Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Vacancy: PostDoc in Solar Physics, Hermanus, South Africa

SANSA Space Science, Hermanus, South Africa is seeking a strong researcher to undertake a postdoctoral fellowship in Solar Physics within the Space Weather Centre in Hermanus, South Africa.

Applicants must hold a Ph.D. in physics with a strong focus on solar physics. They should have an outstanding research record and relevant experience in solar instrumentation, data analysis, and/or theory and numerical modeling. Applicants should be able to bring knowledge and insight into the area of solar physics and be prepared to demonstrate this knowledge and contribute to the growth of the facility.

Within this position SANSA expects research independence and originality resulting in publications in peer‐reviewed journals. In addition, the successful applicant will be required to collaborate with the Space Weather Team and other scientists at SANSA. Academic education of young researchers and participation in the acquisition of third‐party funding is required in this position. Applicants with a recent Ph.D. are particularly encouraged to apply for this position.

This position is initially a one year performance based contract. An additional year’s contract will be considered following the evaluation of the successful applicant’s performance.

Please note that this vacancy exists in Hermanus, Western Cape, South Africa and the successful applicant will need to be based in Hermanus.

Deadline for application 2nd April 2013!

More information on SANSA and the Space Science Directorate can be found on, from where there is a link to the full job announcement.

Photo of Hermanus courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (link).

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers

Tuesday is the science day on the EISCAT_3D blog. For the science feature, you can submit your research to the blog with an image, photo, or graph, and a short text explaining the study and the key result. We will then publish your work here. For the time being, please send any input to the blog's editor Thomas Ulich (thu -at- sgo -dot- fi). Thanks!
  • Vertical coupling of the middle atmosphere during stratospheric warming events, by Andreas Miller, Hauke Schmidt, Felix Bunzel, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 24 February 2013 (link).
  • Massive statistical analysis of autoscaled data: The case of the double reflection signature in mid-latitude vertical ionograms, by M. Pezzopane, C. Scotto, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 24 February 2013 (link).
  • Equatorial vertical plasma drift velocities and electron densities inferred from ground-based ionosonde measurements during low solar activity, by B.O Adebesin, J.O. Adeniyi, I.A Adimula, B.W. Reinisch, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 28 February 2013 (link).
  • The role of electromagnetic ion-cyclotron waves in solar 3He-Rich Events, by A. Broaden, T.X. Zhang, V.M. Edwards, A. Tan, A. Winebarger, Jun Zhang, S.T. Wu, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 26 February 2013 (link).

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers

Tuesday is the science day on the EISCAT_3D blog. For the science feature, you can submit your research to the blog with an image, photo, or graph, and a short text explaining the study and the key result. We will then publish your work here. For the time being, please send any input to the blog's editor Thomas Ulich (thu -at- sgo -dot- fi). Thanks!
  • High-latitude ionospheric response to the solar eclipse of 1 August 2008: EISCAT observations and TRANSCAR simulation, by F. Pitout, P.-L. Blelly, D. Alcaydé, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 19 February 2013 (link).
  • Case study of an ice void structure in polar mesospheric clouds, by Brentha Thurairajah, Scott M Bailey, David E Siskind, Cora E Randall, Michael J Taylor, James M Russell, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 19 February 2013 (link).
  • Day-time F-region echoes observed by the São Luís radar, by E.B. Shume, F.S. Rodrigues, E.R. de Paula, I.S. Batista, M.D. Butala, D.A. Galvan, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 19 February 2013 (link).
  • Absence of streaming plasma waves around noontime over Thumba in recent times: Is it related to the movement of the dip equator?, by R. Sekar, S.P. Gupta, Y.B. Acharya, D. Chakrabarty, D. Pallamraju, B.M. Pathan, Diwakar Tiwari, R.K. Choudhary, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 24 February 2013 (link).

