The Center for Space and Atmospheric Research (CSAR) studies the fundamental physics of planetary atmospheres and space environments. These systems include the complex and highly-coupled Atmosphere, Ionosphere and Magnetosphere (AIM) systems of Earth and other planets. Members of CSAR bring scientific expertise spanning the realms of theory, modeling, observation and experiment as they apply to each region of the AIM system. CSAR strives to:

  • Develop world-class facilities for experimentation, observation, theory and computational modeling and simulation;
  • Leverage broad networks for scientific collaboration to assemble, enable and lead large-scale research projects;
  • Engage with federal government, industry, and academic collaborators to provide scientific and technical leadership in our core research areas of expertise;
  • Provide education and outreach opportunities that connect our space and atmospheric science and engineering research to collaborating programs in the Department of Physical Sciences and across the University (B.S., M.S. and Ph.D.).


CSAR identifies and addresses fundamental research problems in space and atmospheric sciences and engineering. CSAR coalesces teams of faculty and staff scientists and engineers to provide rapid responses to challenges and opportunities. CSAR innovates towards new applications of the space environment that serve the general public, academia, government and industry.

Research Areas

Atmospheric Sciences and Aeronomy

  • Acoustic and gravity waves
  • Computational gas and fluid dynamics
  • High-fidelity modeling of neutral-ion coupling
  • General (global) circulation and climate
  • Mesosphere and lower thermosphere dynamics
  • Upper atmosphere physics, composition and chemistry
  • Planetary aeronomy and atmospheres
  • Remote sensing: GNSS Monitoring, RADAR, LIDAR, Imaging and spectroscopy

Space and Magnetospheric Physics

  • Computational plasma physics
  • Dynamics of the ionosphere and plasmasphere
  • Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities and turbulence in magnetized plasmas
  • Electrodynamics of magnetosphere-ionosphere interactions
  • Plasma waves and in-situ spacecraft observations
  • Solar wind-magnetosphere interactions

Faculty and Staff

CSAR Direction and Administration

  • Ms. Susan B. Adams – Administrative Assistant
  • Dr. Katariina Nykyri – Professor, CSAR Associate Director
  • Dr. Jonathan B. Snively – Professor, CSAR Director

CSAR Associated Faculty Members

  • Dr. Aroh Barjatya – Professor
  • Dr. Kshitija Deshpande – Assistant Professor
  • Dr. Michael P. Hickey – Professor
  • Dr. Ashley Kehoe - Assistant Professor
  • Dr. Alan Z. Liu – Professor
  • Dr. Edwin J. Mierkiewicz – Associate Professor
  • Dr. Jeremy A. Riousset – Assistant Professor
  • Dr. Roberto Sabatini – Assistant Professor
  • Dr. Matthew D. Zettergren – Professor

CSAR Affiliated Faculty Members

  • Dr. David Fritts – Research Professor (Boulder, CO)
  • Dr. Christopher Heale – Research Asst. Professor
  • Dr. Xuanye Ma – Research Assoc. Professor
  • Dr. Roberto Sabatini – Research Asst. Professor
  • Dr. Richard L. Walterscheid – Research Professor (Portland, OR)

CSAR Affiliated Science/Technical Staff Members

  • Dr. Robert Clayton – Research Associate
  • Dr. Shantanab Debchoudhury – Research Scientist
  • Mr. Wenjun Dong – Research Associate (Boulder, CO)
  • Dr. Jaime Aguilar Guerrero – Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Dr. Pavel A. Inchin – Research Associate
  • Dr. Shiva Kavosi – Research Associate
  • Dr. Fan Yang – Postdoctoral Researcher and Visiting Asst. Professor (EECS)

Facilities and Affiliated Laboratories

  • Space Physics Research Laboratory (SPRL, COAS 307) – Deshpande, Liu, et al.
  • Experimental and Computational Laboratory for Atmospheric and Ionospheric Research (ÉCLAIR, COAS 308) – Sabatini, Snively, Zettergren, et al.
  • Laboratory for Solar and Magnetosphere-Ionosphere Research (LaSMIR, COAS 309) – Nykyri, Streltsov, et al.
  • Space and Atmospheric Instrumentation Laboratory (SAIL, COAS 416 and 123.3) – Barjatya, Riousset, Seo, et al.
  • Laboratory for Exosphere and Near-Space Environment Studies (LENSES, COAS 419) – Mierkiewicz, et al.

Selected Research Projects

  • AtmoSense/AIRWaveS: Atmosphere-Ionosphere Responses to Wave Signals
  • CEDAR: Physics of the Hydrogen Geocorona
  • Dynamics in the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere Over the Andes Lidar Observatory
  • Electromagnetic Waves and Particles in Earth's Radiation Belt
  • Measuring Interstellar Temperature and Ionization Variations Using Observations of Faint Diffuse [OII] Emission
  • MRI: Acquisition of a High-Power, Tunable Diode Laser to Upgrade the Na Lidar System at the Andes Lidar Observatory
  • Observations and Analysis of Wave-Induced Constituent Transport in the Mesopause Region
  • Space Plasma Physics
  • The Lunar Sodium Atmosphere: From the Surface to the Exotail

Contact Us

Dr. Jonathan Snively
Professor and Director of the Center for Space and Atmospheric Research (CSAR)