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Viviane Pierrard (Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy)

The influence of the solar wind on the space environment of the Earth
When Jul 05, 2018 from 02:30 PM to 03:30 PM
  • Colloquium
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The Sun emits a continuous flux of particles that fills the interplanetary space: the solar wind. The solar wind characteristics are important for space missions and for their influence on the space environment of the Earth. A kinetic model of the solar wind has been developed to better understand the physical mechanisms related to the heating of the solar corona and the acceleration of the particles, and to predict the density, velocity, temperatures and other characteristics of the different particle species in the heliosphere. Photospheric observations serve as semi-empirical input for boundary conditions in the model.

Sometimes, sudden eruptions appear at the surface of the Sun. They can generate nice polar auroras at the Earth and other planets. They also modify the characteristics of the space environment of the Earth where artificial satellites circulate, disturbing so the communications or GPS positioning, for instance. We study the effects of such geomagnetic storms, especially in the radiation Van Allen belts and in the plasmasphere, the extension of the ionosphere at high altitude. A new detector, the Energetic Particle Telescope, has been developed and launched on the PROBA-V satellite to measure the fluxes of the very energetic particles trapped in the magnetic field of the Earth. It provides high-resolution electron and proton measurements of the charged particle radiation environment at low altitude (820 km) and show a very dynamical environment, especially during the big St Patrick storm in March 2015.