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General Contributions

The Triennial Earth Sun Summit is a joint meeting of the Solar Physics Division of the AAS and the Space Physics and Aeronomy Section of the AGU. As such, we solicit both interdisciplinary and focused talks. We understand that many contributions are not appropriate for one of the special sessions. These should be submitted to “General Contributions.” The organizing committee will construct cohesive, theme-based sessions out of these contributions, including both oral and poster sessions. We expect many submissions of this type, and contributors should not be concerned that their presentation will have less visibility or less status than those in special sessions.

Primary convener: Larry Paxton

Co-convener: Dana Longcope

Active Ionospheric Experimentation     

Active ionospheric experiments using high power transmitters in the high frequency (HF) range provide unique insights into fundamental plasma processes in the ionosphere, thermosphere, magnetosphere (ITM) region of the upper atmosphere effectively turning that region into a natural laboratory. Conventional ionospheric investigations with sounding rockets, satellites or ground-based sensors (radars, ionosondes, GPS, etc.) can require luck or patience to wait for the desired overhead phenomena and often plasma processes couple requiring researchers assume the values of some parameters in order to isolate and determine the quantities of interest. HF heating along with a suite of diagnostic instruments can produce a desired set of conditions in space to determine ionospheric parameters in isolation and can provide well-resolved, high-fidelity measurements and individual phenomena. Active heating facilities have been used to create artificial airglow, stimulate individual plasma resonance lines, and modulate the ionosphere to create a variety of low frequency waves that are both trapped in the earth/ionosphere waveguide and which propagate upward along magnetic field lines into the magnetosphere.  In the US there are two active ionospheric heating facilities, the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) in Gakona, Alaska and the new Arecibo heating facility in Puerto Rico. Papers on heating experiments at both facilities are solicited. We also wish to encourage a focus on prospects for future science using active experiments including contributions from other ground- or space-based instruments.  

Primary convener: Robert McCoy           

Co-conveners: Bob Robinson, Richard A. Behnke

Comparative Physics and Consequences of Celestial Body Atmospheric Loss

Atmospheres abound throughout the solar system, including the Sun and Earth, the terrestrial planets, the outer planets, several planetary moons, and comets. The loss of these atmospheres includes the escape of both neutral gas as well as ionized particles. While the neutral-ion proportions and dominant forces can be different, the basic physics and governing equations are similar. Therefore, much can be learned from a discussion of atmospheric loss comparing the physics and escape rates across different celestial bodies. For the Sun, atmospheric loss creates the supersonic solar wind that creates and fills the heliosphere and affects everything in it. For smaller bodies, the consequences of atmospheric outflow on the celestial object’s magnetosphere (whether that is internally produced or externally induced) can be substantial, driving structure and dynamics throughout the space environment of the celestial object (on a variety of spatial and temporal scale sizes). This session welcomes presentations across the broad spectrum of solar system objects, including the Sun, planets, moons, and comets, and all possible investigation techniques, including recent or archival observations, numerical approaches ranging from analytical to empirical to coupled first-principles models, theoretical analyses, or relevant lab experiments.           

Primary convener: Michael Liemohn

Co-conveners: Shannon Curry, Katherine Garcia-Sage, Nicholeen Viall

Comparative Plasma Environments Panel Series

While great strides have been made in our understanding of plasma phenomena within different environments, these advances have not always been conveyed to the broader space physics community. A more comprehensive understanding of plasma processes over a larger range of environmental parameter spaces can not only improve our understanding of the underlying physics within a single environment, but also enhance our knowledge of the phenomena occurring in environments not yet sampled, such as exoplanets and astrospheres. In the spirit of TESS, this panel series strives to bring together the different communities in space physics to delve into the most current research and commonalities between the sub-fields focusing on magnetic reconnection and the sources of energetic plasma, as well as spark meaningful discussions to inspire future collaborations. In addition to general discussion of how different plasma regimes affect reconnection and particle energization, discussion on how to best leverage both upcoming traditional and non-traditional mission opportunities to further advance our understanding will also be encouraged.

