Heliophysics Science

Heliophysics Summer School Overview

2021 HSS announcement

The Heliophysics Summer School focuses on the physics of space weather events that start at the Sun and influence atmospheres, ionospheres and magnetospheres throughout the solar system. The solar system offers a wide variety of conditions under which the interaction of bodies with a plasma environment can be studied: there are planets with and without large-scale magnetic fields and associated magnetospheres; planetary atmospheres display a variety of thicknesses and compositions; satellites of the giant planets reveal how interactions occur with subsonic and sub-Alfvenic flows whereas the solar wind interacts with supersonic and super-Alfvenic impacts.

Encompassed under a general title of comparative magnetospheres are processes occurring on a range of scales from the solar wind interacting with comets to the interstellar medium interacting with the heliosphere. The school addresess not only the physics of all these various environments but also goes into the technologies by which these various environments are being observed. The program is complemented with considerations of the societal impacts of space weather that affects satellites near Earth and elsewhere in the solar system.

The school will be based on lectures, laboratories, and recitations from world experts, and will draw material from the four textbooks: Heliophysics I-IV, published by Cambridge University Press, and textbook V, available online with free access.

The Summer School has three principal aims:

  1. Deepen the appreciation of the basic science of heliophysics for a select group of students, as faculty take them through highly interactive seminars and hands-on working groups, and
  2. Expand the textbook series to include labs, problem sets and background material, from which heliophysics may be taught at universities worldwide.
  3. Provide a professional development opportunity for teachers to incorporate heliophysics and astrophysics examples into physics, astronomy and earth science courses.

The first three schools produced textbooks for use at universities worldwide.

  • 2007: Plasma Physics of the Local Cosmos
  • 2008: Space storms and radiation: causes and effects
  • 2009: Evolving solar activity and the climates of space and earth
  • 2016: Active Stars, their astropheres, and impacts on planetary environments
  • 2016: Space Weather and society (online version)

The continuation of the school program each summer teaches new generations of students and develops the complementary materials that support teaching of heliophysics at both graduate and undergraduate levels.

  • 2010: Space Storms
  • 2011: Long-term solar activity and the climates of space and Earth
  • 2012: Heliophysical Exploration
  • 2013: Heliophysics of the Solar Systems
  • 2014: Comparative Heliophysics
  • 2015: Seasons In Space: Cycles of variability of Sun-Planet systems
  • 2016: Explosive Energy Conversions and Particle Acceleration
  • 2017: Long-term solar activity and the climates of space and Earth
  • 2018: Comparative Heliophysics
  • 2019: Heliophysics Exploration
  • 2020: Explosive Space Weather Events and their Impacts
  • 2021: Long-term Solar Activity and Earth and Space Climate



For further information e-mail kgreb@ucar.edu

The Living With a Star program of the Heliophysics Division in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate sponsors the Summer Schools. The Cooperative Programs for the Advancement of Earth System Science (CPAESS) collaborates with NASA in administering the schools.