The Heliosphere in the Local Interstellar Medium – Into the Unknown

Volume 88 in the Space Sciences Series of ISSI

“The Heliosphere in the Local Interstellar Medium”, the Proceedings of the first ISSI Workshop (6-10 November 1995), held in Bern, Switzerland and edited by R. von Steiger, R. Lallement, and M.A. Lee and published in 1996, was the first International Space Science Institute (ISSI) book (#1) in the Space Sciences Series. This book covers the knowledge gained in the subsequent 27 years that revolutionized our understanding of the interaction of the heliosphere with the very local interstellar medium (VLISM). Entirely new regions of space have been explored! The Voyagers both crossed the termination shock, passed through the heliosheath, crossed the heliopause, and entered the interstellar medium. New Horizons was launched with more modern instrumentation and explores low-latitude regions of the outer heliosphere. Energetic neutral atoms observed by IBEX and CASSINI allowed exploration of the heliosphere over the whole sky. The initial reconnaissance of the heliosphere and VLISM is complete with in situ measurements, observations of energetic neutral atoms (ENAs), neutral VLISM H and He, UV emissions, and interstellar dust.

This book is a collection reviews from experts in the many aspects of this field that describe the current state of knowledge of the heliosphere’s interaction with the interstellar medium, puzzles yet to be solved, and future plans to continue these studies.

This volume results from a Workshop held at the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) in Bern on 8–12 November, 2021.

The book is edited by J.R. Richardson, A. Bykov, F. Effenberger, K. Scherer, V.J. Sterken, R. von Steiger and G.P. Zank.

This Volume is co-published as open access Topical Collection in Space Science Reviews.

Global Change in Africa

Volume 86 in the Space Sciences Series of ISSI

The main objective of this book is to provide an overview of the benefit of using Earth Observation data to monitor global environmental changes due to natural phenomena and anthropogenic forcing factors over the African continent, and highlight a number of applications of high societal relevance. The main topics presented in the book concern: water resources, floods and droughts, coastal zones changes and exploitation of mineral resources and its impact on the environment. 

The chapters “Enhancing the Uptake of Earth Observation Products and Services in Africa Through a Multi-level Transdisciplinary Approach”, “Water Resources in Africa under Global Change: Monitoring Surface Waters from Space”, “Water Resources in Africa: The Role of Earth Observation Data and Hydrodynamic Modeling to Derive River Discharge”, “The Role of Space-Based Observations for Groundwater Resource Monitoring over Africa”, “Hydrometeorological Extreme Events in West Africa: Droughts”, “Hydrometeorological Extreme Events in Africa: The Role of Satellite Observations for Monitoring Pluvial and Fluvial Flood Risk”, “Artisanal Exploitation of Mineral Resources: Remote Sensing Observations of Environmental Consequences, Social and Ethical Aspects” and “Coastal Zone Changes in West Africa: Challenges and Opportunities for Satellite Earth Observations” are available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License via

 This volume results from a remote Workshop organized by the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) on 11–15 January 2021.

The volume is edited by A. Cazenave, D. Baratoux, T. Lopez, J.K. Kouamé, J. Beneviste, and L. Moreira and all chapters are co-published open access in Surveys in Geophysics, Volume 44, Issue 1, 2023

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Probing Earth’s Deep Interior using Space Observations Synergistically

Volume 85 in the Space Sciences Series of ISSI

During the recent decades, space missions (e.g., CHAMP, GOCE, GRACE and Swarm) have been developed by space agencies in Europe and the USA to measure the Earth’s gravity and magnetic fields and their spatio-temporal variations. These successful missions have already provided a wealth of groundbreaking results about the permanent and time-variable gravity and magnetic fields of the Earth. However, more can be learned about the Earth’s structure by combining data of the gravity and magnetic fields, together with Earth’s rotation data routinely measured using space geodesy techniques, as well as with the most up-to-date modelling of the Earth’s internal structure. Use in synergy of these global observables and model data represents a unique way to further investigate the physics of the deep Earth’s interior. In addition to the well-known correlation between Earth’s rotation and magnetic field observed at interannual and decadal time scales, recent studies have reported unexpected correlation between spatio-temporal changes of the gravity field and magnetic field, also at interannual time scale. These changes may result from processes occurring in the liquid core and at the core-mantle boundary.

This book gathers a series of chapters that provide state-of-the art overviews on the gravity field, magnetic field and Earth’s rotation observations, and on their interpretation in terms of the deep Earth’s structure, as well as on core dynamics and processes at the core-mantle boundary. This volume results from a Workshop held at the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) in Bern on 1–4 September, 2020.

