A screenshot of a computer screen

Description automatically generated

A satellite in space with a colorful planet in the background

Description automatically generated



RAS Discussion Meeting: Energetic particle acceleration and heliosphere-interstellar medium interactions: preparing for IMAP


Date/Time: Friday 12th January 2024 - 10.30-15.30 


Mode/Location: In person at Burlington House, Royal Astronomical Society, London + online. We aim to have presentations given in person; online viewing will be available.


Organisers: Silvia Dalla (University of Central Lancashire) and Tim Horbury (Imperial College London)



Following on from the successful IBEX mission, NASA’s IMAP spacecraft will launch in early 2025 and travel to L1 with the objective of exploring the interaction between the solar wind and the local interstellar medium using energetic neutral atoms (ENAs), and understanding energetic particle acceleration near the Sun, in the heliosphere and heliosheath


ENAs are formed when energetic charged particles – propagating outward from the Sun or coming in from interstellar space – interact with neutrals at the heliosphere’s boundary. IMAP will connect in-situ 1 AU observations of suprathermals, energetic particles and pickup ions with the populations imaged via ENAs in the distant heliosphere. It will also provide solar wind measurements and real-time space weather data with higher cadence than has previously been available.


Carrying a magnetometer built at Imperial College with funding from the UK Space Agency, IMAP offers the UK community an opportunity to be involved in a headline NASA mission exploring fundamental science questions in space plasma physics, interstellar physics and astrophysics.


The meeting will introduce the mission, present the current state of scientific knowledge, and prompt a discussion about how best to help the UK community contribute to IMAP science.


Invited speakers:

Matina Gkioulidou (John Hopkins University / APL): Introduction to IMAP

Heli Hietala (Queen Mary, University of London): Energetic particle acceleration at shocks.


Abstract submission: Please submit an abstract using this form. Deadline: Wednesday 6th December 2023


Registration: Please book a ticket via the RAS meeting page here.


Timetable: (draft)

10:00 - 10:30


10:30 - 13:00

 Morning Session

13:00 - 14:00


14:00 - 15:30

 Afternoon Session

15:30 - 16:00


16:00 - 17:00

 RAS Monthly A&G Highlights meeting