The science of space weather
15 December 2008On 26 November 2008, the Ministers in charge of space activities in the European Space Agency's eighteen Member States and Canada subscribed to the start of a new programme called Space Situational Awareness. The purpose of this programme is to help protect European space systems against debris and the influence of adverse space weather. But what is the science behind space weather?
In a timely coincidence, an article dedicated to this topic, entitled "The science of space weather", is published on 13 December in a special edition of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, called "Visions of the Future". This triennial edition, comprising two issues, one dedicated to Astronomy and the other to Earth Science, gathers articles, twenty-two this year, written by young talented scientists.
It is our great pleasure to report that Jonathan Eastwood, an assistant research scientist at University of California, Berkeley (California, USA), is among the twenty-four young scientists selected. His article (see Related Publications link) focuses on magnetic reconnection, the physical process underpinning space weather, and the role that the Cluster mission has played in helping to understand this important process.
Jonathan received his PhD in 2003 from Imperial College London (UK) based on the analysis of data collected by the four Cluster spacecraft. In the course of his short career, he has already published an impressive 13 refereed papers in major scientific journals as first author and a number of papers as co-author.
Dating back to 1660, The Royal Society is the national academy of science of the UK and the Commonwealth. Sir Isaac Newton served as a president of this noble institution from 1703 to 1727. In 1665, the first issue of Philosophical Transactions was published. It is now the oldest scientific journal in continuous publication.
Eastwood, J.P., 2008, The science of space weather, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A. (2008), 366, 4489-4500, doi:10.1098/rsta.2008.0161.
This article is available without subscription from 15 December 2008 to 31 January 2009, courtesy of the Royal Society.
Dr. Jonathan Eastwood, University of California, Berkeley (CA), USA
Web story author and co-editor
Arnaud Masson, Science and Robotic Exploration Directorate, ESA
Web story editors
Philippe Escoubet and Matt Taylor, Science and Robotic Exploration Directorate, ESA