The chapters ‘Gravity Variations and Ground Deformations Resulting from Core Dynamics’, ‘Rapid Variations of Earth’s Core Magnetic Field’, ‘A Dynamical Prospective on Interannual Geomagnetic Field Changes’, ‘Core Eigenmodes and their Impact on the Earth’s Rotation’, ‘Earth’s Rotation: Observations and Relation to Deep Interior’, ‘Interiors of Earth-Like Planets and Satellites of the Solar System’, ‘Correction to: Interiors of Earth-like planets and satellites of the Solar System’, ‘Fluid Dynamics Experiments for Planetary Interiors’, ‘Structure, Materials and Processes in the Earth’s Core and Mantle’, ‘Correction to: Structure, Materials and Processes in the Earth’s Core and Mantle’ and ‘Applications and Challenges of GRACE and GRACE Follow-On Satellite Gravimetry’ are available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License via 

The book is edited by Veronique Dehant, Mioara Mandea,  Anny Cazenave, Lorena Moreira and all chapters are co-published open access in Surveys in Geophysics, Volume 43, Issue 1, 2022

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Oscillatory Processes in Solar and Stellar Coronae

Volume 76 in the Space Science Series of ISSI 

The volume presents a broad and in-depth overview of recent achievements and the current state of research in magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) oscillatory and wave phenomena in the coronae of the Sun and stars. Major progress in coronal wave studies has been achieved thanks to the combination of high-precision multi-wavelength observations with spaceborne and ground-based facilities, elaborated theory of the interaction of MHD waves with plasma non-uniformities, state-of-the-art numerical simulations, and novel data analysis techniques. It has allowed the research community to reach a new look at the role played by MHD wave processes in the enigmatic phenomena of coronal plasma heating and wind acceleration as well as powerful energy releases such as flares and coronal mass ejections. In addition, the waves are intensively used as natural probes in the remote diagnostics of the coronal plasma parameters and physical processes operating in solar and stellar coronae via the method of MHD seismology. Individual chapters cover recent cutting-edge results obtained on the analysis and theoretical modelling of several most intensively studied coronal MHD wave phenomena, namely, kink and sausage oscillations of coronal loops and other field-aligned plasma structures, plus running and standing slow magnetoacoustic waves. A dedicated chapter assesses the reliability of proposed theoretical mechanisms for heating of the coronal plasma by MHD waves. Another chapter summarizes the current state of our understanding of the physical mechanisms and observational properties of quasi-periodic pulsations in solar flares, considers their analogy with similar processes detected in stellar flares, and thus establishes solid ground for the further exploitation of the solar-stellar analogy. An important discussion of novel data analysis techniques designed recently for MHD seismology applications is presented in a devoted chapter. The direction of future advances in the designated research areas are discussed.

This volume presents results from a workshop held at the International Space Science Institute in Beijing (ISSI-BJ) on 14–19 October 2019.

This volume is edited by V.M. Nakariakov, D. Banerjee, B. Li, T. Wang, I. Zimovets, M. Falanga and co-published as Topical Collection in Space Science Reviews (partial Open Access) >>

The Tidal Disruption of Stars by Massive Black Holes

Volume 79 in the Space Sciences Series of ISSI

This volume provides an overview of the fast-developing field of tidal disruption events.

For several decades, astronomers have speculated that a hapless star could wander too close to a super massive black hole (SMBH) and be torn apart by tidal forces. It is only with the recent advent of numerous wide-field transient surveys that such events have been detected in the form of giant-amplitude, luminous flares of electromagnetic radiation from the centers of otherwise quiescent galaxies. These discoveries span the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from γ-rays through X-rays, ultra-violet, optical, infrared, and radio. A small number of events launch relativistic jets. These tidal disruption events (TDEs) have caused widespread excitement as they can be used to study the properties of quiescent, otherwise undetectable, SMBHs; the populations and dynamics of stars in galactic nuclei; the physics of black hole accretion including the potential to detect relativistic effects near the SMBH; and the physics of (radio) jet formation and evolution in a pristine environment. For scientific questions concerning quiescent SMBHs, TDEs are unique probes beyond the local universe. TDEs can also occur around active galactic nuclei (AGNs), although uniquely identifying such an event on top of a bright AGN is difficult.

Currently, the diverse emission properties of flares associated with TDEs is not fully understood. This challenge is being addressed by a sharp increase in observational work and theoretical modelling. Over the next few years, the largest growth areas will likely be in the greatly expanded surveys of the transient sky, and in new numerical modeling techniques. Together these will reveal how SMBHs shine by ripping apart orbiting stars and swallowing the stellar debris.

In light of this foreseen growth, many new researchers are expected to enter the field. Therefore, the time was deemed ripe to compose a comprehensive overview of the state of the art in this rapidly-evolving field. This volume results from a Workshop held at the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) in Bern on 8–12 October, 2018.

