EF2240 Space Physics 6.0 credits


The course gives a broad survey of space physics and plasma phenomena from the Earth's vicinity to the Universe as a whole.

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Offering and execution

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Course information

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents *

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.

Intended learning outcomes *

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.

Course Disposition

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Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites *

For single course students: 60 hp and documented proficiency in english B, english 6 or equivalent.

Recommended prerequisites

For single course students: 60 hp and documented proficiency in english B or equivalent.


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C-G. Fälthammar, ”Space Physics” (compendium), 2nd Ed, Third Printing, 2001, Larry Lyons, ”Space Plasma Physics”, from Encyclopaedia of Physical Science and Technology, 3rd edition, 2002.

Examination and completion

Grading scale *

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Examination *

  • TEN1 - Examination, 6.0 credits, Grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade *

Written examination. During the course, also continual examination will take place; some activities will provide bonus points which will be added to the written examination.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Tomas Karlsson

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web EF2240

Offered by

EECS/Electrical Energy Engineering

Main field of study *

Electrical Engineering, Engineering Physics, Physics

Education cycle *

Second cycle

Add-on studies

EF2245 Space Physics II


Tomas Karlsson (tomas.karlsson@ee.kth.se)

Ethical approach *

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Supplementary information

In this course, the EECS code of honor applies, see: