University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Tuesday, March 3rd 2015
1:25 pm:
Space Physics Seminar in 435 Physics
Speaker: Lauren Blum, UC Berkeley, Space Sciences Laboratory
Subject: Investigating the dynamics of Earth’s radiation belts through new CubeSat measurements and conjunction studies

The Van Allen radiation belts, composed of energetic ions and electrons trapped around the Earth, often exhibit dramatic variations in intensity and spatial extent. Characterization of the processes contributing to electron acceleration and loss in this region is critical to understanding the variable near-Earth space environment. Here, we’ll investigate the contribution of electron precipitation into the atmosphere to radiation belt dynamics and losses. Through a combination of long-term existing data sets as well as recent CubeSat and balloon measurements, we exploring the nature and extent of electron loss to the atmosphere as well as what electromagnetic wave modes may be causing it. These studies aid in the understanding of outer radiation belt dynamics and the relationship between precipitating energetic electrons, electromagnetic waves, and global magnetospheric conditions. They also demonstrate how small inexpensive CubeSats can complement larger missions and significantly enhance their scientific return.

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