ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering

ECE 5164 Introduction to Space Science I: The Solar Wind and Magnetosphere


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ECE 5164 Introduction to Space Science I: The Solar Wind and Magnetosphere (3C)

Describes the space environment from the sun to the earth's upper atmosphere. Fundamental concepts in space plasma physics will be presented, as needed, throughout the course. Numerous examples of observations and data will be utilized to illustrate the environment and its dynamic variability. An emphasis will be placed on the practical impacts of this environment and its dynamic variability. An emphasis will be placed on the practical impacts of this environment (space weather) on modern technologies such as solid state devices, satellite technology, communication and global navigation systems.

What is the reason for this course?

The near-earth space environment has profound effects on radio waves, electrical devices, power systems, satellites, space vehicles, as well as humans. As society becomes more dependent on technologies embedded in this environment, more physical understanding and predictive capabilities in terms of “space weather” will become crucial. This course provides an introduction to the basic physical science concepts of the Sun-Earth environmental system by describing the details of the electrodynamics and plasma physics in the region from the center of the sun to the ionized atmospheric regions of the Earth. In addition to describing the physics of the geospace environment, observations and data will be utilized to illustrate the processes and dynamics of the Sun-Earth system. The practical impact of space weather on various technological systems will be also discussed.

Typically offered: Fall, Spring. Program Area: Electromagnetics.

Prerequisites: 3106 or equivalent. Coreq: 5105.

Why are these prerequisites or corequisites required?

An undergraduate background in electromagnetic such as that provided in 3106 is required. Concurrent or previous enrollment in graduate electromagnetic 5105 or equivalent is also required.

Department Syllabus Information:

Major Measurable Learning Objectives:
Course Topics
Topic Percentage
1. Basic plasma Physics 10%
2. The Sun and Solar Wind 10%
3. The Earth's Magnetic Field 10%
4. The Earth's Magnetosphere 25%
a. Bow Shock and Magnetosheath 5%
b. Magnetopause 5%
c. Magnetotail 5%
d. Magnetospheric Cusps 5%
e. Inner Magnetosphere 5%
5. The Earth's Ionosphere 10%
a. Conductivity tensor %
b. Convective or total derivative %
c. Currents %
6. Magnetic Variability 10%
a. Global currents, Sq variation %
b. Observations and indices %
c. Substorms and Storms %
7. Technological Impact of Space Weather 10%
a. Satellite technologies %
b. Power distribution systems %
c. Communiations and navigation %
d. Radiation Exposure %
8. Comparative magnetospheres 10%
a. Mercury %
b. Venus %
c. Jupiter and Saturn %
d. Io %
e. Uranus %
f. Mars %
9. Magnetohydrodynamic Global models 5%

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