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Scientific topics

The activity of the LPP space plasma team, initially focused on the exploration of terrestrial plasmas, has evolved in two directions. On the one hand, people continue to study the physical processes at work in the ionized part of the atmosphere, called the ionosphere, and in the magnetosphere of the Earth. The former is formed by the interaction of the magnetic field of the planet with the plasma ejected by the Sun, the solar wind. The magnetosphere and the solar wind are separated by boundaries, the magnetopause and the bow shock.
On the other hand, the team turned to the exploration of ionized environments other solar system bodies (planets, satellites, comets and rings) and to the study of the solar wind.
Video : the magnetosphere shape (P. Robert from Tsyganenko B field model of the magnetosphere).

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The Earth magnetosphere : 3D model of the magnetic field (the Sun in on the left).
Source : B. Katra

The "Space Plasmas" team main scientific topics are centered around the main following areas:.

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Cluster
Artistic view of the mission. Source : ESA

The work of the team is highly structured by space projects, most of which are transversal to scientific topics above. They are based on the development of instruments: mass spectrometer and plasma analyzers on the one hand, magnetic antenna on the other hand. These projects, Cassini, Cluster, Double Star, THEMIS, MMS, BepiColombo, Solar Orbiter, ..., are conducted in the framework of national and international space agencies: CNES, ESA, NASA, JAXA (Japan), CNSA (China).

One of the strengths of the team is to bring together the main chain of useful skills to insure the success of these projects. This allows it to invest in: participation in definition v for future space missions, the development of instrumentation, the development of software for validation, data formatting and archiving, scientific data analysis of missions in operation. However, the activity of the team goes beyond space missions. People are involved in the design of sensors that are ever smaller, lighter, and more efficient. The team also carries theoretical developments and numerical modeling needed to interpret observations.

Herafter are listed topics studied in the team :

Theoretical modelling of collisionless plasmas

Most astrophysical plasmas studied at LPP are collisionless

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Turbulence

Turbulence develops naturally inside many astrophysical plasmas

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The magnetic reconnection

Universal phenomenon linked to the modification of the magnetic field lines topology

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Collisionless shock waves

What is the relationship between a fighter plane and the magnetosphere of the Earth?

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Acceleration, radiation and turbulence in terrestrial auroral regions

How are created the spectacular northern auroras

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Generation of the solar wind

How does build up this plasma wind emitted by the Sun ?

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The Magnetopause of the Earth

Magnetic boundary at the front of the magnetosphere

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Planetary magnetospheres

The envelopes that protect the magnetized planets

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Space Weather

How do solar eruptions propagate and what are their effects on terrestrial environment ?

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Magnetic substorms

Large reconfiguration of the magnetotail

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Tutelles : CNRS Ecole Polytechnique Sorbonne Université Université Paris Sud Observatoire de Paris Convention : CEA
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