Dr Suzanne Imber

Lecturer in Space Physics

Room F64b, Physics and Astronomy

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2079

Email: si88@le.ac.uk

Personal details

I was educated at Berkhamsted School, Hertfordshire, and Imperial College London, where I graduated with first class honours in 2005. I then moved to the University of Leicester and was supervised by Professor Steve Milan during my postgraduate studies.

I completed my PhD in 2008, which was called ‘Auroral and Ionospheric Flow Measurements of Magnetopause Reconnection during Intervals of Northward Interplanetary Magnetic Field’. I then moved to the US to take a Research Scientist position at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

In 2011, I moved back to the University of Leicester as a Research Associate working on the European Union ECLAT project, and was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in 2014 for a project entitled ‘Rough Winds do Shake the Magnetosphere of Mercury’. I currently hold a lectureship at Leicester, and an Adjunct Faculty position at the University of Michigan.


2015/2016 academic year:

  • First year maths (1710 and 1720), Partial Derivatives and Multiple Integrals
  • First Year option course: Terrestrial Planets
  • Second year Electricity and Magnetism (2240)
  • Third and fourth year research project supervision


S.T. Lindsay, M.K. James, E.J. Bunce, S.M. Imber, H. Korth, A. Martindale, T.K. Yeoman, MESSENGER X-ray observations of magnetosphere–surface interaction on the nightside of Mercury, Planetary and Space Science, Volume 125, June 2016, Pages 72-79, ISSN 0032-0633, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2016.03.005.

Milan, S. E., S. M. Imber, J. A. Carter, M.-T. Walach, and B. Hubert (2016), What controls the local time extent of flux transfer events?, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 121, 1391–1401, doi:10.1002/2015JA022012.

Imber, S. M., J. A. Slavin, S. A. Boardsen, B. J. Anderson, H. Korth, R. L. McNutt Jr., and S. C. Solomon (2014), MESSENGER observations of large dayside flux transfer events: Do they drive Mercury's substorm cycle?, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 119, 5613–5623, doi:10.1002/2014JA019884.

Slavin, J. A., et al. (2014), MESSENGER observations of Mercury's dayside magnetosphere under extreme solar wind conditions, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 119, 8087–8116, doi:10.1002/2014JA020319.

Imber SM, SE Milan, and M Lester, Solar cycle variations in polar cap area measured by the SuperDARN radars, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 118, doi:10.1002/jgra.50509, 2013.

Slavin, J. A., Imber, S. M et al., MESSENGER observations of a flux-transfer-event shower at Mercury, J. Geophys. Res., 117, A00M06, doi:10.1029/2012JA017926, 2012.

Imber, S. M., J. A. Slavin, H. U. Auster, and V. Angelopoulos, A THEMIS survey of flux ropes and traveling compression regions: Location of the near-Earth reconnection site during solar minimum, J. Geophys. Res., 116, A02201, doi:10.1029/2010JA016026, 2011.

Imber, S. M., Milan, S. E. and Hubert, B., The auroral and ionospheric flow signatures of dual lobe reconnection, Annales Geophysicae, vol. 24, no11, pp. 3115-3129, 2006.


My main research interest is the study of the interaction of the solar wind with the planetary magnetospheres of the Earth and Mercury.  At the Earth this is undertaken with a combination of measurement techniques:

  • In situ spacecraft measurements of magnetic field and plasma data
  • Ground-based radar measurements of the ionospheric plasma velocity using the SuperDARN radar network
  • Images of the auroral ovals taken from polar orbiting spacecraft

The goal of such multi-instrument studies is to understand how energy and momentum are transferred to the Earth’s system from the solar wind, and what implications this has on the internal dynamics of the magnetosphere.

I have also recently become involved with the analysis of data from NASA’s MESSENGER mission, the first spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury. Mercury’s small size, relatively weak magnetic field and close proximity to the Sun mean that it has an extremely dynamic magnetosphere which is unique in the solar system.

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