|Language of instruction
Not lectured every year
After the course, the student can describe the physical
processes in the upper atmosphere as well as in the magnetosphere
that lead to formation of aurora. The student is also able to solve
mathematically problems associated with the processes. After the
course, the student will able to communicate of the latest findings
in auroral research.
The flow of charged particles from the Sun, known as the solar
wind, expands outwards to the surrounding space. Close to the Earth
the solar wind interacts with the magnetosphere, feeding energy and
particles there. Processes taking place in the magnetosphere lead
to the acceleration and precipitation of electrons and protons in
the upper atmosphere of the Earth, known as the ionosphere. When
the charged particles enter the atmosphere, they excite the ambient
atoms and molecules, which emit light when returning to the ground
state, thus creating aurora (northern lights). In this course, we
study the formation of aurora as an ionospheric process as well as
from the viewpoint of solar wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling.
Contents in brief: Neutral atmosphere, ionization and
excitation of atoms and molecules by auroral particles. Optical
emissions in aurora. Auroral morphology. Magnetosphere-Ionosphere
coupling, ionospheric and magnetospheric currents. Acceleration of
auroral particles and electrodynamics of aurora.
Magnetohydrodynamic waves, especially Alfvén waves. Solar wind
energy penetration to the magnetosphere and magnetospheric
|Mode of delivery
|Learning activities and teaching methods
Lectures 36 h, exercises 12 h, self-study 112 h
This course is useful especially for students who study space
physics. Also for the other students of the University of Oulu.
|Prerequisites and co-requisites
Recommended courses: 766355A Basics of space physics and 761658S
|Recommended optional programme components
No alternative course units or course units that should be
|Recommended or required reading
A. Aikio: Auroral Physics, available on the web-page of the
course. Additional reading: M.H. Rees: Physics and chemistry of the
upper atmosphere (Cambridge, 1989), G. Paschmann, S. Haaland and R.
Treumann (Eds.): Auroral Plasma Physics (Kluwer Academic Publishers
2003), Baumjohann and Treumann: Basic Space Plasma Physics
(Imperial College Press, 1997).
Course material availability can be checked
|Assessment methods and criteria
One written examination
Read more about assessment criteria at the University of Oulu webpage.
Numerical grading scale 0 – 5, where 0 = fail
|Working life cooperation
No work placement period