The Sun fills interplanetary space with plasma, a gas of charged particles, in the form of a constant solar wind. Also the Earth’s outer atmosphere, the magnetosphere, is filled with plasma, just like the environments of many other Solar System objects.
The Institute has build a strong theory and modeling programme, deeply rooted in observations provided by ESA’s space missions, Ulysses, Cluster and Rosetta spacecraft.
BIRA-IASB has extensive expertise in:
- The dynamic behavior of the outer magnetospheric boundary in response to the variable solar wind, which controls the energy input from the solar wind into the magnetosphere
- The interaction between the outer magnetosphere and the corotating plasma in the inner magnetosphere
- The coupling between the magnetosphere and the ionosphere as manifested by the aurora or polar lights
These modeling efforts help to mitigate the empiricism still prevailing in present-day space weather forecasting.
BIRA-IASB organisation chart: Space Physics Division