The book is edited by Peter G. Jonker, Iair Arcavi, E. Sterl Phinney, Elena M. Rossi, Nicholas C. Stone and Sjoert van Velzen

This Volume is co-published as Topical Collection in Space Science Reviews (partial Open Access) >>

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Geohazards and Risks Studied from Earth Observations

Volume 82 in the Space Sciences Series of ISSI

The Sentinel missions of the COPERNICUS Programme of the European Union, as well as other Earth Observation missions, provide new opportunities for systematic monitoring of natural and man-made hazards and disasters that can highly impact human societies.
The contributions collected in this book address a broad range of geohazards observable from space, including earthquakes, volcanic hazards, extreme events (e.g. storm surges, floods and droughts), fires, pollution, tipping points in physical and biological systems, etc. They provide information on how space observations can improve our understanding of the driving mechanisms at the origin of such geohazards, and of their mutual interactions. Focus is given on the expected added-value information obtained by combining different types of space-based and in situ observations as well as model results.

This volume results from the ISSI Workshop “Natural and Man-Made Hazards Monitoring by the Earth Observation Missions: Current Status and Scientific Gaps” held from 15 to 18 April 2019.

This volume is edited by T. Lopez, A. Cazenave, M. Mandea, J. Benveniste 

This volume is co-published in Surveys in Geophysics, 41, 6, November 2020 (partial Open Access) >>

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Auroral Physics

Volume 78 in the Space Sciences Series of ISSI

This volume surveys our current scientific understanding of the terrestrial aurora. It is organized into eleven reviews detailing theoretical and observational aspects of characteristic auroral morphologies, and how these in turn are organized according to local time, latitude, and activity level. 

Popular descriptions often attribute the aurora to the interaction of charged particles from the solar wind with atoms in the upper atmosphere. In fact, most auroras are not the result of direct entry of solar wind particles. Rather, as detailed in this volume, auroral particle acceleration and generation of auroral forms occur primarily within the magnetosphere. Importantly, many key aspects of the aurora – most notably, the physical mechanisms responsible for the generation of discrete arcs – are still unexplained, and auroral physics continues to be an active area of scientific research. Each review chapter therefore includes a summary of open questions for further investigation. 

This volume results from the ISSI Workshop Auroral Physics held from 6 to 10 August 2018.

This volume is edited by D.J. Knudsen, J.E. Borovsky, T. Karlsson, R. Kataoka, N. Partamies

This volume is co-published in Space Science Reviews in the Topical Collection “Auroral Physics” (Partial Open Access) >>

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Understanding the Diversity of Planetary Atmospheres

Volume 81 in the Space Sciences Series of ISSI

Thanks to the observation of a growing number of planetary atmospheres, we are at the dawn of a major scientific revolution in atmospheric and climate sciences. But are we ready to understand what will be discovered around other stars? 

This book brings together 15 review chapters that study and provide up-to-date information on the physical and chemical processes that control the nature of atmospheres. It identifies commonalities between various solar system atmospheres, analyzes the dynamic processes behind different atmospheric circulation regimes, and outlines key questions remaining in solar system science.

This volume results from a Workshop organized at ISSI, on November 12-16, 2018, with the support of the Europlanet Research Infrastructure of the EU.

This volume is dedicated to the memory of Adam P. Showman, a creative thinker, brilliant scientist, pioneer and leader in the study of the diversity and dynamics of planetary atmospheres.

This book is edited by F. Forget, O. Korablev, J. Venturini, T. Imamura, H. Lammer, M. Blanc

This volume is co-published in Space Science Reviews in the Topical Collection “Understanding the Diversity of Planetary Atmospheres” (Partial Open Access) >>

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Reading Terrestrial Planet Evolution in Isotopes and Element Measurements

Volume 80 in the Space Sciences Series of ISSI

This volume takes an interdisciplinary approach to the evolution of terrestrial planets, addressing the topic from the perspectives of planetary sciences, geochemistry, geophysics and biology, and solar and astrophysics.
The review papers analyze the chemical, isotopic and elemental evolution of the early Solar System, with specific emphasis on Venus, Earth, and Mars. They discuss how these factors contribute to our understanding of accretion timescales, volatile delivery, the origin of the Moon and the evolution of atmospheres and water inventories of terrestrial planets. Also explored are plate tectonic formation, the origin of nitrogen atmospheres and the prospects for exoplanet habitability.The papers are forward-looking as well, considering the importance of future space missions for understanding terrestrial planet evolution in the Solar System and beyond. Overall, this volume shall be useful for academic and professional audiences across a range of scientific disciplines.

This volume is based on an interdisciplinary international Workshop organised by Europlanet and ISSI, which took place at ISSI, in Bern (Switzerland) during October 22 and 26, 2018 where about 48 leading scientists discussed the issues presented here.

The papers are edited by H. Lammer, B. Marty, A. Zerkle, M. Blanc, H. O’Neill, T. Kleine

This volume is co-published in Space Science Reviews in the Topical Collection “Reading Terrestrial Planet Evolution in Isotopes and Element Measurements” (Partial Open Access) >>

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