Primary convener: Robert C. Allen

Co-convener: Sarah K. Vines

Coupling processes in Geospace during enhanced solar wind driving

Geospace is a highly coupled system that involves inter-regional and cross-scale interaction processes. Those processes are particularly evident during disturbed conditions driven by enhanced solar wind driving and explosive release of magnetotail energy, which results in storms and substorms. To achieve system-level understanding of the terrestrial space environment, it is essential to understand plasma and energy transport by particles and fields to/from neighboring domains in the magnetosphere-ionosphere-thermosphere system. Examples of those can be found in magnetopause processes, plasma circulation (plume, patches and outflow), particle injection/energization/precipitation, fast flow channels, wave-particle interaction, and field-aligned currents. It is critical to utilize growing capability of observations by multi-satellites and ground-based network such as the Heliophysics/Geospace System Observatory, as well as global/multi-scale simulations, for advancing community's understanding of Geospace dynamics.

This session solicits presentations on a wide range of coupling processes in the Earth's magnetosphere, ionosphere and thermosphere system; including solar wind-magnetosphere interaction, tail-inner magnetosphere interaction, magnetosphere-ionosphere-thermosphere coupling, and global magnetospheric processes. Observations in space and ground, simulations and theory are invited. Recent progresses, future planning and discussion on open questions are welcome.

Primary convener: Toshi Nishimura

Co-conveners: Christine Gabrielse, Ying Zou

Future Innovative ISR techniques leading to new insight

The purpose of this session is to present potential future uses of the existing Incoherent Scattering Radar (ISR) facilities as well as discuss how innovative techniques can provide new physical insights for Space Sciences. For decades, the ISR’s have proven to be a powerful tool for obtaining key measurements from the near-Earth environment. Rather than reviewing the well-known and successful past of the ISR’s, this session invites papers that propose new uses of the existing capabilities and also possible expansions of them. We encourage speculative and innovative ideas.

Primary convener: Jesper W. Gjerloev

Co-convener: Christiano Brum, Alessandra Pacini, Phil Erickson

Heliophysics Science and the Deep Space Gateway

This session provides a forum to articulate the heliophysics science that is enabled by the near-lunar NASA Deep Space Gateway (DSG) platform. Contributions are encouraged that describe investigations on, deployed from, and operated from the DSG. Investigations that include remote sensing, that include in situ observations, that require crew attention, and that are conducted on the lunar surface are appropriate for this session.

Primar convener: Jim Spann      

Co-conveners: Barbara Giles

Integrated Space Weather Observing Systems: Sun-to-Earth Coverage for Research and Operations

Talks and posters are solicited for a session that will address the issue of designing an optimal set of observing systems, both ground-based and space-based, that would enable improved understanding, forecasting, and nowcasting of space weather events. The Space Weather Action Plan of 2015 established the minimum baseline of observing systems that is needed to maintain our current space weather forecasting capability, but improvement beyond our current capability is clearly needed. Similarly, NASA missions are designed as focused science explorations of a single element in the solar-terrestrial system. This session will explore new ideas for achieving simultaneous “full-coverage” measurements throughout the Sun-Earth system that would enable better characterization, understanding, and ultimately prediction of space weather events. Contributions are sought that would explore, for example, novel small-sat or cube-sat constellations for characterizing the near-Earth space environment, methods for measurement of the full-Sun magnetic field including the solar poles, innovative ideas for establishing CME warning stations inside of the L1 orbit, or Deep Space Gateway instruments for space weather observations. We also welcome talks from modelers and forecasters that address the requirements for measurements to improve models, products, and services.

Primary convener: Tom Berger

Co-conveners: Jeff Thayer, Dan Baker

Late-phase solar activity in September 2017

This session will concentrate on the unprecedented combination of measurements made between September 3 and 12, 2017, when the Sun showed an unexpectedly high level of activity late in the solar cycle. A total of 4 GOES X-class flares occurred, including the most intense gamma-ray event of the cycle, and many C- and M-class flares. Excellent observations were made of these events with numerous space missions and ground-based observatories, including the now fully operational Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA). The measurements extend across the full electromagnetic spectrum from radio waves to gamma-rays, plus particles in space and effects on the Earth. The timing of this session is optimum for a comprehensive review and interpretation of all the observations, with the goal of furthering our understanding of solar eruptive events. We will also include a discussion of whether the occurrence of similar bursts of activity at the same phase of the last two cycles is merely a coincidence or if it reflects a fundamental property of the solar dynamo. A traditional format of invited and contributed talks plus posters is planned with the possibility of a panel discussion if time permits.

