Field-aligned particle acceleration in space plasmas

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An RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting organised by Dr Colin Forsyth (MSSL/UCL)* and Dr Jonathan Rae (MSSL/UCL)
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Throughout the solar system and beyond, the ambient space plasma populations tend to have insufficient energy to excite the intense emissions observed at their magnetic footpoints, be that in the solar, or planetary environments or indeed astrophysical jets.

Particle acceleration can occur at locations along a magnetic field line where the necessary conditions for different processes are satisfied.  These can include, but are not limited to, quasi-static acceleration by field-aligned potential drops, acceleration by short perpendicular-scale Alfvén waves and magnetic reconnection driven processes.  In all cases, electromagnetic energy is converted into particle kinetic energy.  This energy is eventually converted back into electromagnetic energy through emissions across the electromagnetic spectrum, from gamma rays through visible emissions to radio waves.

At this meeting, we will explore field-aligned plasma acceleration processes in a variety of different environments in order to fully examine the conditions under which this acceleration occurs and attempt to link the microphysics of the acceleration processes with larger-scale events, such as substorms, solar flares, and astrophysical jets with which they are often associated. This meeting will bring together magnetospheric, solar, laboratory plasma, astrophysics and modelling communities to compare and contrast these plasma acceleration processes in a variety of space plasma environments.

Tea and coffee will be available from 10:00 and again after the meeting at 15:30.