Recruiting summer trainees for 2023

The UH Space Physics Group is recruiting summer trainees!

We are offering several positions which will challenge and inspire new space scientists, with topics ranging from solar eruptions such as coronal mass ejections to the complicated plasma dynamics of near-Earth space. Most projects will use either the world’s most accurate space weather simulation Vlasiator or the leading European space weather simulation EUHFORIA, both developed by members of our groups. Some projects will also include direct analysis of satellite observation datasets. Experience with Python and basics of plasma physics are a plus, but not required. Most positions provide an excellent topic for BSc or MSc theses!

A short overview of some of our offered topics are listed below, some full descriptions and staff members who can answer your questions can be found in our thesis section. Please indicate in your application which projects you are interested in and any preference between modelling, observations/data analysis or theory. Also, please indicate if you would like to do your BSc or MSc work based on your summer trainee work.

Please apply for these positions through the University of Helsinki Department of Physics summer trainee application system by 31.1.2023! These positions are open only to students enrolled at the University of Helsinki.

  • Wave storms in near-Earth space
    Large-scale structures originating from the Sun, such as coronal mass ejections and high-speed solar wind streams, can cause periods of intense disturbances in near-Earth space. Here we focus on one aspect of these disturbances: the generation of electromagnetic waves. These waves are important for space weather forecasting because they can accelerate particles to high energies and thus pose a threat to satellites in orbit around our planet. The goal of this project is to quantify the ability of different types of solar structures at driving wave storms. This project will be based on data analysis and will make use of existing event lists of solar wind structures, and an index recently developed to quantify the wave activity inside Earth’s magnetosphere. Statistical analysis of the events will be performed. The project is suitable for a BSc or an MSc thesis.
    For more information:
  • Turbulence in coronal mass ejection plasmas
    Turbulence, a universal phenomenon found in low-viscosity fluids, plays a fundamental role in transferring energy from large to small length scales in space plasmas. This energy transfer process has been extensively studied in the solar wind, but is much less well understood for coronal mass ejection (CME) plasma. In this project, you will investigate the properties of turbulence in CMEs and compare them with the turbulence properties of the solar wind. Cutting-edge data from the Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter spacecraft, now approaching distances very close to the Sun, will be analysed.
    For more information:
  • Unravelling the 3D structure of bursty bulk flow in the Earth’s magnetotail
    The nightside of the Earth’s magnetosphere, the magnetotail, is an extremely dynamic and active region. One of the main actors in the magnetotail dynamics are bursty bulk flows, regions of enhanced and transient high plasma velocity that are thought to play a crucial role in geomagnetic storms and substorms, one of the most explosive phenomena in the context of Earth’s magnetosphere. Bursty bulk flows are complex structures that often exhibit magnetic field signatures as well.The three-dimensional structure of the bursty bulk flow is still largely unknown as the spacecraft observations are taken at a limited number of points in the immense magnetotail. The goal of this project is to investigate these structures, their shape in 3D  and their evolution in time using the 3D Vlasiator simulation. Vlasiator is a unique tool as it models the dynamics of the entire magnetosphere in 3D. This project will be based on analysis of Vlasiator simulation data. The project is suitable for a BSc or an MSc thesis.
    For more information:;
  • Global magnetospheric convection: the known stranger
    The substorm cycle is a fundamental component of magnetospheric dynamics, leading to significant changes in the topology of the Earth’s magnetic field. From a global scale, the substorm cycle can be considered as a perturbation of the return (sunward) convection of the plasma and magnetic flux in the magnetosphere. Such a perturbation of magnetospheric convection leads to dramatic but known consequences: formation of unstable thin current sheets and the explosive redistribution of energy in the magnetotail, and the associated chain of various space weather processes. At the same time, the sources and structure of magnetospheric convection during the substorm cycle remain elusive due to the large scale of the magnetospheric system and sparse satellite coverage. Fortunately, we have Vlasiator, a modern and advanced global model of the Earth’s magnetosphere, which we will use to study magnetospheric convection in detail.
    For more information:

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