Conference offers fresh perspectives on magnetic storms



Through the filters of interplanetary space and the magnetosphere/ionosphere, magnetic storms can be observed on the Earth's surface. These storms—one of the major disturbances that originate at the Sun—occur in the solar wind, the magnetosphere, and the ionosphere. They continue to baffle researchers.

What causes them, how do they differ, and can we predict them? What are their effects on the magnetotail, and how do changes in the ionosphere influence the thermosphere? A group of interdisciplinary scientists gathered to study the physics of magnetic storms from October 6 to 8, 1994, in Rikubetsu, Hokkaido. Ironically, the conference was held 100 km from the epicenter of a M 8.1 earthquake that struck the area the day before. Rikubetsu was chosen as the meeting site to celebrate the anniversary of the appearance of a red aurora during the magnetic storm of October 1989.