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Space and Planetary Physics seminar

Thursday 25 October 2018, 2:00pm to 3:00pm


Open to

Alumni, Applicants, Postgraduates, Prospective Students, Public, Staff, Undergraduates


Registration not required - just turn up

Event Details

"Earth's Radiation Belts: the kinetic plasma physics of killer electrons"

Earth's Outer Radiation Belt is a harsh radiation environment trapped by the geomagnetic field. This region is occupied by plasma that has a high-energy tail - i.e. where there are more high-energy electrons present than are expected from the ambient number density and temperature. Some of these electrons travel at a significant fraction of the speed of light, posing a significant environmental hazard to our most useful communications, defence and navigational satellites. Earth's radiation environment is highly variable in response to variability in the solar wind, but the mechanisms that create the variability are not fully understood. I will discuss a range of competing physical mechanisms that fashion the Earth's Radiation Belts, discuss the pros and cons of traditional theoretical approaches to the problem, and display some of our group’s new research insights and directions.


Clare Watt University of Reading

Contact Details

Name Maria-Theresia Walach