Primary convener: Brian Dennis

Co-conveners: Sam Krucker, Bin Chen, Gerald Share

Leveraging the New Space revolution for Heliophysics science  

SmallSat capability and reliability continue to increase at remarkable speed and, combined with advancements in instrument miniaturization and new avenues of access to space, is ushering in a new era of space exploration. SmallSats enable both small, focused science missions at affordable cost, and also large constellations of spacecraft that previously have been unachievable. Heliophysics is particularly well positioned to take advantage of the SmallSat revolution, since much of the field’s in situ and remote sensing instrumentation have achieved levels of miniaturization and performance that now enables their accommodation on such platforms. This session is devoted to bringing together scientists, instrumentalists, principal investigators, and members of New Space industry, to share SmallSat capabilities, ideas, and opportunities.  

Primary convener: Larry Kepko

Co-conveners: Larry Paxton

Next Generation Solar Physics Mission

In June 2016, a Next Generation Solar Physics Mission (NGSPM) study was chartered by NASA, JAXA, and ESA for a multilateral solar physics mission concept to bring closure to science objectives by exploring and exploiting new windows on, e.g., wavelength, continuity, spatial and temporal resolution, spectroscopy and polarimetry, vantage point and orbit, with due consideration given to readiness of technology and analysis methods.  The resulting report ( ) presents recommendations for a future mission or missions that focus on the study of fundamental physical processes at high spatial and temporal resolution through all temperature regimes of the solar atmosphere.  This special session will comprise invited talks that will overview the recommendations from the report, science enabled by the instruments recommended, and synergies between NGSPM recommendations and existing and planned observatories.  Interested authors are also encouraged to submit abstracts on these and other topics encompassed in the report, including consideration of science enabled by multivantage observations.       

Primary convener: David McKenzie

Co-conveners: Sarah Gibson, Ted Tarbell, John Raymond

Parker Solar Probe: Steps Away from Solving Mysteries of the Corona and the Inner Heliosphere

The questions of coronal heating, solar wind acceleration, and more generally magnetic activity with the consequent generation and propagation of energetic particles from the Sun are far from being understood despite decades-long observations and modeling.

They are the main science objective of the Parker Solar Probe, a mission just a few months away from launch, that will mark the start of a new journey of discovery through the inner heliosphere and corona.

This session provides a forum for in-depth discussions of the science questions targeted by PSP focusing on predictions that will be key for planning initial observations and also for prioritizing those science questions that will be addressed early in the mission. We encourage contributions on the science topics to be addressed by the Parker Solar Probe mission.

Primary convener: Nicky Fox

Co-conveners: Nour Raouafi, Marco Velli

Preparing for Future Programs

With the upcoming launches of several Heliophysics missions, ICON (Ionospheric Connection Explorer), GOLD (Global-Scale Observations Of The Limb And Disk), Parker Solar Probe (PSP) and Solar Orbiter (SO), the priority missions of the 2012 Decadal Survey are nearly complete.  As these missions will be joining the existing fleet of the Heliophysics System Observatory (HSO), it is a good time to start considering the path forward.  This session invites contributions addressing new mission concepts, current or potential gaps in the HSO, including measurements (missions), theory, and data analysis programs.

Primary convener: R. A. Howard

Co-conveners: A. Voulidas, H.R. Gilbert, O. C. St. Cyr

Realities and Visions of the Current and Future Heliophysics Data Environment

The policies, practices, and tools enabling the access to and use of research data from Heliophysics missions and model outputs have evolved substantially in recent years. Only a few standard data and metadata formats are now used on new missions. Many tools based on these standards now make the accessing, visualization, and analysis of data and simulations much easier than before. We seek contributions from scientists or science developers that provide descriptions of working examples of science-focused tools that have used the demonstrably enhanced international Heliophysics data environment. Presentations of scientific results showing the utility of newly created tools are encouraged. While the assessment of current standards and practice is of particular interest, papers are also sought on how to evolve beyond current techniques. We solicit provocative future visions of a data environment that can address the challenges of increased data complexity and volume, coupled with the need to integrate data sources across science disciplines and national boundaries. Examples of current and potential use of emerging "big data" solutions for the Heliophysics data environment are encouraged. In addition to general poster and oral sessions based on submissions, we intend to have an oral panel discussion with a few brief introductory talks and input from the audience.

