, Volume 173, Issue 1-4, pp 1-4
Date: 13 Oct 2012

Cosmic Plasmas and Particle Acceleration: An Introduction

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Background: From the Magnetosphere to Cosmic Plasmas

The topic of this volume, Particle Acceleration in Cosmic Plasmas, is the first in a series of three broad topics, each intended for a volume in Space Science Reviews and the Space Science Series of ISSI, that cover aspects of astrophysical plasma phenomena on all scales, from the Earth’s magnetosphere to the scale of clusters of galaxies. The other two topics cover “The Microphysics of Cosmic Plasmas” and “Structure Formation and Dynamics in Cosmic Plasmas”. The motivation for the series can be found in the conclusions of a discussion Forum held in the International Space Science Institute, Bern, Switzerland, in March 2009. The topic of the Forum was the question “Is there a future for magnetospheric research?”, originally formulated at a meeting of COSPAR’s Scientific Advisory Committee in March 2008.

The discovery, exploration and detailed understanding of the Earth’s magnetosphere have been key scientific goals and the focus of sig