edmund Halley organized the first scientific expedition to map the field in the Atlantic Ocean.

  14. Model Si Nan (Pointing to South) of Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). South pointing Fish of Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127). South pointing Turtle of Southern Song Dynasty (1127–1279). Compass for navigation

  15. Plasma • A plasma is an electrically neutral ionized gas. • The Sun is a plasma • Interplanetary medium: the space between the Sun and the Earth is “filled” with a plasma. • The Earth is surrounded by plasmas: magnetosphere, ionosphere. • Planetary magnetospheres, ionospheres • A stroke of lightning forms plasma • Over 99% of the Universe is plasma. • Although neutral, a plasma is composed of charged particles- electric and magnetic forces are critical to understand plasmas. • Plasma physics: three descriptions • Single particle theory • Fluid theory • Kinetic theory

  16. The Sun's mass makes up over 99.85% of the Solar System, and since it is nearly all in the plasma state, over 99.9% of the mass of the Solar System is in the plasma state. The Solar System edited by Thérèse Encrenaz, Published 2004 Springer, ISBN 3540002413. Page 1 Introduction to Plasma Physics: With Space and Laboratory Applications, by Donald A. Gurnett, Published 2005 Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521364833, Page 2

  17. A plasma is an electrically neutral ionized gas. Definition of a Plasma The plasma approximation: Charged particles must be close creating collective behavior. Bulk interactions: Electrical screening lengths are short compared to the physical size of the plasma. Quasineutrality: The electron plasma frequency is large compared to the electron-neutral collision frequency, so they can quickly shield externally applied electric fields. Degree of Ionization α = ni/(ni + na) Temperature Densities Electric Potential (fields and circuits) Magnetization (anisotropic) Filaments Shocks

  18. A plasma is an electrically neutral ionized gas. Gas vs. Plasma

  19. Plasma physics: three descriptions • Single particle theory • Fluid theory • Kinetic theory

  20. Forces on charged particles(single particle theory) • Electric force FE = qE • Magnetic force FB = qvxB (like coriolis force) • Lorentz force F = qE + qvxB • Neutral forces Fg =mg,

  21. The units of B are N/(C.m/s) or N/(A.m) in SI units(MKS). This is called a Tesla. One Tesla is a very strong field. • A commonly used smaller unit is the Gauss. 1 T = 104 G • (Have to convert Gauss to Tesla in formulas in MKS)

  22. Single Particle Motion • SI Units • mass (m) - kg • length (l) - m • time (t) - s • electric field (E) - V/m • magnetic field (B) - T • velocity (v) - m/s • Fg stands for non-electromagnetic forces (e.g. gravity) - usually ignorable.

  23. Electric Field Added to a Plasma (B=0) Eexternal

  24. Electron Plasma Frequency Eexternal

  25. If q is positive particle gyrates in left handed sense • If q is negative particle gyrates in a right handed sense

  26. Use right hand rule to find the direction of F. F=q v x B Negative Charge Positive Charge

  27. v 1 x x r x x 2 Example: If a proton moves in a circle of radius 21 cm perpendicular to a B field of 0.4 T, what is the speed of the proton and the frequency of motion?

  28. Gyro motion • The gyro radius is a function of energy. • Energy of charged particles is usually given in electron volts (eV) • Energy that a particle with the charge of an electron gets in falling through a potential drop of 1 Volt- 1 eV = 1.6X10-19 Joules (J). • Energies in space plasmas go from electron Volts to kiloelectron Volts (1 keV = 103 eV) to millions of electron Volts (1 meV = 106 eV) • Cosmic energies go to gigaelectron Volts ( 1 geV = 109 eV). • The circular motion does no work on a particle Only the electric field can energize particles! The magnetic force does no work on a particle

  29. Pitch angle and magnetic moment