Recruiting summer trainees for 2021

The UH Space Physics Group is recruiting summer trainees! Trainees will work with the space weather simulation Vlasiator and with projects investigating solar eruptions in the corona and interplanetary space. Both projects dealing with modelling and data analysis are possible. Experience with Python and basics of plasma physics are a plus, but not required. Most positions provide an excellent topic for BSc or MSc theses!

A short overview of some of our offered topics are listed below, full descriptions and staff members who can answer your questions can be found in our thesis section. Please indicate in your application which projects you are interested in and any preference between modelling, observations/data analysis or theory. Also, please indicate if you would like to do your BSc or MSc work based on your summer trainee work.

Please apply for these positions through the University of Helsinki Department of Physics summer trainee application system! The system opens on 11.1. and the deadline for applications is 1.2.2021.

  • Numerical analysis of Precipitation of particles from the Earth’s magnetosphere

Precipitation of particles from the Earth’s magnetosphere into the upper atmosphere is responsible not only for auroral emissions, but also for spacecraft charging and disruption of radio signals. It can be studied using the Vlasiator global kinetic model and compared with an empirical model which is a function of geomagnetic activity. Familiarity with Python is desired.

  • Hamiltonian approach to wave-particle interactions of relativistic electrons

The Earth’s radiation belts are the site of acceleration of relativistic electrons. This project will use Hamiltonian theoretical and numerical tools to quantify the energisation of electrons. This project is suitable for a student of theoretical physics or applied mathematics.

  • Identifying Moving Radio Sources Associated with Solar Storms Using Radio Observations and Modelling of Magnetic Fields

This project combines radio observations from ground-based facilitates and UH space physics teams advanced coronal models to study emission mechanisms and origins of radio bursts in solar eruptions. The work will be done most in Python. Training will be provided to use the required tools.

  • Investigating wave activity caused by solar storms in near-Earth space

Solar storms are the main drivers of disturbed space weather at Earth. They create large disturbances in near-Earth space, including intense wave activity. This project will investigate how large-amplitude disturbances found within solar storms transmit into the Earth’s magnetosphere. The work will be based on the analysis of spacecraft and ground-based measurements to study the response of near-Earth space from multiple viewpoints.

  • Coronal Mass Ejection parameter investigation with EUHFORIA

Modelling Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) is key for space weather research. UH is actively engaged in the development of a novel European space weather tool named EUHFORIA. For this project, the Trainee will focus in constraining CME modelling parameters by understanding how they affect the model output. The Trainee will learn Python programming as well as how to use modelling tools

  • Solar Energetic Particle properties in relation to Interplanetary conditions

Solar Energetic Particles (SEP) are key players in space weather related phenomena. The Trainee will investigate the observational features of strong (> 30 MeV) and extreme (> 300 MeV) SEP, as well as widespread SEP, and how they relate to different IMF conditions. During the training period the Trainee will learn how to interpret observational properties of SEP and solar related phenomena. Programming in Python will be a skill developed during this process.

  • The importance of pre- versus post-eruption flux in solar eruptions

Solar flares and filament eruptions are the sources of Coronal Mass Ejections. In both eruptive events pre-existing flux and post-eruption reconnection flux are considered to be the contributors to the released magnetic flux in the CME. However, it is still not well established to what extent reconnection-based flux contributes, especially in filament eruptions. To investigate this the Summer Trainee will identify a sample of Coronal Mass Ejections associated to either of these eruptions, estimate their reconnection flux and pre-existing flux, and analyse the results. Programming in Python will be a skill developed during this process.

  • Multi-wavelength analysis of solar eruption source regions

The nearest star to our planet, the Sun exhibits all sorts of small-scale eruptions and large-scale explosions in various wavelengths. The signatures of these emissions can be seen throughout the electromagnetic (EM) spectra. The most intense outbursts on the Sun are known as Coronal mass ejections (CMEs).  The aim of this project is to work on identifying the source region and the emission mechanism of these eruptions in radio wavelengths, and associated phenomena in other wavelengths.

  • Identifying high-intensity space weather events for simulation validation

The Vlasiator group is starting a new investigation into the largest space weather event in the measured history, the so-called Carrington event. We have an opening for a trainee to identify high-intensity space physics data sets using all possible sources including spacecraft and ground-based facilities. Several identified events shall be simulated using the most accurate space environment simulation in the world, Vlasiator, to validate output against measurements.

  • Investigation of Helium ions near magnetopause reconnection

Helium and other heavy ions can be detected in space and participating in many plasma physics phenomena, but low statistics have hindered in-depth investigations. This project will investigate the role of He²+ at magnetopause reconnection through Vlasiator simulations and spacecraft observations.

  • Flux Transfer Events and their interaction with Earth’s polar cusps

When the interplanetary magnetic field is southward, it can interact with the Earth’s dipole field in bursty phenomena called Flux Transfer Events (FTEs). The goal of this project is to understand and quantify the process of FTE-cusp interaction from global kinetic simulation data, and to compare to satellite and ground-based observations as well as theory.

  • Modelling solar eruptions from birth to lift-off

Coronal mass ejections are large-scale solar coronal structures that eventually violently erupt from the Sun. In this project, a time-dependent model using responsible for generating the eruptive structures in the corona will be used to study the formation of solar eruptions and their magnetic fields. The project involves using Python-based simulation software, 3D data visualization and/or inversion methods of remote-sensing solar observations depending on the interest of the candidate.