This course is concerned with plasma physics with an emphasis on Magnetohydrodynamics. It is set in the framework of solar physics and astrophysics, but the focus is on basic concepts of plasma physics and on basic properties of plasmas. An average student in physics or mathematics at the K.U.Leuven does not know very much about plasma physics. He is not particularly worried by this lack of scientific knowledge as he happens to live in a corner of the universe where matter is predominantly solid, liquid, or gaseous. The three states of matter which occur at the surface of the earth are however not typical of matter in the universe. Most of the visible matter in the universe exists as plasma whereas lightning and the aurora are the only natural manifestations of the plasma state on earth. This Chapter is an exercise in public relations for plasma physics. Its aim is to show that plasmas are (almost) everywhere in the universe and to point out that they are extremely complicated physical systems fundamentally different from classic neutral gases, especially when there is a magnetic field present. The hope is that the reader is convinced that plasmas are exciting physical objects that are abundantly present in the universe and that he is prepared to make the effort to learn about the basic principles and properties of plasmas.


Magnetic Field Solar Wind Plasma Physic Neutron Star Solar Physic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcel Goossens
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Plasma AstrophysicsK.U. LeuvenBelgium

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