Astrophysical plasmas

Astrophysical plasmas are plasmas that occur in space. This includes the plasma that makes up stars. The Sun is constantly emitting a plasma known as the solar wind, which can affect satellites in orbit around the Earth and create aurora. Plasma is also found in interstellar space.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research | | open

    Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) waves and plasma instabilities can be studied during solar flares. Here the authors show evidence for an MHD sausage mode oscillation periodically triggering electron acceleration at a magnetic null point in the solar corona, indicating MHD oscillations in plasma can indirectly lead to loss-cone instability modulation.

    • Eoin P. Carley
    • , Laura A. Hayes
    • , Sophie A. Murray
    • , Diana E. Morosan
    • , Warren Shelley
    • , Nicole Vilmer
    •  & Peter T. Gallagher
  • Research | | open

    Supersonic turbulence is relevant to astrophysical plasmas with their study mostly limited to numerical simulations. Here the authors demonstrate supersonic turbulence in collisional high Mach number plasma jets generated in laboratory by using high power lasers.

    • T. G. White
    • , M. T. Oliver
    • , P. Mabey
    • , M. Kühn-Kauffeldt
    • , A. F. A. Bott
    • , L. N. K. Döhl
    • , A. R. Bell
    • , R. Bingham
    • , R. Clarke
    • , J. Foster
    • , G. Giacinti
    • , P. Graham
    • , R. Heathcote
    • , M. Koenig
    • , Y. Kuramitsu
    • , D. Q. Lamb
    • , J. Meinecke
    • , Th. Michel
    • , F. Miniati
    • , M. Notley
    • , B. Reville
    • , D. Ryu
    • , S. Sarkar
    • , Y. Sakawa
    • , M. P. Selwood
    • , J. Squire
    • , R. H. H. Scott
    • , P. Tzeferacos
    • , N. Woolsey
    • , A. A. Schekochihin
    •  & G. Gregori
  • Research | | open

    Various physical mechanisms are proposed to explain the heating observed in turbulent astrophysical plasmas. Here, Chen et al. find a signature consistent with one of these mechanisms, electron Landau damping, by applying a field-particle correlation technique to in situ spacecraft data of turbulence in the Earth’s magnetosheath.

    • C. H. K. Chen
    • , K. G. Klein
    •  & G. G. Howes
  • Research | | open

    Surface waves on the boundary between a magnetosphere and the surrounding plasma might get trapped by the ionosphere forming an eigenmode. Here, Archer et al. show direct observations of this proposed mechanism at Earth’s magnetosphere by analyzing the response to an isolated fast plasma jet detected by the THEMIS satellites.

    • M. O. Archer
    • , H. Hietala
    • , M. D. Hartinger
    • , F. Plaschke
    •  & V. Angelopoulos

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