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The course gives a broad survey of space physics and plasma phenomena from the Earth's vicinity to the Universe as a whole.
The goals of the course are that the student should be able to:
- define what is meant by a plasma, and how different types of plasmas can be classified.
- describe the plasma environment in space, with focus on the near-earth environment.
- explain how certain important plasma populations in the solar system, e.g. the Earth's ionosphere and magnetosphere, get their basic properties, and how these properties may differ between the planets.
- make order of magnitude estimates of some properties in space plasmas and space phenomena, e.g. the power dissipated in the aurora, or the amount of current floating from Earth's magnetosphere to its ionosphere.
- model certain space physics phenomena by applying basic physical laws, using simple mathemathics (e.g. model the form of the magnetosphere or estimate the temperature of a sunspot).
- describe current research within space physics and explain it to an interested layman
The plasma state. Typical properties of space plasmas. The sun and the solar wind, and how they effect the Earth’s space environment. The magnetosphere and the ionosphere, their origin, structure and dynamics. The aurora and geomagnetic storms and substorms. Space weather. Space environment of other celestial bodies. Interstellar and intergalactic plasma and cosmic radiation. Current research topics within space physics.