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PAP305 Space Applications of Plasma Physics, 5 cr 
Code PAP305  Validity 01.01.2017 -
Name Space Applications of Plasma Physics  Abbreviation Space Applicati 
Scope5 cr   
TypeAdvanced studies
  GradingGeneral scale 
    Can be taken more than onceno
Unit Master's Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences 

Target group 

Master’s Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences is responsible for the course.

Module where the course belongs to:

  • PAP300 Advanced Studies in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences
    Optional for:
    1. Study Track in Astrophysical Sciences

The course is available to students from other degree programmes.


The course will be offered in the autumn term, in II period.

Learning outcomes 
  • You will obtain solid understanding of  space physics, giving a good background in further studies and research in space plasma physics
  • Knowledge of basic solar physics, e.g., the structure of the Sun, and how energy is generated and transferred
  • You will obtain solid theoretical knowledge behind several key phenomena in space plasma physics, such as solar wind and interplanetary magnetic field, collisionless shocks, magnetospheric, and ionospheric physics
  • You will obtain skills to analyse some key data sets related to course topics (such as magnetospheric physics behind the auroral displays)
  • You will obtain solid physics-based understanding on how the solar structures affect the near-Earth dynamics, leading to space weather phenomena
Completion methods 

Contact teaching, but can be also taken as a distance learning course.

  • Basic physics courses
  • Solid calculation skills (e.g., Mathematics for Physicists I-II, Mathematical Methods of Physics I-II)
  • Good knowledge of electrodynamics (e.g., Electrodynamics I and II)
  • Introduction to Plasma Physics
Recommended optional studies 
  • Advanced Plasma Physics
  • Solar Physics
  • Numerical Space Physics

The course contains an introduction to most important topics in space plasma physics: the Sun, solar wind, formation of the magnetosphere, ionosphere, magnetospheric dynamics, solar wind/magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling, magnetospheres of other planets, and astrophysical plasmas.

Study materials and literature 
  • Lecture notes

Other recommended material

  • Hannu Koskinen: Johdatus plasmafysiikkaan ja sen avaruussovellutuksiin, Limes ry., 2001
  • Kivelson, M. G., and Russell (eds.), C. T., Introduction to Space Physics, Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  • Koskinen, H. E. J., Physics of Space Storms, Springer/PRAXIS, 2011
  • Russell, C.T., Luhmann, J.G., Strangeway, R.J., Space Physics: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press
Activities and teaching methods in support of learning 
  • lectures
  • Weekly exercises  (include plenty of practical exercises)
  • Practical exercises during the lectures
  • Student seminar
Assessment practices and criteria 

Final grade is based on exercises (~30%), seminar (20%), and the final exam (~50%).


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