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  1. A major obstacle in cultivating a robust Heliophysics (and broader scientific) community is the lack of diversity throughout science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. For many years, this has been understood as a “leaky pipeline” analogy, in which predominately minority students initially interested in STEM gradually fall (or are pushed) out of the field on their way to a scientific research position. However, this ignores critical structural and policy issues which drive even later career Ph.D.s out of a career in Heliophysics. We identify here several systemic problems that inhibit many from participating fully in the Heliophysics community, including soft money pressure, lack of accessibility and equity, power imbalances, lack of accountability, friction in collaboration, and difficulties in forming mentorship bonds. We present several recommendations to empower research-supporting organizations to help create a culture of inclusion, openness, and innovative science.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 25, 2024
  2. Collisionless magnetic reconnection typically requires kinetic treatment that is, in general, computationally expensive compared to fluid-based models. In this study, we use the magnetohydrodynamics with an adaptively embedded particle-in-cell (MHD-AEPIC) model to study the interaction of two magnetic flux ropes. This innovative model embeds one or more adaptive PIC regions into a global MHD simulation domain such that the kinetic treatment is only applied in regions where the kinetic physics is prominent. We compare the simulation results among three cases: (1) MHD with adaptively embedded PIC regions, (2) MHD with statically (or fixed) embedded PIC regions, and (3) a full PIC simulation. The comparison yields good agreement when analyzing their reconnection rates and magnetic island separations as well as the ion pressure tensor elements and ion agyrotropy. In order to reach good agreement among the three cases, large adaptive PIC regions are needed within the MHD domain, which indicates that the magnetic island coalescence problem is highly kinetic in nature, where the coupling between the macro-scale MHD and micro-scale kinetic physics is important. 
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  3. A large number of heliophysicists from across career levels, institution types, and job titles came together to support a poster at Heliophysics 2050 and the position papers for the 2024 Heliophysics decadal survey titled “Cultivating a Culture of Inclusivity in Heliophysics,” “The Importance of Policies: It’s not just a pipeline problem,” and “Mentorship within Heliophysics.” While writing these position papers, the number of people who privately shareddisturbing stories and experiences of bullying and harassmentwas shocking. The number of people who privately expressed howburned outthey were was staggering. The number of people who privately spoke about how theyconsidered leaving the field for their and their family’s healthwas astounding. And for as much good there is in our community, it is still atoxic environmentfor many. If we fail to do something now, our field will continue to suffer. While acknowledging the ongoing growth that we as individuals must work toward, we call on our colleagues to join us in working on organizational, group, and personal levels toward a truly inclusive culture, for the wellbeing of our colleagues and the success of our field. This work includes policies, processes, and commitments to promote:accountabilityfor bad actors;financial securitythrough removing the constant anxiety about funding;prioritizationof mental health and community through removing constant deadlines and constant last-minute requests;a collaborative culturerather than a hyper-competitive one; anda community where people can thrive as whole personsand do not have to give up a healthy or well-rounded life to succeed.

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  4. Abstract

    Study Analysis Group 21 (SAG21) of NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group was organized to study the effect of stellar contamination on space-based transmission spectroscopy, a method for studying exoplanetary atmospheres by measuring the wavelength-dependent radius of a planet as it transits its star. Transmission spectroscopy relies on a precise understanding of the spectrum of the star being occulted. However, stars are not homogeneous, constant light sources but have temporally evolving photospheres and chromospheres with inhomogeneities like spots, faculae, plages, granules, and flares. This SAG brought together an interdisciplinary team of more than 100 scientists, with observers and theorists from the heliophysics, stellar astrophysics, planetary science, and exoplanetary atmosphere research communities, to study the current research needs that can be addressed in this context to make the most of transit studies from current NASA facilities like Hubble Space Telescope and JWST. The analysis produced 14 findings, which fall into three science themes encompassing (i) how the Sun is used as our best laboratory to calibrate our understanding of stellar heterogeneities (‘The Sun as the Stellar Benchmark’), (ii) how stars other than the Sun extend our knowledge of heterogeneities (‘Surface Heterogeneities of Other Stars’), and (iii) how to incorporate information gathered for the Sun and other stars into transit studies (‘Mapping Stellar Knowledge to Transit Studies’). In this invited review, we largely reproduce the final report of SAG21 as a contribution to the peer-reviewed literature.

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  5. Software is a critical part of modern research, and yet there are insufficient mechanisms in the scholarly ecosystem to acknowledge, cite, and measure the impact of research software. The majority of academic fields rely on a one-dimensional credit model whereby academic articles (and their associated citations) are the dominant factor in the success of a researcher's career. In the petabyte era of astronomical science, citing software and measuring its impact enables academia to retain and reward researchers that make significant software contributions. These highly skilled researchers must be retained to maximize the scientific return from petabyte-scale datasets. Evolving beyond the one-dimensional credit model requires overcoming several key challenges, including the current scholarly ecosystem and scientific culture issues. This white paper will present these challenges and suggest practical solutions for elevating the role of software as a product of the research enterprise. 
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  6. Abstract

    For the first time, we explore the tightly coupled interior‐magnetosphere system of Mercury by employing a three‐dimensional ten‐moment multifluid model. This novel fluid model incorporates the nonideal effects including the Hall effect, electron inertia, and tensorial pressures that are critical for collisionless magnetic reconnection; therefore, it is particularly well suited for investigatingcollisionlessmagnetic reconnection in Mercury's magnetotail and at the planet's magnetopause. The model is able to reproduce the observed magnetic field vectors, field‐aligned currents, and cross‐tail current sheet asymmetry (beyond magnetohydrodynamic approach), and the simulation results are in good agreement with spacecraft observations. We also study the magnetospheric response of Mercury to a hypothetical extreme event with an enhanced solar wind dynamic pressure, which demonstrates the significance of induction effects resulting from the electromagnetically coupled interior. More interestingly, plasmoids (or flux ropes) are formed in Mercury's magnetotail during the event, indicating the highly dynamic nature of Mercury's magnetosphere.

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