Space physics is a blend of physics and astronomy that aims to understand the environment surrounding our planet. This includes diverse phenomena from high-energy charged particles in the plasma surrounding the Earth to the explosive release of magnetic energy from the Sun.
A common thread amongst many of the efforts of our group is an attempt to understand how particles are accelerated to high energies in the naturally-occurring plasmas of the solar system. This acceleration is often extraordinarily efficient, and the energies attained by the particles are large. We examine the interactions between particles and electromagnetic fields, as well as the collective actions of the plasma, to investigate this topic. Our work includes in situ measurements of waves and plasma as well as remote sensing of X-rays from solar and magnetospheric plasma.
Our space physics group includes theorists, data analysts, and instrumentalists who study phenomena throughout the heliosphere. We have built or contributed to many NASA spacecraft instruments designed to target these investigations.