I combine blue-sky research into fundamental space plasma physics, particularly magnetic reconnection, with a program of challenge-led research into severe space weather. To do this, I combine spacecraft data analysis, the construction and flight of space instrumentation, and the development of novel computer simulations for space weather modelling and prediction
- Space Plasma Physics: I am particularly interested in a phenomenon known as magnetic reconnection which occurs in the boundaries between different space plasmas. As well as changing the topology of the magnetic field in space, it also rapidly releases energy stored in the magnetic field, creating jets of hot plasma. To study reconnection I analyse data from a variety of spacecraft and I am a member of several operating science missions including Cluster (ESA), THEMIS/ARTEMIS (NASA), STEREO (NASA), Magnetospheric Multi-Scale (NASA) and Solar Orbiter (ESA).
- Space Weather Modelling: Whilst reconnection occurs in a wide variety of astrophysical and laboratory plasma settings, in the Earth’s magnetosphere it causes geomagnetic storms, an example of space weather. Space weather is on the UK national risk register because it is a very significant threat to
infrastructure resilience (e.g. power blackouts, satellite damage). At Imperial my research group is developing new space weather models and transitioning them to use both nationally at the Met Office, and internationally with the European Space Agency.
- Space Instrumentation: I am leading the development of new space instrumentation for both space plasma physics and space weather. This builds on the space and atmospheric physics group's considerable heritage and experience in space magnetometry. In particular I lead Imperial's involvement in the space weather RadCube project which launched in August 2021. I am also leading Imperial's involvement in the European Space Agency Vigil space weather mission, planned for launch in the late-2020's, and the provision of space weather instrumentation for the ERSA payload on Lunar Gateway.
The diffusion region in collisionless magnetic reconnection: new results from in-situ observations in the earth's magnetotail, University of Delaware, Newark, DE USA, 2010
Research Student Supervision
Al Qazzaz,A, A global magnetohydrodynamic simulation of the magnetosphere using HPC
Bhojwani,K, HPC Simulations of the Solar Wind - Magnetosphere Interaction
Fox,PT, The effect of geomagnetic activity on Global Navigational Satellite Systems performance
Mejnertsen,L, A global magnetohydrodynamic simulation of the magnetosphere using HPC
Mistry,R, Probing the physics of magnetic reconnection using in situ satellite measurements
Videira,J, An analysis of activity in the magnetotail of Mars using data from Mars global surveyor (UROP)