Dr Jenny Carter

Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow

School/Department: Physics & Astronomy, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 272 3571



I am a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin fellow in the Planetary Sciences group in the School of Physics and Astronomy University of Leicester. Prior to Leicester I studied at University of Bristol for a MSci in Physics with Astrophysics. I later worked as a research scientist in the optics group at the National Physical Laboratory, and then at the European Space Agency’s European Space Astronomy Centre, Madrid, Spain, as a Young Graduate Trainee. My astronomy career started as part of a team supporting the XMM-Newton mission and my thesis explored X-ray emission from the Earth’s exosphere. This X-ray emission was previously considered a nuisance, but has since led to future mission concepts such as for SMILE. Since 2013 I have worked in the field of magnetospheric-ionospheric coupling. I lead the SMILE Ground-based and Additional Science Working Group and the Super Dual Aurora Radar Network Spacecraft Working Group. I am an alumni of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science Rising Talents UK & Ireland award 2020, and I am a L'Oréal STEM ambassador. I was honoured to be awarded the Herschel Society & Royal Astronomical Society’s Caroline Herschel prize lectureship in 2021. I’m also really passionate about the public engagement of science and making science a part of everyone’s culture regardless of background.


My research considers dayside interactions of the Earth's magnetic field with the solar wind and how this couples with the ionosphere. This interaction manifests itself in many ways including via auroral features such as arcs and through field aligned currents. I am heavily involved in the upcoming European Space Agency Chinese Academy of Sciences Solar wind Ionosphere Link Explorer (SMILE) mission. In particular I lead efforts to combine SMILE data sets with those from other facilities and experiments. I also use space and ground facilities such as SuperDARN to monitor convection in the ionosphere. I investigate solar wind composition via novel uses of the XMM-Newton observatory. XMM-Newton can also be used to extract knowledge of the Earth's exospheric hydrogen density distribution and also variations using these observations. I am currently funded by the Royal Society as a Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow.


Selected publications:

Carter, J. A., Milan, S. E., Paxton, L. J., Anderson, B. J., & Gjerloev, J. (2020). Height-integrated ionospheric conductances parameterized by interplanetary magnetic field and substorm phase. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 125, 

Carter, J. A., Milan, S. E., Fogg, A. R., Sangha, H., Lester, M., Paxton, L. J., & Anderson, B. J. (2020). The evolution of long-duration cusp spot emission during lobe reconnection with respect to field-aligned currents. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 125, 

Connor, H. K., & Carter, J. A.,  Exospheric neutral hydrogen density at the nominal 10 RE subsolar point deduced from XMM-Newton X-ray observations. J. Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 2019,  124,  1612-1624, doi:10.1029/2018JA026187

Carter, J. A.; Milan, S. E.; Fogg, A. R.; Z. A., Paxton, L. J.; Anderson, B. J., The association of high latitude dayside aurora with NBZ-field aligned currents,  Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 2018, 123, doi:10.1029/2017JA024782

Carter, J. A.; Milan, S. E.; Fear, R. C.; Walach, M. T.; Harrison, Z. A., Paxton, L. J., Hubert, B., Transpolar arcs observed simultaneously in both hemispheres, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 2017, 122, 6107-6120, doi:10.1002/2016JA023830

Carter, J. A.; Milan, S. E.; Coxon, J. C.; Walach, M. T.; Anderson, B. J., Average field-aligned current configuration parameterized by solar wind conditions, Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics, 2016, 121, 1294-1307, doi:10.1002/2015JA021567

Carter, J. A.; Milan, S. E.; Fear, R. C.; Kullen, A.; Hairston, M. R., Dayside reconnection under interplanetary magnetic field By-dominated conditions: The formation and movement of bending arcs, Journal Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 2015, 120, 2967-2978, doi:10.1002/2014JA020809.

Carter, J. A.; Sembay, S.; Read, A. M., Identifying XMM-Newton observations affected by Solar Wind Charge Exchange Part II, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 2011, Vol 527, A115, 16 pp,  

Carter, J. A.; Sembay, S.; Read, A. M., A Coronal Mass Ejection as viewed by XMM-Newton, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2010, Vol 402, Issue 2, pp. 867,

Carter, J. A.; Read, A. M., XMM-Newton EPIC Background and the production of the blank sky files, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 2007, Vol 464, Issue 3, pp. 1155, 10.1051/0004-6361:20065882


PhD 2nd supervisor of Jaewoong Jung, University of Alaska Fairbanks, US: Exospheric neutral hydrogen density distribution and fluctuations

Press and media


Earth's magnetosphere


Solar wind Ionosphere Link Explorer (SMILE) mission

Space Weather


Royal Astronomical Society

European Geophysical Union


Caroline Herschel Prize Lecture 2021

L'Oréal STEM ambassador award 2021 & 2022

L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Sciences UK & Ireland Rising Talents 2020 for the Physical Sciences award

STFC Spark Award joint holder 2019, 2022

Media coverage


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