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MSSL Space Plasma News

SWA EAS sensor on the BBC's 'Stargazing Live'

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The Solar Orbiter SWA instrument featured heavily in an article broadcast as part of the BBC's 'Stargazing Live' event on March 20th 2015.  For those with access to the BBC's iplayer, the full program can be accessed here until mid-April 2015. 

SWA instruments on Display on Solar Orbiter STM Spacecraft

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boom onto STM SC

On 13th March 2015 Airbus Stevenage invited the UK Instrument PI's and the national press to view the Structural and Thermal Model of the Solar Orbiter Spacecraft, which has just been completed with the installation of the heatshield.  The STM will now go off for testing in Germany. 

Plasma group welcomes Robert Wicks

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The MSSL Space Plasmas group welcomes Dr. Robert Wicks to the laboratory and the group. Robert joins as a new-appointment joint Lecturer at UCL with activities split between MSSL and the Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction. Robert comes to us from Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, where he has worked for the past three years. Prior to this, Robert spent three years as a post-doc at Imperial College London, having completed his PhD studies at the University of Warwick in 2009.

Plasma group hosts James Buxton (Judd School) for a week of work experience

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James Buxton

The MSSL Space Plasma Group welcomed James Buxton, a sixth form pupil at Judd School in Tonbridge, Kent, for a week of work experience during half-term week 16-20 February 2015.  In addition to discussions with members of the laboratory on solar imaging techniques, spacecraft observations of the heliosphere and the hardware program and technical capabilities of UCL/MSSL, James experienced seminars on Solar Orbiter, flux transfer events at the terrestrial magnetopause and cosmological parameters derived from the Planck mission.  He also participated in the space plasmas student progress discussion meeting.  Between these activities, James worked on a mini-research project looking for solar eruptive events that were detected at multiple points on their journey from the Sun through the Heliosphere.  An example of his work can be found here.

Plasma group welcomes Simon Thomas

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We are delighted to welcome Simon Thomas into the Plasma Group.   Simon comes to us from the Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, where he worked with Dr. Matt Owens and Prof. Mike Lockwood on cosmic ray modulation by solar wind structures.  He submitted his thesis in January and we expect that he will complete his PhD in early March.  Simon will be working on pre-launch science for Solar Orbiter using burst mode data from the PEACE electron instruments on the Cluster spacecraft.  His studies of Galactic Cosmic Ray modulation by the heliospheric magnetic field and Heliospheric Current Sheet have to date resulted in 4 first-authored publications in refereed journals.  Simon's experience in both high- and low-energy particle populations in the solar wind and knowledge of associated physical processes, such as particle drifts and diffusion, means that Simon will be an excellent addition to our group.  

Dr. Colin Forsyth at National Space Centre CareersFest

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The model magnetosphere, planetary penetrator and LEEA electron sensor head on display at the National Space Centre for their Space CareersFest

 Dr. Colin Forsyth attended the annual Year 12 CareersFest at the National Space Centre in Leicester. Colin gave short talks on the different career opportunities at MSSL and career pathways, as well as taking part in the "Meet the Scientist' session, where the attending students had an opportunity to put their questions to the assembled scientists and engineers, as well as getting up close to some of MSSL's space hardware.

Dr. Colin Forsyth at RSGB Convention 2014

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RSGB Convention 2014

Dr. Colin Forsyth was invited to talk at the Radio Society of Great Britain's annual convention, held at Kents Hill Conference Centre in Milton Keynes. His talk, entitled HF Propagation Alphabet Soup covered the science behind standard global space weather indices and how these can be interpreted for high frequency radio wave propagation.

Solar Orbiter SWA Critical Design Review completes in ESTEC

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Members of the SWA team at CDR

Together with consortium colleagues from France, Italy and the USA, members of MSSL's PI team for the Solar Orbiter SWA investigation returned to ESTEC in the Netherlands for the 2-day co-location meeting for the Critical Design Review (CDR) of the SWA instrument suite. 

MSSL students attend Solar Orbiter Summer School

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MSSL students at the Solar Orbiter Summer School

The Solar Orbiter Summer School took place from the 22nd – 25th September in L’Aquila Italy. It was a great opportunity for all the students to learn about the instrumentation and science motivation behind the Solar Orbiter spacecraft from the PI’s of the instruments themselves (incl. Chris Owen PI for SWA). The students were all invited to give talks about their work and how it would benefit from Solar Orbiter; all MSSL students (Jack Carlyle, Marianna Felici, Alice Foster and Stephanie Yardley) contributed great talks!

Cluster-MAARBLE-Van Allen Probes Workshop 2014

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Geospace Revisited conference poster

Prof. Andrew Fazakerley, Drs. Colin Forsyth and Dimitry Pokhotelov and students Kirthika Mohan and Ali Varsani all attended the 24th Cluster Workshop, entitled "Geospace Revisited" and held in conjunction with the Van Allen Probes and MAARBLE communities. The workshop took place at the Rodos Palace hotel on the greek island of Rhodes.

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