Sophie Maguire

School of Engineering

Postgraduate Researcher


Engineering Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Radio waves have the ability to propagate through the ionosphere which is a useful property for GNSS. Using this radio wave propagation, GNSS is able to provide accurate and reliable position and timing data all around the world. However, changes within the ionospheric properties, such as the electron density, can lead to scintillation effects. Large-scale plasma structures, such as polar cap patches, auroral blobs and other structures cause scintillation, particularly when a density gradient is present. This can lead to a higher error in the accuracy and reliability of GNSS. In extreme cases of space weather, this can render a complete loss of GNSS. This PhD currently involves running experiments on the EISCAT radar system to investigate how scintillation effects caused by large-scale plasma structures can affect GNSS.

MPhys Physics with Planetary and Space Physics (University of Aberystwyth)

From a young age, I had always been interested in the science and exploration of space. As a result, I decided to study MPhys Physics with Planetary and Space Physics at the University of Aberystwyth for my undergraduate degree. During this time, I became more interested in Space Weather and the effects of geomagnetic storms and substorms within the Earth’s magnetosphere. This led to me studying abroad at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) in Longyearbyen, Norway during my final year. While studying here, I took part in experiments using the EISCAT Svalbard Radar (ESR) which has led nicely into my PhD research at the University of Birmingham (UoB).

  • Effects of scintillation on GNSS due to large-scale ionospheric plasma structures

Grande, M., Sanches-Cano, B., Nakamura, R., Vainio, R., Miyoshi, Y., Dandouras, I., Johnson, R., Oleynik, P., Nakamura, S., Perry, C., Johnson, P., Huovelin, J., Maguire, S., and Heyner, D.: Observations of Energetic Electron Substorm Injection Signatures by Cluster and BepiColumbo During an Earth Flyby, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-8067,, 2022.