The Centre for Space physics examines space weather to better understand its impact on billions of dollars worth of spacecraft and related infrastructure.
Space physics is about space weather. This is different to the weather forecasts provided by the Bureau of Meteorology, although many of the terms are similar. For example, in space weather, wind speed refers to the solar wind, and a storm warning means bright aurora and possible disruptions to satellite operations, communications systems and electricity supply networks.
Space physics is a relatively new research discipline which has rapidly developed since the commencement of the space age (1950s). Space physics data are sourced from both ground-based and spacecraft platforms and is focused on the region of space between the Sun and Earth, above atmospheric physics and closer to Earth than astronomy.
There is a lot of overlap with Astrophysics, particularly since we learn a lot about stars by studying the closest star, our Sun. Many of the equations of plasma physics are common to space physics and astrophysics. A number of students who have worked with us in space physics have moved seamlessly into research in astrophysics and plasma fusion.