Student: Stephanie Howard, Graduate Student in Physics, University of Iowa
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jasper Halekas
Low Frequency Waves and Reflected Ions in the Lunar Plasma Environment
My area of research is the interaction between the solar wind and the Moon. With no global magnetic field or atmosphere, the Moon was traditionally seen as a perfect absorber of the incoming solar wind. Recently it has become apparent that magnetic fields in the lunar crust act to reflect a significant percentage of incoming solar wind particles, which then interact with the surrounding plasma environment. Using data obtained by the ARTEMIS (Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence, and Electrodynamics of the Moon’s Interaction with the Sun) probes, I study resonant interactions between these reflected particles and plasma waves. Low frequency waves, such as those generated by cyclotron resonance with ions, can be heavily Doppler shifted, making it difficult to determine their intrinsic properties. My research uses a combination of trajectory analysis along with the Doppler shift and resonance conditions to determine the intrinsic properties of these waves. Currently I am working on a statistical study using this method on over five years of ARTEMIS data. In the future, I plan to extend this research to try to predict what type of waves will be observed for given conditions of the lunar plasma environment.