The Online Space Physics Textbook of the University of Oulu

R. Rasinkangas1, K. Mursula1, Th.Ulich2, and J. Kangas2

1Department of Physical Sciences, University of Oulu, Finland
2Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, Sodankylä, Finland


The online space physics textbook of the University of Oulu ( was among the first attempts to utilize the World Wide Web in space physics education. The text aims to cover the main knowledge from the fields of heliospheric, magnetospheric, and ionospheric physics, all of which are research topics in Oulu and Sodankylä.

The text is best suited for university students at under-graduate and graduate level, for two reasons. Firstly, the resources have not allowed to make the text "entertaining" enough for younger or more general audience. Secondly, the work has been very unofficial right from the start, i.e., the writing and updating is not as active as one might hope. Thus the text serves best as an additional source of information when lecturing space physics at university level using more traditional methods, especially since the approach differs from the typical prose of textbooks.

When creating the service, the basic design rule has been to take advantage of the internal cross-linking the medium allows. It is hoped that this makes it easier to appreciate the rich phenomenology of the near-Earth space, and to see how different phenomena can be related. Also, as the linking requires that the text is subdivided into many short pages, it is possible to list, e.g., observational facts with much more details without disturbing the line of thought at the higher level. When this is realised with extensive use of references, the text can be useful also in research.