Prosiectau Ffiseg ar gyfer myfyrwyr bl.3 a bl.4

Disgrifiad prosiect

Solar wind conditions driving geomagnetic activity

(supervisor: Eleri Pryse)

Nature of project: data analysis, software

Available to students on full-time physics degree schemes or joint students.

Project description and methodology

Geomagnetic activity is generally related to the phase of the solar cycle. However, the detail of the connection is not clear, with direct one-to-one correspondence between the solar cause and geomagnetic effect not observed. This is not surprising given that the consequences of the solar processes on Earth also involve the solar wind and its coupling to the terrestrial environment. In this project the student is required to identify ground-based signatures of geomagnetic storms, substorms and quiet periods using readily available indices and other data. These are then compared with plasma signatures in the solar wind impinging on the Earth, as measured by the ACE spacecraft.

A successful project will develop beyond the above in one/some of the following directions:
For a more in-depth interpretation of the data, the geomagnetic activity may be interpreted in terms of solar-related processes such as interplanetary coronal mass ejection (ICME) events and coronal interaction regions (CIR).

When considering where to take your project, please bear in mind the time available. It is preferable to do fewer things well than to try many and not get conclusive results on any of them. However, sometimes it is useful to have a couple of strands of investigation in parallel to work on in case delays occur.

This project is only available as a Y3 project.

Please speak to Eleri Pryse if you consider doing this project.

Initial literature for students:

  1. From the sun : auroras, magnetic storms, solar flares, cosmic rays / Steven T. Suess, Bruce T. Tsurutani, editors. Publisher: Washington, DC : American Geophysical Union, c1998, ISBN:0875902928.
  2. The solar-terrestrial environment : an introduction to geospace--the science of the terrestrial upper atmosphere, ionosphere, and magnetosphere, J.K. Hargreaves, Publisher:Cambridge [England] ; New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  3. The Near-Earth Plasma Environment, Robert F. Pfaff Jr., Space Sci Rev 168:23-112, 2012.

Novelty, degree of difficulty and amount of assistance required

Identifying the signatures of geomagnetic activity and the conditions in in the solar wind plasma are relatively straight forward but requires a systematic approach. The interpretation of the data is challenging.

Project milestones and deliverables (including timescale)

milestoneto be completed by
Recognising the signatures of geomagnetic activity and associated characteristics of the solar wind.end of November
Identification of examples of geomagnetic storms, substorms and quiet periods.Christmas
Display of the ground- and space-based data for the identified examples.end of February
Interpretation of the data in terms of the geophysics.Easter