Science Seminars

Waves, Particles and Geomagnetic Storms

Speaker: Maria Usanova (LASP)
Date: Thursday, Nov 11, 2021
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: Zoom

Seminar Abstract:

Over 60 years ago, at the beginning of space exploration, an unexpected population of high energy particles, now known as Earth’s radiation belts, was discovered. Understanding the dynamics of radiation belts and space weather is one of the fundamental problems of modern space science having an important application in relation to human technological systems, as energetic particles can pose danger to astronauts working in orbit, and damage space-born instrumentation and satellites. Despite a long history of research in this area, a detailed understanding of radiation belt response to solar wind drivers crucial for developing space weather forecast, remains largely elusive. As radiation belt electrons undergo cyclotron and bounce motion, and azimuthal drift in the Earth’s magnetosphere, they encounter several distinct classes of plasma waves. These waves contribute to electron energization, transport and precipitation into the atmosphere. In this talk, I will review mechanisms of wave-particle interactions and their role in the dynamic energization and loss of Earth’s radiation belts.