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Heliophysics: the last ten years and the next ten years agenda

  1. Aug 26, 2012 #1


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    A 70 minute video overview of the NRC 2012 Decadal Strategy for Solar/Space physics is presented. Two years in the making, basic physics and societal impact as well as budgetary issues are touched upon. Access to detailed reports. Emphasis on the sun driving a connected system.


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  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 26, 2012 #2
    Thanks for a very good video! Haven't seen it all yet but looks great so far, thanks!

    Robin Andersson
  4. Aug 26, 2012 #3


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    This link to the entire 454 page report, Solar and Space Physics: a Science for a Technological Society (2012), will enable you to skim/browse through the whole thing, including figures, and then download if desired. Included are updates on the latest discoveries and thinking in heliophysics, today's biggest problems itemized and tomorrows plans revealed.

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  5. Aug 27, 2012 #4


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    For convenience, the broad discipline of solar and space physics, often referred to as heliophysics, is divided into the following three areas, each of which is described in much greater detail in separate chapters (8 though 10) of the report:

    ~ Sun and heliosphere (SH) - covers the physics of the outer regions of the sun and its expansion through interplanetary space;

    ~ Solar wind-magnetosphere interactions (SWMI) - deals with the interaction of the solar wind with magnetized bodies (principally Earth and other planets) and the resulting coupling to their underlying ionosphere or planetary surface;

    ~ Atmosphere-ionosphere-magnetosphere interactions (AIMI) - concerns the dynamics of planetary ionospheres due to solar, magnetospheric and atmospheric drivers and coupling.

    As discussed in table 2.1, each of these panels organized their work around 4 scientific challenges.

    TABLE 2.1 Solar and Space Physics Decadal Challenges

    The Sun and the Heliosphere

    SH-1 Understand how the sun generates the quasi-cyclical magnetic field that extends throughout the the heliosphere.

    SH-2 Determine how the sun's magnetism creates its hot, dynamic atmosphere.

    SH-3 Determine how magnetic energy is stored and explosively released and how the resultant disturbances propagate through the heliosphere.

    SH-4 Discover how the sun interacts with the local interstellar medium.

    Solar Wind - Magnetosphere Interaction

    SWMI-1 Establish how magnetic reconnection is triggered and how it evolves to drive mass, momentum and energy transport.

    SWMI-2 Identify the mechanism that controls the production, loss, and energization of energetic particles in the magnetosphere.

    SWMI-3 Determine how coupling and feedback between the magnetosphere, ionosphere, and thermosphere govern the dynamics of the coupled system in response to the variable solar wind.

    SWMI-4 Critically advance the physical understanding of magnetospheres and their coupling to ionspheres and thermospheres by comparing models against observation from different magnetospheric systems.

    Atmosphere - Ionosphere - Magnetosphere Interactions

    AIMI- 1 Understand how the ionosphere-thermosphere system responds to and regulates magnetospheric forcing over global, regional and local scales.

    AIMI-2 Understand the plasma-neutral coupling processes that give rise to local, regional and global-scale structures and dynamics in the AIM system.

    AIMI-3 Understand how forcing from the lower atmosphere via tidal, planetary, and gravity waves influences the ionosphere and thermosphere.

    AIMI-4 Determine and identify the causes for long-term (multi-decadal) changes in the AIM system.

    (Source: Pages 36, 37 of subject report)

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