Past Years

Heliophysics Summer School 2017

1 - 8 August, 2017 - Boulder, CO

“Long-term solar activity and the climates of space and Earth”

The 2017 Heliophysics Summer School focused on the physics of the connections between the Sun, the heliosphere, the magnetospheres and the upper atmospheres of the planets. The solar system offers a wide variety of conditions under which the interaction of bodies with a plasma environment can be studied, while exoplanets and Sun-like stars offer an even wider range of perspectives with lessons about our local cosmos from distant past to distant future.

Heliophysics Summer School - 10 Anniversary 2016

Heliophysics school celebrates 10th anniversary

NASA-UCAR program strengthens relatively new field
[By Jeff Smith, Science Writer & Public Information Officer, NCAR/UCAR Communications]

The Heliophysics Summer School: 10 Years and Counting

By Dr. Tony Phillips

Demographics of the LWS Heliophysics Summer School

by Andres Munoz-Jaramillo

Heliophysics Summer School 2016

July 26 – August 2, 2016 - Boulder, CO

“Explosive Energy Conversions and Particle Acceleration”

The 2016 Summer School began with an overview of the various components composing the Heliophysical system, and reviewed some of the universal physical processes at work throughout the system.  It then focused on several kinds of explosive events which serve to illustrate these universal processes that occur through the coupled Heliophysical system.  The explosive events include solar flares, coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and, geomagnetic storms and substorms.  The school also covered the impacts these and other explosive events might have on infrastructure and people on Earth.

Heliophysics Summer School 2015

28 July - 4 August, 2015 - Boulder, CO

Seasons In Space: Cycles of variability of Sun-Planet systems

The 2015 Summer School started with the foundations of heliophysics and proceeded with a focus on the cycles of variability throughout the planetary system: the origins of the sunspot cycle, the consequences for the solar wind and the galactic cosmic rays, and the variety of impacts of these processes on planetary environments and upper atmospheres, particularly Earth's. The School addressed the space-weather consequences of solar wind patterns associated with the Sun's rotation, and looked into the consequences of planetary orbital motions that cause the seasonal changes in geospace from ionosphere to magnetotail that are associated with the tilt of planetary spin and magnetic axes relative to the orbital planes.

Heliophysics Summer School 2014

9-16 July, Boulder, CO

Comparative Heliophysics

The 2014 Summer School focused on the foundations of heliophysics while exploring connections to adjacent disciplines from the perspective of our local cosmos: stars like the Sun, planets like those in the solar system, and formation histories not too dissimilar from those that are relevant to understanding the formation, evolution, and present state of our immediate space environment.

Heliophysics Summer School 2013

12-19 July, Boulder, CO

Heliophysics of the Solar Systems

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 2013 Heliophysics Summer School addressed not only the physics of all these various environments but also the technologies by which these various environments are observed. The program was complemented with considerations of the societal impacts of space weather that affects satellites near Earth and elsewhere in the solar system.

Heliophysics Summer School 2012

31 May - 07 June, Boulder, CO

Heliophysical Exploration

The 2012 Heliophysics Summer School focused on the science underlying current and future heliophysical missions. After providing students with broad overviews of the solar atmosphere, the course covered the basic concepts and unanswered questions pertaining to magnetic reconnection, shocks, plasma instabilities, turbulence, and heating, and the manner in which these concepts and questions affect our understanding of phenomena such as substorms, radiation belt and chromospheric dynamics, solar wind turbulence and particle heating, and heliospheric shocks.

The emphasis of the course was on the quest for understanding and advancing heliophysical science that has inspired and motivated the missions mentioned above. The course was based on lectures, laboratories, and recitations from world experts, and drew material from all three textbooks Heliophysics I-III.


Heliophysics Summer School 2011

27 July - 03 August, Boulder, CO

Long-term solar activity and the climates of space and Earth

The 2011 school focused on long-term processes, from the Sun's modulated activity to its influences on the climate systems of the heliosphere, Earth's atmosphere and planetary environments.  This class drew material from the third volume of the textbook series, Heliophysics III: "Evolving solar activity and the climates of space and Earth" as well as basic material from the first volume: Heliophysics I: "Plasma physics of the local cosmos".

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

Prof. Amitava Bhattacharjee (University of New Hampshire), Prof. Dana Longcope (University of Montana-Bozeman), and Prof. Jan Sojka (Utah State University) were the Deans of the fifth summer school.

I & II


Heliophysics Summer School 2010

July 28 - August 04, Boulder, CO

Space Storms

Using Textbooks I & II, the 2010 school developed problem sets and labs in conjunction with individual lectures. The problem sets and labs were developed as auxiliary material for the textbooks.

The first three programs of the summer school encompassed the entire scientific discipline that is now called heliophysics, which was borne out of the need for interdisciplinary research in the context of NASA's Living with a Star (LWS) Program. The result was the production of three textbooks for use at universities worldwide.

Drs. Karel Schrijver (Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center) and George Siscoe (Boston University) were the Deans of the first three summer schools.

Evolving solar activity and the climates of space and earth


Heliophysics Summer School 2009

22-29 July, Boulder, CO

Evolving solar activity and the climates of space and earth

The third year of the program focused on long-term processes, from the Sun's modulated activity to its influences on the climate systems of the heliosphere, Earth's atmosphere, and planetary environments.


Space storms and radiation: causes and effects


Heliophysics Summer School 2008

23-30 July, Boulder, CO

Space storms and radiation: causes and effects

The second year covered explosive energy conversion and energetic particles.


Plasma Physics of the Local Cosmos


Heliophysics Summer School 2007

July, 30 - August 07, 2007 Boulder, CO

Plasma Physics of the Local Cosmos

The first year covered the plasma physics of the local cosmos, i.e., the science that is uniquely enabled by our existence within an environment of ionized gases.