Primary convener: Jon Vandegriff

Co-conveners: Robert McGuire, Alisdair Davey

Scientific Discovery in the Heliosphere Through Data Analytics and Assimilation

Data Analytics and assimilation represent the future direction of understanding our models and measurements. Individual efforts across geospace and heliophysics are already employing sophisticated analysis and informatics methods in order to enhance return on missions and scientific efforts. There are informal networks within each sub-discipline that regularly share knowledge through existing partnerships. This session will be a forum for discussion of cutting-edge data analytics, including data fusion and assimilation, applied to Heliophysics. 

In this session, we focus on innovative techniques rather than the unique scientific objective. Commonalities in technique tie together all components of the Heliophysics system, benefiting from the fields of statistical inference, information theory, data fusion and machine learning to generate new scientific understanding. This cross-disciplinary session has a goal to promote interaction among researchers across the Heliophysics domain and lead to wider application of cutting-edge techniques.

Primary convener: Michael Kirk

Co-conveners: Ryan McGranaghan, Jack Ireland

Separating acceleration and transport effects in SEPs

Large gradual solar energetic particles (SEPs) are produced by coronal mass ejection or CME-driven shock waves as they plough through the solar corona and the interplanetary medium. Despite being observed for more than 6 decades, the physics responsible for SEPs observed near Earth-orbit remains controversial. This is primarily because at 1 AU, the observed SEP properties, such as time-histories, spectral breaks, abundance variations, and peak intensities, are smeared due to a confluence of shock acceleration processes occurring near the Sun and in interplanetary space and particle scattering processes in interplanetary turbulence during their propagation en route to Earth.  NASA’s Parker Solar Probe and ESA’s Solar Orbiter are designed to directly and repeatedly sample the near-Sun environments where interplanetary scattering and transport effects are significantly reduced, thus potentially allowing us to unravel the true properties of SEPs and understand the acceleration mechanisms at their source sites. This session seeks contributions from theorists, modelers, and observers to lay the groundwork that describes the current status of our understanding of large gradual SEP events and make specific predictions that can be tested with inner heliosphere observations over the next decade.        

Primary convener: Mihir Desai

Co-conveners: Ming Zhang

Solar Variability Effects on the Terrestrial Atmosphere From Days to Decades

The main focus of this session is to examine the influence of solar variability on the the terrestrial atmosphere on time scales from days to decades.  The differing short-term responses to flares, CMEs, the solar wind, and resulting geomagnetic storms and substorms in terms of energy budget, chemistry and dynamics, including tidal variability are all topics of interest.  Additional areas to be considered are the thermosphere and lower atmosphere response over several solar cycles. Papers describing the effects of solar variability and space weather on the evolution and habitability of terrestrial-like exoplanets around active stars are also solicited.    

Primary convener: Martin Mlynczak

Co-convener: Linda Hunt

Solar Wind Drivers of Space Weather: Anticipating Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter 

Solar wind variability is the major driver of space weather disturbances at Earth. Our ability to provide accurate and timely space weather forecasts depends critically on observations and modeling of the propagation of solar wind structures through the heliosphere from the Sun to the Earth. There are two major sources of uncertainty in current heliospheric models, the first being the lack of detailed knowledge about the boundary conditions near the Sun that form the ambient solar wind though which disturbances such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and corotating interaction regions (CIRs) must propagate en route to Earth, and the other being the properties of CMEs and shocks in the low corona. The upcoming Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter missions will provide unprecedented remote sensing and in-situ observations of the region of space where the solar wind is born and where CMEs are initiated.

We invite contributions that discuss how observations from these missions, and associated theoretical and modeling research, will improve fundamental understanding of the origins of the solar wind and CMEs, and will contribute to development of the next generation of space weather forecasting models, including both heliospheric and geospace models.

