Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The course is concerned with the Earth's atmosphere (including ozone and UV-radiation), magnetic fields and Aurora, and discusses the effects of the Sun and the solar wind. The Aurora, in particular, is a result of the interaction between the atmospheres of the Sun and the Earth. The Aurora gives information about the energy transfer from the solar wind to the magnetosphere. The variations in the energy state of the magnetosphere are related to the phenomenon we in general terms call "space weather". Knowledge about the atmosphere and the radiation environment of the Earth, and other planets as well, is important for our basic understanding of climate variations.

The course will include a summary of space and ground based instruments for measurements of phenomena in the plasma environment of the Earth. By the word "plasma" we understand a mixture of free ions and electrons, or charged particle in general. It turns out that about 99 % of the universe is in the plasma state, implying that understanding of the this so called "fourth state of matter" is of fundamental importance, in particular also for astrophysics.

Learning outcome

Students taking the course will get a basic introduction on the composition of the atmosphere including the sun rays' travel through the atmosphere. The students will also learn to understand the buildup and decomposition of ozone and learn about the principles for measuring the thickness of the ozone layer. Terms such as UV-dose, UV-index and Dobson Units (DU) are introduced.

Students should after completing the course be able to describe Earth's magnetic field and know the equations used for single-particle tracking and the magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) description of magnetized plasma. Students should know plasma transport in the polkalottene run by the solar winds and give a detailed description of electrical current systems on the border to the solar wind(elektriske strømsystemer i grenseflaten mot solvinden), in the magnetosphere, in the Earth's upper atmosphere and how these current systems (strømsystemer) kan be recorded by magnetic field measurements. The students have to be able to give a detailed description of northern lights. Terms such as Lorentz force, Gyro movement (gyro bevegelser), ExB-drift, Chapman layers, Hall and Pedersen currents, ring currents, electrojet, magnetic Reynolds number and magnetic reconnection should be known. They should be able to account for the definition of space weather and how modern infrastructure kan be influenced by solar storms.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

In addition to fulfilling the Higher Education Entrance Qualification, applicants have to meet the following special admission requirements:

  • Mathematics R1 (or Mathematics S1 and S2) + R2

And in addition one of these:

  • Physics (1+2)
  • Chemistry (1+2)
  • Biology (1+2)
  • Information technology (1+2)
  • Geosciences (1+2)
  • Technology and theories of research (1+2)

The special admission requirements may also be covered by equivalent studies from Norwegian upper secondary school or by other equivalent studies (in Norwegian).

Recommended previous knowledge

Knowledge corresponding to the following courses at the University of Oslo: FYS-MEK1110 – Mechanics, FYS1120 – Electromagnetism, FYS2130 – Oscillations and Waves and FYS2140 – Quantum Physics.

Overlapping courses


The course is given in the fall term and contains 4 hours of teaching (lectures and exercises) per week. Compulsory problems and project work will be included.

As the teaching involves laboratory and/or field work, you should consider taking out a separate travel and personal risk insurance. Read about your insurance cover as a student.


Written mid-term exam in mid October with approx. 20 % weight. Project work where the theme is to be chosen in conjunction with the course responsible within November 1. with a deadline December 1. The project is weighted 20 %. The final exam will be held at start of December and is weighted 60 %. The final grade in the course is based on an overall assessment of the various evaluation components.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed examination at the beginning of the next semester.

Re-scheduled examinations are not offered to students who withdraw during, or did not pass the original examination.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Exam attempts in FYS3610 – Space physics (discontinued) count as exam attempts in:


Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






This course is taught for the last time 2017.

It will be replaced by FYS3600 from the autumn of 2018.


Exams will be offered Autumn 2018 and Autumn 2019.

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)