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University of L’Aquila (UNIVAQ)


The research activity is focused on:

  • modelling of magnetospheric, ionospheric and GIC current systems during active magnetic conditions;
  • remote sensing of the plasmaspheric mass density;
  • ULF waves in the magnetosphere;
  • effects of the solar wind variability on Earth’s climate. In this framework, continuous measurements of the geomagnetic field variations in a wide frequency range are carried out at low (SEGMA array) and high (Terra Nova Bay and Dome C, Antarctica) latitude stations.

The Group hosts the International Space Science School (http://www.cifs-isss.org/) since its foundation and the Consorzio Area di Ricerca in Astrogeofisica.


Villante U., Vellante M., Francia P., Pietropaolo E., De Lauretis M., Piersanti M., Regi M., Del Corpo A., Di Matteo S., Napoletano G.

Main Research Fields

  • Modelling of magnetospheric, ionospheric and GIC current systems during active magnetic conditions.
    The modelling of ionospheric/magnetospheric current systems during active magnetic conditions is developed through the analysis of data from observatories in space and ground-based, through the comparison between magnetospheric observations and models, and through direct numerical simulation of the basic physical process. Through the estimate of magnetosphere – ionospheric current system response to SW conditions, especially during a geomagnetic storm, is used to evaluate the Ground Induced currents (GIC) that can interact and disrupt the operation of power grids, magnetic surveying etc.
  • Remote sensing of the plasmaspheric mass density.
    The technique is based on the determination of the field line eigenfrequencies from a cross-spectral analysis between measurements along a magnetometer array of 25 stations that extend from Italy to Finland. Through this technique the following aspects can be analysed: spatial distribution and temporal dynamics of the magnetospheric plasma density during a geomagnetic storm; coupling process between plasmasphere and ionosphere; ionic composition of the magnetospheric plasma.
  • ULF waves in the magnetosphere.
    Through the analysis of geomagnetic field fluctuations in the low frequency range (ULF, 1 mHz – 1Hz), the following aspects about of MHD waves can be analysed: their entry mechanisms through the magnetosphere; their generation mechanisms at the magnetopause; their propagation through the magnetosphere.
  • Effects of the solar wind variability on Earth’s climate.
    The variations of the ULF waves power at polar latitudes are compared to the principal atmospheric parameter for different solar wind and interplanetary magnetic field conditions in order to study the dynamic coupling between the geomagnetic field fluctuations and the Earth’s atmosphere variability.

Instrumentation operated by UNIVAQ

  • SEGMA (South European GeoMagnetic Array): 5 stations magnetometer array located in Italy, Hungary and Bulgaria.
  • Magnetic stations in Antarctica: 2 stations operates in Antarctica, one near the Italian base Mario Zucchelli, at Terra Nova Bay, and the other one near the Italian-French base of Concordia, at Dome C, in the Antarctic plateau. Both stations are equipped with tri-axial induction magnetometers which provide continuous ULF (1 mHz – 1 Hz) magnetic measurements also during the austral winter.


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