Centre of Excellence researchers to lead an international ISSI team

Marie Curie Fellow Lucile Turc will lead an International Space Science Institute (ISSI) team in 2018-2020. ISSI is an international organization that fosters scientific collaboration and networking. ISSI covers a wide spectrum of disciplines ranging from the physics of the solar system and planetary sciences to astrophysics and cosmology, and from Earth sciences to astrobiology.

Each year, ISSI selects a handful of international teams of experts to investigate outstanding science. Lucile’s team is the first Finland-led space physics team in more than 10 years.

Lucile’s team will investigate the transmission of ultra-low frequency electromagnetic waves across the near-Earth space. These waves are one of the long-lasting ultimate goals of space physics. They are critical electromagnetic energy transfer, but also play a role in adverse space weather effects, such as errors in navigation signals. Furthermore, they contribute to the near-Earth radiation environment, as they can accelerate particles.

One of the greatest outstanding questions in space physics is to understand how the ultra-low frequency waves transmit through the near-Earth space. They are observed far in the solar wind, nearer within our magnetic domain, and they even end up at the surface of our planet. There are very few studies tracking these waves throughout their journey across near-Earth space, leaving large gaps in our understanding of how they actually transmit. In particular, how the waves reach and cross the outer boundary of the Earth’s magnetosphere remains outstanding.

Lucile’s ISSI team will make use of the unprecedented coverage of near-Earth space provided by the large fleet of scientific spacecraft currently in operation. This observational study will be complemented with a numerical study using the Vlasiator simulation code, developed at the University of Helsinki. Vlasiator provides global simulations of near-Earth space while describing the small-scale processes from which the waves originate, and is thus an ideal tool to investigate their transmission across geospace.

- We have now all the necessary observations and models to study the near-Earth space in a global manner, but such a study remains challenging because it requires a wide-ranging expertise. That’s the point of our ISSI team, to bring together experts of the different parts of near-Earth space. I am really looking forward to our first team meeting, there will definitely be new exciting science results coming out of it, says the team leader Lucile Turc.

The selected ISSI team is composed of leading international researchers from USA, Mexico, Canada, Sweden, Greece and Czech Republic. The University of Helsinki researchers are the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow Lucile Turc (team leader), Centre of Excellence Director Minna Palmroth (co-leader) and Observations Team Leader Emilia Kilpua. Thanks to the opportunity offered by ISSI, this team will assemble in Bern to finally understand the transmission of waves across near-Earth space. These advances will directly contribute to the science goals of our Centre of Excellence by investigating how these waves affect the near-Earth radiation environment.


More information:


ISSI team website

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