Primary convener: Simon Plunkett

Co-convener: Chin-Chun Wu, Kelly Korreck, M. Leila Mays

Sources for Suprathermal Ions

Suprathermal ions (ions of a few times the solar wind plasma energy up to 100s of keV per charge) are known to play a significant role as the seed population in the acceleration to high energy particles by coronal mass ejection (CME) shocks. In the quest for a reliable prediction of the properties of large solar energetic particle (SEP) events, one crucial element is a quantitative understanding of how the suprathermal particles are produced and distributed in the solar corona and the solar wind, especially as a sustained source. Another crucial element is a quantitative understanding of how the variation in the suprathermal seed population contributes to the variation in SEP properties. This session invites contributions from theories, models and observations that aim toward this aspect of research.

Primary convener: Yuan-Juen Ko             

Co-conveners: George Ho, Nariaki Nitta

Space Physics of Star-Planet Interactions   

Exoplanet research is rapidly transitioning from a prolific period of detection to a new phase focused on physical characterization and discovery. This is an emerging area for exploration by the TESS science community. Understanding the possible habitability of such planets requires a deeper knowledge of how stars and planets interact and, in particular, what role stellar and planetary magnetic fields play in this interaction. In the proposed session we aim to focus on the key elements in the Sun-Earth interaction that are the most relevant to address general star-planet systems. Specifically, for TESS, we would like to address the impact of strong stellar activity on planetary atmospheres, relevant to recent habitable-zone terrestrial planet discoveries (Proxima Centauri and Trappist-1 systems).        

Primary convener: David Alexander

Co-conveners: Stan Sazykin

Space Weather at Ground Level

The effects of Space Weather on ground systems were most dramatically demonstrated in the Hydro-Québec blackout of March 1989, whose causes are not yet completely understood. Recent high-sensitivity, high-time-resolution data from magnetic arrays show that large magnetic impulses can be associated with substorm-like activity, or with sudden impulses in the solar wind. In both cases, a large Z (vertically down) magnetic perturbation can occur, and by Faraday’s Law this component is very effective in inducing unwanted currents in large ground technological infrastructure such as electric grids and pipelines. Papers are invited focusing on observations, causes, effects, and mitigation of geomagnetically induced currents, and other space weather phenomena affecting ground technological systems.

Primary convener: Martin Connors

Co-conveners: Christopher Russell

State of the Young Solar Wind

The solar wind originates from the solar corona, but surprisingly little is known about how the coronal plasma actually becomes the ambient solar wind that washes over Earth some 200 solar radii from the Sun and interacts with CMEs as they cross the solar system.  Outstanding questions about the young solar wind include the origin of solar wind variability, the solar-wind heating problem, the physics and global evolution of the Alfvén surface, the evolution of the wind and transient structures en-route, and of course the global structure of the solar wind traced back to its sources in the solar corona.  Recent work with observations including visible and UV imaging and in-situ data, along with developments in theory and modeling, yield new insights even as they pose new questions for future missions to solve.

Primary convener: Sarah Gibson

Co-convener: Simon Plunkett, Barbara Thompson

Structure and evolution of the interaction between the heliosphere and the LISM

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are currently traversing the outer and inner heliosheath respectively.  In addition, the IBEX mission is remotely viewing the entire region using energetic neutral atoms observed from Earth orbit.  The combination of Voyager in situ observations and IBEX global maps is greatly increasing our understanding of the interaction region, and putting stringent constraints on models for this region.  This session is focused on the understanding of: 1) the interaction between the solar wind, with its magnetic field, and the local interstellar medium; 2) the temporal and spatial evolution of that interaction region; and 3) the properties of the local interstellar medium.  Contributions related to the future IMAP mission are also welcome.

Primary convener: Eric Christian

Co-conveners: Brent Randol

Towards the Quantitative Assessment of Models of the Inner Heliosphere and Near-Earth Environment

Considerable effort has gone into the development of models that specify or forecast conditions in the inner heliosphere and near-Earth environment. The performance of these models, however, is often underemphasized in the literature. Such assessment is essential if space weather is going to have a broad impact. This session provides a forum for modelers to present and discuss the quantitative assessment of model performance. For this session presentations related to models of the solar irradiance, flare prediction, CME initiation, solar wind parameters, the magnetosphere, and thermospheric and ionospheric conditions are solicited. Presentations on the general topic of assessing model performance, particularly with regards to forecasting, are also of interest. This session will have a traditional format, with a mix of invited and contributed talks as well as posters.       