Monday, 18 March 2013

Aurora Surprise

Last night a large geomagnetic storm blew over the Earth, creating fantastic northern lights, which were seen at least as far south as Estonia. Last night I was stuck in the centre of Oulu, equipped only with my old, simple IXUS 800IS camera. However, while trying a few shots on the market square, I was utterly surprised to have captured a projection of the Sodankylä EISCAT radar dish on the wall of the Oulu theatre, suitable looking at the aurora! That's something I've often tried, but never managed to do with any of the real EISCAT radars.

Photo: Thomas Ulich.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Science Tuesday: MSIS Atmosphere Model – The Geekiest App?

This surely must be the geekiest app for any atmospheric scientists to have on a phone or tablet. You can now download the widely used "Mass Spectrometer Incoherent Scatter" (MSIS) Atmosphere Model from the iTunes App Store!

The MSIS model, is a widely used tool in atmospheric modelling, which provides neutral atmospheric composition and temperature from ground to near-Earth space.

Today, the model comes in three different incarnations, NRLMSIS-00, MSIS-E-90, and MSIS-86. While these represent a continuous development, they all have their applications in their own right. The text below is largely taken from the description pages of the model versions:

The main differences between NRLMSIS-00 and MSIS-E-90 "involve (1) the extensive use of drag and accelerometer data on total mass density, (2) the addition of a component to the total mass density that accounts for possibly significant contributions of O+ and hot oxygen at altitudes above 500 km, and (3) the inclusion of the SMM UV occultation data on [O2]."

The MSIS-E-90 Atmosphere Model "describes the neutral temperature and densities in Earth's atmosphere from ground to thermospheric heights. Below 72.5 km the model is primarily based on the MAP Handbook (Labitzke et al., 1985) tabulation of zonal average temperature and pressure by Barnett and Corney, which was also used for the CIRA-86. Below 20 km these data were supplemented with averages from the National Meteorological Center (NMC). In addition, pitot tube, falling sphere, and grenade sounder rocket measurements from 1947 to 1972 were taken into consideration. Above 72.5 km MSISE-90 is essentially a revised MSIS-86 model taking into account data derived from space shuttle flights and newer incoherent scatter results. For someone interested only in the thermosphere (above 120 km), the author recommends the MSIS-86 model. MSISE is also not the model of preference for specialized tropospheric work. It is rather for studies that reach across several atmospheric boundaries."

For download available are iOS versions for iPhone and iPad, and they are kindly provided free of charge by the MSIS main author, Alan Hedin.

Image credit: Atmospheric profile image is taken from the iTunes App Store's page for the iPhone version.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Call for Papers: Layered Phenomena in Mesopause Region, Leeds, UK

The 11th Layered Phenomena in the Mesopause Region (LPMR) workshop is being held at the University of Leeds from the 29th July to 1st August 2013. This meeting will continue a biennial series designed to advance understanding of phenomena which occur in the atmosphere between about 80 and 120 km. These phenomena include noctilucent clouds, metallic layers and aerosols produced by meteoric ablation, plasma layers, and perturbations caused by space weather.

The workshop will provide a forum for the presentation and discussion of new results and ideas on topics ranging from the microphysics of mesospheric particles to the global processes controlling the state of the mesosphere. It is anticipated, based on previous meetings, that participants will include researchers involved in ground-based, rocket-borne and satellite measurements; laboratory studies; and modeling on all scales of this coupled dynamical, radiative, chemical, and plasma environment. A particular focus of the workshop will be to promote discussion of future directions for international, interdisciplinary cooperation.

The website ( is now open for registration and abstract submission. Please note the following dates:

Abstract submission deadline is 30th April 2013.

Early-bird registration and application for support of PhD students ends on 1st May 2013.

Text provided by the organisers; Photo of the University of Leeds from Wikimedia Commons (source).

Friday, 1 March 2013

Three Radiation Belts after all!

Cool stuff: Since their discovery over 50 years ago, the Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts have been considered to consist of two distinct zones of trapped, highly energetic charged particles. Observations from NASA’s Van Allen Probes reveal an isolated third ring in the outer radiation belt.

Check the full press release here!