NASA has been studying the region around the Earth which protects us from the solar wind. A unique group of five satellites, called THEMIS, are helping scientist to unlock the mystery of how Earth's magnetosphere stores and releases energy from the sun. Three of these satellites continue to study substorms that are visible in the Northern Hemisphere as a sudden brightening of the Northern Lights, or aurora borealis. Two of the five spacecraft have been sent on a new mission to the moon. This mission is called ARTEMIS, or Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of Moon's Interaction with the Sun. As the name suggests, the two spacecraft will measure what happens when the Sun’s radiation hits our rocky moon, where there is no magnetic field to protect it.

Please click on links at the left to learn more about each mission.

What's New

Graduate Student Wins First Place at CEDAR
Grad student Beatriz Gallardo won first place in Thermosphere/Ionosphere for her student poster at the 2014 CEDAR (Coupling, Energetics and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions) Workshop. Her poster, "Ionospheric Flow Structures Associated with Auroral Beading at the Substorm Auroral Onset," utilized THEMIS data. Gallardo's work showed that extremely large, small-scale flows develop in precise association with each auroral bead (strong intensification) that is seen along the brightening auroral arc at substorm onset. This demonstrates critical features of the physics of the substorm onset process.

Obayashi Young Scientist Award Given
Dr. Toshi Nishimura of AOS/UCLA received the Obayashi Young Scientist Award from Japan's Society of Geomagnetism and Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences (SGEPSS). Nishimura received this award as a result of his ground-breaking research on a variety of topics, including energy flow to and from the ionosphere within the inner magnetosphere; fundamental, long-standing questions on the processes leading to an causing substorms; and the causes and magnetospheric source regions of pulsating and diffuse aurora, using THEMIS ASI data.

Li Wins URSI Young Scientist Award
THEMIS scientist Dr. Wen Li has won a Young Scientist award from the International Union for Radio Science (URSI); she was ranked as the #1 URSI young scientist from the US. She has also been elected as the Early Career Representative for Commission H in URSI and will be serving for the community for the next six years. In her new role, she will to help promote young scientists and help the Chair and Vice-Chair write Radio Science Bulletin.

NASA’s THEMIS Discovers New Process that Protects Earth from Space Weather
Now, for the first time, a study shows that in certain circumstances a pool of dense particles normally circling Earth, deep inside the magnetosphere, can extend a long arm out to meet – and help block – incoming solar material.

Science Magazine Publishes Research Paper by THEMIS Scientists
Science magazine published a research paper by THEMIS scientists Brian Walsh, John Foster, Phil Erickson and David Sibeck about the persistent interaction of the plasmaspheric plume with the dayside magnetopause, in the presence of dayside reconnection. The results, from THEMIS and GPS-TEC measurements and have made news around the world. Read the paper. See the press release from MIT.

Heliophysics Community of Practice for Formal Educators
The Heliophysics Community of Practice is a multi-mission effort led by THEMIS-ARTEMIS E/PO that provides professional development opportunities for middle and high school teachers across the country to learn more about current heliophysics research and incorporate it into their classroom. Learn more about the Community of Practice and how to get involved here.

Planeterrella comes to UCLA!
The Planeterrella is a unique educational tool that simulates the polar lights. Read more about how the Planeterrella is being used at UCLA as part of a growing multinational effort to promote spaceweather.

THEMIS and ARTEMIS a Magnetic Attraction at UCLA Public Outreach Event
The NASA THEMIS and ARTEMIS missions drew an impressive crowd at the 4th annual Exploring Your Universe outreach event, held at UCLA in Los Angeles, on Nov. 17, 2013. Read more.

Six Years in Space for THEMIS: Understanding the Magnetosphere Better Than Ever

Snap Goes the Particle: Interview with Christine Gabrielse

The Moon Through ARTEMIS’s Eyes: Interview with Jasper Halekas

Working with Radiation Belt Data: Interview with Drew Turner

How to Recycle a Spacecraft: Interview with Daniel Cosgrove

GEONS Student Explains Magnetometer Data

THEMIS Satellite Sees a Great Electron Escape