Thermosphere, Ionosphere, and Magnetosphere

The Earth’s space environment covers the region above about 80 km altitude, where electromagnetic effects become significant. In the partially ionized transition region between the atmosphere and space, in the thermosphere, and in the ionosphere, chemical as well as dynamic processes are important, as are the gravitational forces and neutral gas processes. At higher altitudes, in the magnetosphere and in the solar wind, matter is almost completely in plasma state, and dominated by electromagnetic forces. As the solar wind expands from the Sun to fill the heliosphere, the magnetosphere formed by the internal geomagnetic field shields the Earth from most of the hazardous radiation – much of the research focuses on the interaction of the geospace with the impinging solar wind.

Our research on magnetosphere-ionosphere-thermosphere physics includes experimental, data analysis, and numerical studies on a wide range of topics within this field. Areas of interest include the solar wind control of magnetospheric topology and dynamics, ionospheric outflow and solar wind entry, electrodynamic coupling between the magnetosphere and ionosphere, inner magnetospheric dynamics and radiation belt formation, magnetic storm and substorm physics, solar flare and high-latitude heating of the ionosphere and thermosphere, auroral physics, and the influence of the magnetospheric energetic particles on the Earth’s middle and upper atmosphere.