Science Society, Space Plasma Physics: the Solar Wind and auroras

Comments are closed.

On the evening of Wednesday 1st March, Mr Samuel Wharton, PhD student from the University of Leicester’s Physics and Astronomy Department, gave the first Science Society talk of the academic year on the topic of Space Plasma Physics: the Solar Wind and auroras

Samuel spoke about his research into the field of Space Plasma Physics and, in particular, explained how the Solar Wind interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field to create the beautiful aurora seen on the Earth, known more commonly as the Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis. Samuel explained how the aurora is formed and demonstrated how plasma can be made using his very own plasma ball!

Thrilling from start to finish, Samuel captivated his audience with some incredible satellite footage of the Aurora Borealis, but my highlight of the evening had to be when Samuel moved on from the Earth’s aurora to discuss the aurora on other planets within the Solar System. He explained that Jupiter’s moon, Io, with over 400 active volcanoes making it the most geologically active object in the Solar System, creates eruptions of gas that are so violent that the outgassing can create aurora on the surface of Jupiter! He even had images to prove it!

Thank you to all those students who attended the talk, and thank you again to Samuel for a truly astonishing presentation.

Adam Chorley,

Head of Science