The Magnetosphere-Ionosphere Research Laboratory (MIRL) at the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS), University of New Hampshire contributes to a variety of research projects in space physics. The lab primarily focuses on the development of instrumentation for ground-based, rocket-based, and satellite observations of space physics phenomena and analysis of the resulting observations.

Current research methods include:

Updated News

31 May 2018

Dr. Sarah Jones, a UNH graduate and former MIRL member, has been named NASA Project Scientist for the NASA Satellite missions ICON and GOLD. She will be giving a lecture on 7 June at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. about the science these missions hope to accomplish. Click here for details.

NASA image of the commercial satellite carrying the GOLD instrument

Also in the news, UNH has had a record number of students named as Fulbright Scholars, including Tyler Chapman ('18), recent graduate of the UNH physics engineering program and research member of MIRL. Read more here.

Tyler Chapman (Photo: Alex Nguyen)

Read more about Tyler's award from the Physics Department announcement.

14 May 2018

On April 12, Bruce Fritz successfully defended his dissertation, 'Fine structure in the ionosphere'.

Bruce has been a graduate student with MIRL since 2014. As a member of MIRL, he's researched a number of topics, including black and pulsating aurora in the ionosphere, neutral upwelling in the cusp region, and ELF whistlers in a sunlit ionosphere. He's also been heavily involved in the hardware aspects of research in the lab: he was a major contributor to the RENU2 sounding rocket mission, both in terms of instrumentation and data analysis, and he was also a major contributor to the development and installation of the ground-based ELF searchcoils in Antarctica. In addition to his research, Bruce has acted as MIRL's lab manager for a number of years.

Congratulations Dr. Fritz! Best of luck with all your future endeavors!

14 May 2018

Every year, the UNH Physics department awards one student the Harper Fellowship. This year, the recipient is MIRL graduate student Niharika Godbole!

Congratulations Niharika!

More information about the fellowship can be found here.

20 March 2018

Michelle Salzano, current MIRL graduate student, has been awarded an NSF Travel Award to attend the SCAR Open Science Converence in Davos, Switzerland! This competitive award was offered through the NSF Office of Polar Programs.

Michelle will represent the University of New Hampshire and the Magnetosphere-Ionosphere Research Laboratory at the Arctice Science Summit, where she will have the opportunity to present her work and meet other research groups that operate in the Polar Regions.

Congratulations Michelle!!!

16 March 2018

Tyler Chapman has been named a 2018 Fulbright Scholar which provides grants for individually designed research projects outside the U.S. Tyler has been with MIRL for almost three years and will graduate in May 2018. His research under the scholarship will take him to Norway, where he will work with geophysicists there to understand the connection between low frequency magnetic signals and the onset of earthquakes.

This award is an extremely competitive, national scholarship through which Tyler will represent the United States well. Fulbright alumni include 59 Nobel Laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 71 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients and thousands of leaders across the private, public, and non-profit sectors.

Congratulations Tyler!!!

22 February 2018

Last week, Dr. Allison Jaynes (former MIRL member), wrote an article about new research on pulsating aurora: "Spectacular light shows in Earth’s atmosphere called pulsating auroras are directly linked to processes in space. After decades of research, the full chain of events that creates such auroras has been observed." (Nature 554, 302-303 (2018), doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-01669-z)

Figure from Kasahara et al. Read the full research article here.

8 February 2018

On January 31, 2018, the Space Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine hosted a celebration of the 60th anniversiary of the Explorer 1 mission and the associated discovery of the Earth's radiation belts. Dr. Allison Jaynes, former MIRL member and current faculty member at the University of Iowa, gave a talk on the "Cutting Edge of Radiation Belt Research."

Cutting Edge of Radiation Belt Research from The National Academies on Vimeo.

The conference focused on scientific and technological advances over the last 60 years, beginning with the history of the mission and radiation belt discoveries, and then continuing with the latest results from NASA's Van Allen Probes and other missions observing the Earth system.

2 February 2018

From the Washington Post:

NASA lost contact with a satellite 12 years ago. An amateur just found its signal.

NASA confirmed an incredible discovery Tuesday — that an amateur radio astronomer, on the hunt for a classified government satellite, stumbled instead upon signals from a spacecraft that had been thought lost 12 years earlier, raising hope that NASA can resurrect a mission that changed our understanding of the “invisible ocean” around the Earth.

8 January 2018

From the New Hampshire Union Leader: Officials with the University of New Hampshire say 30 students from Manchester High School West and Dover High School with academic talent and financial need can earn scholarships to attend college and study in the fields of science, technology, engineering or math as part of a new program. The Finishers’ Program, which has received a five-year $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, will provide up to four years of scholarships as well as ongoing academic support and job placement assistance, said UNH spokesman Erika Mantz.

The program, according to Mantz, grew out of a need to continue supporting students participating in Manchester’s STEAM Ahead program. It partners with West and Dover high schools, as they represent the largest and fastest growing urban areas, respectively, in New Hampshire. Dover High School also offers STEM opportunities through its career and technical education programs.

“STEAM Ahead is a successful public school/private industry partnership — participating students are absent one-fifth as often and have almost a point higher GPA than those not participating in the program — but when they graduate high school the support stops,” said David Mattingly, assistant professor of physics at UNH and the head of the program. “This new program helps students transition from high school to college and persist through a four-year college degree and STEM career by providing the financial and academic support they need.”

Read the full article here.

28 November 2017

Professor Harlan Spence, director of EOS and plasma physicist in the UNH Physics Department has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Professor Spence was named among 396 new fellows.

Click image for an article with more details.

17 November 2017

MIRL is involved with the UNH team working on MEME-X, or the Mechanisms of Energetic Mass Ejection eXplorer. This potential next generation NASA satellite to study the interaction of the Sun with the Earth's atmosphere. MEME-X was selected by NASA for Phase-A funding under NASA's Small Explorer Program to develop the mission further for possible selection as a funded mission. For further details, click the photo below.

18 October 2017

Congratulations to recent UNH alum, Morgan O'Neill, on her appointment to the faculty at Stanford University starting in 2018! Morgan was a 2009 graduate of the UNH Physics program who went on to earn her doctorate from MIT in 2015.

At UNH Morgan worked with Dr. Eberhard Moebius on the IBEX satellite mission and was directly involved with calibration of the IBEX star sensor using the MIRL optical calibration facility.

Morgan O'Neill and George Clark worked in the EOS Facility for Optical Calibration at Low Light Levels where they calibrated the star sensor for the IBEX mission. (Photo by D.Sims, UNH-EOS, Aug. 2009)