Space physics from University of Helsinki gets its first-ever International Space Science Institute team

Lucile Turc to work on mystery waves that transmit in the near-Earth space.

For the very first time space physics at University of Helsinki gets an International Space Science Institute (ISSI) team. It is Marie Curie Fellow Lucile Turc from the Department of Physics that will head an international space science team to investigate one of the great mysteries in space physics that has been under research for a long time without any answers. There has not been enough data or good enough models to do that, so far.

Understanding the radiation environment in space

”This mystery is about how some electromagnetic waves travel through our near-Earth space, while no one knows why and how. We know where these waves come from, they come from a very turbulent region just beyond the magnetic bubble formed by our planet’s magnetic field. We know that these waves somehow enter our magnetic bubble, because we observe them in there, and even at the Earth’s surface. But what happens in between has so far eluded us. These waves are critical e.g. in understanding the radiation environment,” Lucile Turc says.

Vlasiator code can describe the processes from which the waves originate

In the recent years, more and more scientific spacecraft have collected data in the different regions of near-Earth space. Also, novel supercomputer models, such as the Vlasiator code developed at the University of Helsinki, can now describe the small processes from which the waves originate in their global context, the whole near-Earth space.

Combining these measurements and modelling tools now makes it possible to track the waves throughout their journey towards the Earth, but requires a wide-ranging expertise.

“That’s where the ISSI team comes into play: it brings together scientists from different background, to finally solve the mystery of the waves’ propagation,” Lucile Turc says.

An ISSI team for new science

The International Space Science Institute is an organisation for a deeper understanding of the results from different space missions, ground based observations and laboratory experiments worldwide. The setting is multi- and interdisciplinary, and to foster international networking, the institute selects, after a highly competitive evaluation, international teams to reach out for new scientific horizons.

“To get an ISSI team means that the team leader may gather a group of exceptional international scientists from all over the world to work with,” Professor Minna Palmroth of University of Helsinki explains.

For more:
Global Study of the Transmission of Foreshock ULF Waves into the Magnetosheath and the Magnetosphere, Turc and Palmroth, on the selected science objective list by ISSI
The team’s website
Lucile Turc’s website

Lucile Turc, @LucileTurc, 050 311 9499, (in English), for contact in Finnish, Minna Palmroth, @MinnaPalmroth, 050 311 1950,
Minna Meriläinen-Tenhu, @MinnaMeriTenhu, 050 415 0316,