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Bachelor programme:

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Bachelor's courses

Master of Science programme:

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Physics of solar–terrestrial relationships
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Seismology
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Geoelectrics
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Paleo- and rock magnetism
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Waves in elastic media
PHYSICS OF SOLAR–TERRESTRIAL RELATIONSHIPS
This magister program provides a basic knowledge in the Space Physics and Solar-Terrestrial Physics. It includes the basic physics courses on space plasma and computational methods, data analyses tools, and considers the basic observational and theoretical knowledge of the interacting system consisted of Sun — Solar wind — Magnetosphere — Ionosphere — Atmosphere, to provide a basis for practical applications of the Space Weather.

Disciplines (Lectures)

Magnetosphere Physics
Magnetospheric structure (magnetic field and plasma in the magnetosphere). Solar wind interaction with the geomagnetic field. Numerical models of the magnetosphere. Electric fields and plasma convection in the magnetosphere. Generation of beams of energetic particles precipitating into the ionosphere. Zones of corpuscular precipitations and magnetospheric structure. Geomagnetic disturbances. Development of magnetospheric substorm.
Principles of nonlinear dynamics
The course is devoted to the main problems of nonlinear physics which include:
Deterministic chaos, logistic mapping, Feigenbaum theory, investigation of deterministic chaos on computer; Fractals, Cantor, Serpinsky, Mandelbrot sets, fractal dimensions; Strange attractors, Lorenz attractor, stability, dissipative systems; Turbulence. Kolmogorov isotropic turbulence, modern scenarios of the transition to turbulence; Solitons. KdV equation, the method of inverse scattering, Gelfand-Levitan equation, multisoliton solutions; Self organize criticality (SOC). Gutenberg–Richter low, cell automata, power low , numeric study of SOC.
Magnetosphere disturbances
Theoretical models, observations and simulation results are combined to form a coherent picture of particle acceleration and energy transformation in the open convecting magnetosphere. Different aspects of internal magnetospheric dynamics including explosive energy dissipation events (substorms) as well as the convection `crisis problem are specifically addressed. Generation of field aligned currents and field-aligned acceleration in the 3-dimensional current system are described as basic phenomena in magnetospheric-ionospheric coupling.
Physics of high-latitude ionosphere and aurora phenomena
The manifestation of a lot of processes in the magnetosphere is realized by aurora in Polar Regions. In such a way the knowledge of high latitude ionosphere and physics of polar luminosity is very important in investigations of solar–magnetosphere–ionosphere interactions. The following processes are discussed in details:
Part I. High-latitude ionosphere: Structure of the high latitude ionosphere. Convection of the ionospheric plasma; Methods of ionosphere observing; Structure of the high latitude E and F2. layers. The mechanisms of its generation; Ionization of the shortwave Sun's radiation; Ionization by the corpuscular radiation, recombination, recombination with taking into account the processes of the excitation, diffusion; Diffusion of the charged particles in plasma. Ambipolar diffusion; Auroral absorption. The substorm in the absorption; The active experiments for heating high latitude ionosphere and interpretation of its results.
Part II. Aurora phenomena: Morphology of auroral forms and its origin in magnetosphere; Concepts of auroral oval. Methods of auroral observing; Optical aurora. Altitude profiles. Characteristics of auroral emissions. Units of auroral intensities; Ground and satellite observations: aurora and particle precipitations; The development of auroral substorm and magnetosphere-ionosphere interaction; The reconstruction of field-aligned currents from ground TV all-sky data.
Magnetic reconnection theory
The problem of rapid conversion of magnetic energy into plasma energy is considered in details including (i) usual Ohm dissipation; (ii) tearing-instability; (iii) Petschek-type reconnection. The importance of this process is illustrated on the examples of solar flares, magnetospheric substorms, flux transfer events (FTEs) at the dayside magnetopause and others.

Disciplines (Lectures) for choice

Additional chapters of MHD theory and plasma physics
The movement of ideal and viscous fluids. Boundary layer. Propagation of sound waves in the moving media. Diffusion. MHD-discontinuities in plasma. Bow shocks. MHD-instabilities of ideally conducting plasma. Nonlinear waves. Solitons. Turbulence in space plasma.
Solar physics
The course is devoted to the basic concepts of solar physics which include:
Internal structure of the Sun, photosphere, chromospheres, corona. Multi-wavelength observations of solar activity. Ground based and space observatories: SOHO, STEREO, SDO; Convection of the Sun, differential rotation, meridional circulation; Magnetic fields on the Sun, sunspots and large-scale fields, Hale law and field reversals, butterfly diagrams, dynamo theory of the solar cycle; Solar flares and coronal holes, solar wind, interplanetary magnetic field, solar terrestrial relationships, space weather and space climate.
Solar wind and its origin
The course is devoted to the modern problems of the solar wind. The following topics are discussed in details:
Inhomogeneous structure of the solar wind, sector structure of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), background magnetic fields and coronal holes, low and high speed solar wind; Formation of the solar wind, Parker solution, MHD approximation, the role of boundary conditions; Heating of the solar wind by the Alfven waves and shock waves; Coronal transients, observations, models, Coronal mass ejection.
Geomagnetic pulsations and ULF emissions
The contempotary knowledge about geomagnetic pulsations and VLF emissions registered on the Earth's surface and in the near Earth's space is given. Generation and propagation mechanisms of different wave modes are studied taking into account the typical magnetosphere-ionosphere conditions. Morphological peculiarities of the signals are investigated and their relation to substorms and other physical processes in the solar wind, magnetosphere and ionosphere of the Earth are analysed. Methods of the hydromagnetic diagnostic based on the use of the pulsation characteristics for estimation of the parameters of the near Earth's plasma are discussed.
The role of magnetic fields in astrophysics
The basic problems forming our knowledge of the planetary magnetosphere are extrapolated to astrophysical environment:
Generation of magnetic fields in space, dynamo theory, the stars of solar type, magnetic fields on the stars, neutron stars, magnetars; Schwardschild and Kerr black holes, the event horizon, Penrose mechanism, generation of cosmic jets. Star formations, Young stars, jets from young stars.
Numerical methods for MHD simulation
Numerical methods of solving magnetohydrodynamic problems are considered. Conservation and non-conservation form of MHD equations. Non-dimensional parameters. Types of equations in partial derivatives. Characteristics of the system of MHD equations. Cauchy problem and the initial-boundary value problem for the system of equations of hyperbolic type. Methods of numerical solution of MHD equations. Explicit and implicit numerical schemes. Lax-Wendroff and MacCormack numerical methods. Stability of a numerical scheme. Courant-Friedrichs-Lewy condition. Explicit artificial diffusion. Boundary conditions. Open and symmetric boundary. Examples of solving some MHD problems.
Space plasma physics
The general information on plasma physics: Movement of charged particles in the magnetic field. Adiabatic invariants of movement. Magnetization currents. The conductivity of full-ionized gas. The elements of magnetic hydrodynamics: Approximation of solid medium. Equation of frozen-in field. Boundary conditions, surface discontinuities. Alfven waves. MHD-instability.