Space Weather

The Pennsylvania State University Meteo 465 / EE 472 /AERSP 492 SPACE WEATHER§

Spring 2020    9:05-10:20 TR

111 Forum 

Topics: This course will address the phenomenon of Space Weather, using a top to bottom system approach (sun/space/magnetosphere/ionosphere/atmosphere/earth/tech/people). Your introduction to space physics will progress from a basic science pursuit to one with practical/operational implications (e.g., direct electromagnetic impacts on society (including coupling to the lower atmosphere), operational space and satellite drag issues, GPS scintillation, communication impacts, near space, etc.). The course will conclude by discussing the emergence of Space Weather as a predictive science. 

Instructor: Tim Kane, 213 EEE, 3-8727,

Office Hours: Mondays 3-4, Fridays 2-3, or by appointment 

Prerequisites: Background in electromagnetics, atmospheric science, etc. (or consent of instructor). 

Text: “An Introduction to Space Weather” by M. Moldwin, 2008. (PSU e-book)


Supplemental Texts:

  • “Space Weather- Physics and Effects” by Bothmer and Daglis, 2007. (PSU e-book)
  • “Understanding Space Weather and the Physics Behind it” by D. Knipp, 2011.
  • (this one is good for more expansive reading; available for perusal at office hours J)
  • “The Sun, the Earth, and Near-Earth Space: A Guide to the Sun-Earth System” by J. Eddy, 2009.

(also available at office hours) 

Additional Reading:

and tons of other books on orbital mechanics, plasma physics, biology, tech, economics,

and other Class Handouts, Journal Articles, etc! (check the CANVAS site!

Course Requirements and Grading Policy:

Homework  60%

Homework is given weekly and is considered an important part of the class. Students are encouraged to work together on the problems, though each student is responsible for handing in an individual homework.

Quizzes (1 in-class and 1 final at 15% each): 15% (30%)

The purpose of the exams is to test the individual student’s progress in the class.

Team Projects: 15% (0 %)

Team projects due midterm; edited and improved by semester’s end. Talk to me!

Class participation:

Including active discussions, etc

Date | Lectures | (Suggested) Reading | Stuff

  1. Tues. Jan. 14, Thurs. Jan. 16 
    Space Weather Overview 
    M: Ch. 1
    E: pp. 1-12
    B&D: pp. 1-4 (K: Ch. 1)
  2. Tues. Jan. 21, Thurs. Jan. 23
    (K: Ch. 2 and Ch.4)
  3. Tues. Jan. 28
    Plasma Stuff
    (K: Ch. 6)
  4. Thurs. Jan. 30 Sensing
  5. Tues. Feb. 4 The Sun M: Ch. 2 E: pp. 13-44
    B&D: pp. 31-102
    (K: Ch. 1 and Ch.9)
  6. Thurs. Feb. 6
  7. Tues. Feb. 11 The Heliosphere M: Ch. 3 E: pp. 45-70
    B&D: pp. 103-130
    (K: Ch. 5 and Ch. 10)
  8. Thurs. Feb. 13 Solar Wind, Meteors, Dust, etc.
  9. Tues. Feb. 18 The Magnetosphere M: Ch. 4
    E: pp. 71-98
    (K: Ch. 6 and Ch. 11)
  10. Thurs. Feb. 20 Near Earth Environment, Debris, etc.
  11. Tues. Feb. 25 The Upper Atmosphere M: Ch. 5
    E: pp. 99-138
    B&D: pp. 203-224
  12. Thurs. Feb. 27
  13. Tues. Mar. 3 The Upper Atmosphere E: pp. 139-164
    (K: Ch. 7 and Ch. 12)
    If doing a Team Project, now’s the time to hand it in!! oh, and this mandatory thing:
    March 5th evening NASA lecture!
  14. Thurs. Mar. 5 Middle too!
  15. Tues. Mar. 17 Technical Impacts M: Ch. 6
    E: pp. 165-208
    NRC Report (2012)
  16. Thurs. Mar. 19 …including satellites
  17. Tues. Mar. 24 Technical Impacts, yet more! B&D: pp. 247-402
    5 Chapters
    (K: Ch. 13 and Ch. 14)
  18. Thurs. Mar. 26 … military too
  19. Tues. Mar. 31 Living in Space & other phenomena M: Ch. 7 and Ch. 8
    B&D: pp. 131-171
  20. Thurs. Apr. 2 including biological
  21. Tues. Apr. 7 Weather and Climate Effects E: pp. 209-234
    B&D: pp. 225-245
    NRC Report (2012)
  22. Thurs. Apr. 9
  23. Tues. Apr. 14 Societal and Economic Impacts
  24. Thurs. Apr. 16
  25. Tues. Apr. 21 Modeling / Forecasting E: 235-254
    B&D: pp. 5-30
    and pp. 403-425
  26. Thurs. Apr. 23
  27. Tues. Apr. 28 Forecasting / Mitigation (?) If doing a Team Project,
    time to hand the update in!
  28. Thurs. Apr. 30

Academic Integrity
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Attendance Policy
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In all cases, students should inform the instructor in advance, where possible, and discuss the implications of any absence. Missing class, even for a legitimate purpose, may mean there is work that cannot be made up, hurting the student’s grade in the class. Likewise, students should be prepared to provide documentation for participation in University-approved activities, as well as for career-related interviews, when requested by the instructor. Students who will miss a class in accordance with Senate Policy 42-27, should present a class absence form ( ).