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Science Museum Space Exploration


Update (Summer 2021): any prospective contact to be addressed from 2022.

There are a few opportunities currently to work within the solar physics team at IAS. For prospective candidates, there is a national funding available every year with a competitive scheme. Please contact me directly to give you more info on this. The subject of research is listed below.

PhD in Solar Orbiter Connection Science:

Evolution of transient structures in the solar corona and their imprints in the solar wind: a multi-instrument study with Solar Orbiter.

Linking solar activity on the surface and in the corona to the inner heliosphere is one of the main goals of Solar Orbiter, a European Space Agency mission launched in February 2020.

         The probe transports a series of ten remote-sensing and in situ instruments with the goal to bridge the gap between multi-wavelengths and magnetic observations of the Sun, its corona and the heliosphere, and direct measurements of the solar wind plasma, fields, waves and energetic particles (details of each instrument capability are given below in the list of tutorials). Because of the unique scientific capabilities this mission will provide, and its unique vantage points (up to 0.28 AU in distance, and with orbits out of the ecliptic plane), we expect to make major breakthroughs in understanding how the solar activity drives the inner solar system. In particular, its unique combination of in-situ and remote sensing instruments can be used to shed light on determining the source region of the solar wind and its structures (e.g. coronal mass ejections) measured in-situ at the spacecraft position. 

         A key element is understanding the elemental composition as well as the plasma dynamics that play a major role in the linkage of structures and their evolution seen at the Sun, and their effects in the heliosphere. This is the case for, e.g. active regions, filaments, coronal holes, which can be linked to different variations in the solar wind. In particular, different structures on the Sun have different abundances as a consequence of the FIP (First Ionization Potential) effect, and are associated to different plasma dynamics (e.g. intrinsic upflows of various ranges depending on the local plasma dynamics at play). Comparing in-situ and remote sensing composition data, coupled with modeling, will allow us to trace back the source of heliospheric plasma.

         The present thesis will therefore focus on using a combination of data such as EUV spectroscopy with SPICE, EUV imaging from EUI, and photospheric magnetometry with PHI, but also in situ instrumentation such as SWA and MAG to link the composition and the plasma dynamics seen in the regions that Solar Orbiter will observe. In particular, the student will use the newly developed method for measuring relative abundances of the solar corona (the Linear Combination Ratio (LCR)) developed at IAS, which provides reliable measurements of elemental composition. These diagnostics, combined with more classic analyses such as the evolution of plasma flows, will be put in the context provided by the magnetic topology given by analysing PHI data, EUV imagery from EUI, and in situ data from Solar Orbiter or other missions of observation opportunities (e.g. Parker Solar Probe). Such a thesis will bring forward linking different sets of science data from the Solar Orbiter mission to answer the question of the variability of the solar wind structures and their source regions. 



Profile of the candidate:

The candidate is expected to have obtained a master's degree with prior knowledge in solar physics, heliospheric physics and plasma physics.

Skillsets in different computing languages, especially Python, are demanded. 

The candidate will be proficient in English.


This PhD thesis is proposed in the context of the Solar Orbiter mission, which launched in February 2020. It provides an opportunity to combine different instruments aboard the spacecraft, and as such answering one of the key science questions the mission will tackle. 

Please contact me directly if interested. Note that fundings are not yet secure and will also depend on future opportunities. More information on PhD fundings in France and at Université Paris-Saclay can be found here

PROSPECTIVE POSTDOCS: Please contact me directly 

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