Primary convener: Harry Warren

Co-conveners: Graham Barnes

Vertical Coupling in the Ionosphere Thermosphere System

The altitude range over which substantial energy and momentum are exchanged between the charged and neutral particles and where currents dissipate heat is generally lower than is easily accessible by ground of space-based diagnostics. Rocket measurements of the neutral winds [Larsen] and models of the neutrals winds [Hagan] in the so-called space transition region show large variability caused by tides and waves and their interactions. Likewise the current systems that are generated by such winds must be similarly structured with field-line integrated effects that influence the entire charged particle populations above the region.  Since the region itself is so hard to describe observationally a natural question arises concerning our ability to describe its behavior based on remote measurements made above and/or below the region. We propose a special session to discuss the strengths and weaknesses associated with attempts to describe the behavior of the space transition region based on remotely located measurements. Papers addressing these topics and/or specific research questions or mission concepts are solicited. Such discussions may include.

  • How measurements of Poynting flux are affected by neutral winds.
  • How particle energy deposition is dependent on neutral composition and the spectral content of particle fluxes
  • How winds in the upper thermosphere are related winds in the lower thermosphere
  • How wind driven current systems appear as plasma drifts in the upper atmosphere
  • How solar radiative spectral content affecting the lower atmosphere and E region is related to that affecting the upper atmosphere and F region during flares and non-flares.
  • How ground magnetometer data is used to determine ionospheric currents
  • How gravity waves affect the energy budget of the thermosphere 

Primary convener: Rod Heelis    

Co-conveners: Doug Rowland, Larry Paxton

Whole Atmosphere Modeling: How well do we understand the physics of thermosphere-ionosphere interactions?

The relative importance of atmospheric terrestrial weather and solar drivers in defining the thermospheric dynamics, composition, and ultimately in setting up the ionospheric electric wind dynamo are now recognized as critically important for the development of the next generation models of a fiduciary thermosphere and ionosphere. To this end, models that extend from the ground to the thermosphere are now capable of including self-consistently the effects of the weather of the day and are also starting to use ionospheric modules. The goal of this session is to encourage papers that discuss new findings, challenges and uncertainties in the field of aeronomy that help qualify and quantify the complex physics of the thermosphere vis a vis its interactions with the ionosphere. While the focus of this session is on theoretical models of the thermosphere and ionosphere, model simulations require observational data for validation and at the same time models can help support interpretation of observations. Thus, contributions on available and upcoming ground-based and satellite observations that illustrate the challenges in whole atmosphere modeling are also encouraged.

Primary convener: Fabrizio Sassi

Co-convener: Sarah McDonald, H.L. Liu, Christoph Englert

Integrating Solar Irradiance and Atmospheric Modelling

Solar irradiance is a critical element in determining the properties of the Earth’s atmosphere, and particularly space weather effects in the upper atmosphere. Understanding and better forecasting the impact of the Sun on the atmosphere requires an integrated approach: necessary components are measurements of solar irradiance with sufficient spectral resolution to drive atmospheric models, modelling of solar radiation to supplement the observations and provide forecast capability, and modelling of the Earth’s atmosphere, preferably physics-based, using actual solar drivers as inputs. Improvement in modelling the Earth’s response to the Sun requires collaborations and ongoing dialog between the communities working in each of these areas. Away from Earth, solar (and stellar) irradiance is an important factor for determining planetary evolution and habitability. As atmospheric models are extended to planets in our solar system and beyond, collaborative discourse is similarly necessary. TESS is an ideal venue to promote better appreciation of the needs and strengths of the relevant techniques, and we propose a session in which we bring the three communities together. The invited talks will be broad-brush overviews of the state of play in each of the three areas, and will be complemented by the contributed talks. Contributions that focus on advances in solar (and stellar) irradiance measurements and modeling, as well as advances in irradiance driven atmospheric modeling are solicited.

Primary convener: Stephen White
Co-conveners: Edward Thiemann, Jon Linker, Timothy Fuller-Rowell