Jean Lilensten


Senior scientist (research director) at CNRS, France

        *        President of the European project COST 724 devoted to space weather (2003-2008) and involving 23 countries. French delegate of the European project COST ES803 devoted to space weather and the European project COST ES 1005 on the impact of solar activity on the climate.

        *        Founder and co-editor in Chief of the journal of " Space Weather and Space Climate " (EdPS Pub.) .

        *        Winner of the 2010 European Prize Europlanet, and Prize " Taste of Science " by the French Ministry of Science in 2012.

        *        Author of 111 published scientific papers in refereed journals, 198 scientific papers in international meetings, 47 International invited conferences.

        *        Founder of the "European Space Weather Week" international meeting. Member of several international scientific councils.

        *        Creator of the auroral simulator " Planeterrella "

        *        Birkeland lecturer (Norwegian Academy of Science award), 2014

        *        Laureate of the Corresponding Astronomer nomination at the Royal Observatory of Belgium.




Publications related to the red line polarisation


M. Barthélémy, J. Lilensten , F. Pitout , C. Simon, J. Moen, D. Lorentzen, I.Mc. Crea, H. Rothkaehl, Polarization in auroral red line during coordinated ESR/optical experiment, 29, 1101–1112, Annales Geoph., 2010, doi:10.5194/angeo-29-1101-2011


M. Barthelemy, M. Lystrup, H. Ménager, S. Miller, J. Lilensten, First detection of polarization in jovian auroral H+3 emissions, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 530, A139 (2011), DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201014314


Bommier V. et al, The theoretical impact polarization of the O I 6300 A red line of Earth Aurorae, Ann. Geophys., 29, 71-79, 2011.


Lesur, V., Heumez, B., Telali, A., Lalanne, X., and Soloviev, A. (2017a), Estimating error statistics for Chambon-la-Forêt observatory definitive data, Ann. Geophys., 32:939–952, doi: 10.5194/angeo-35-939-2017 


Lesur, V., Wardinski, I., Baerenzung, J., and Holschneider, M. (2017b), On the frequency spectra of the core magnetic field Gauss coefficients, Phys. Earth Plan. Int., doi: 10.1016/j.pepi.2017.05.017 


Lesur, V., Rother, M., Wardinski, I., Schachtschneider, R., Hamoudi, M., and Chambodut, A. (2015), Parent magnetic field models for the IGRF-12 GFZ-candidates, Earth, Planets and Space, 67(87), doi:10.1186/s40623-015-02Jean Lilensten

A.C. Levasseur-Regourd et al. (19 authors), Astrophysical and geophysical observations with Piramig/Salyut 7 experiment, Ad. Space Res., 3, p 27-30, 1985


J. Lilensten, C. Simon, M. Barthélémy, J. Moen, R. Thissen and D. A. Lorentzen,  Measurement of the polarization of the oxygen thermospheric red line: a review and a prospective in the frame of Space Weather studies, Space Weather,  4, S11002, doi:10.1029/2006SW000228, 2006


Lilensten, J., J. Moen, M. Barthélemy, R. Thissen, C. Simon, D. A. Lorentzen, O. Dutuit, P. O. Amblard, and F. Sigernes (2008), Polarization in aurorae: A new dimension for space environments studies, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L08804, doi:10.1029/2007GL033006


J. Lilensten, M. Barthélémy, P.O. Amblard, J. Moen, H. Rothkaehl, C. Simon Wedlund, H. Lamy, J. Eymard, and J. Ribot, Calibrated polarization of the thermospheric auroral red line, J. Space Weather Space Clim., 3, A01, 12 pages,, 2013


J. Lilensten, V. Bommier, M. Barthélémy, D. Bernard, H. Lamy, J. Moen, M. G. Johnsen, U. P. Løvhaug, and F. Pitout, The thermospheric auroral red line polarisation: comparison between theory and observations , submitted to SWSC, 2014


Tøffner-Clausen, L., Lesur, V., Olsen, N., and Finlay, C. (2016), In-flight scalar calibration and characterisation of the swarm magnetometry package, Earth Planets and Space, page 68:129, doi:10.1186/s40623-016-0501-6 




Scientific Contributions

My work can be identified under the general title of research on planetary space environments. In the early 90s, the scientific community working on solar-terrestrial relations had a relatively limited field of study. Two major developments made it greatly evolve. The first is the emergence of space weather. This term appeared repeatedly in the mid 90’s. The aim is to extend the scientific knowledge in order to quantify the solar activity and its impact on our societies. The second is the comparative planetology. It became increasingly clear that the spatial envelopes of the planets play a major role in their history, and that to address them, the specialists of the Earth upper atmosphere were well equipped.

In terms of space weather my main contributions are:

- The resolution of the coupled kinetic Boltzmann transport equation for the electrons and for the proton - hydrogen system for the solar wind into the Earth's atmosphere (from 1992 to today).

- The discovery of thermospheric vortices, real cyclones at 250 km altitude (2000).

- The discovery of the polarization of the auroral red line emission of the atomic oxygen, work which was largely completed since 2008 in narrow collaboration with Norway (from 2005 to today).

- The development of several methods of reconstruction of the solar spectrum resulting in a space instrument (from 2000 to today).

- The determination of the best proxies for the solar flux intensity (from 2003 to today).

- The structure of the discipline in Europe ( presidencies projects) , and the creation of the European Journal of Space Weather ( Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate) which I am editor in Chief (2011).

In Planetology , my main contributions are as follows:

- Participation in the discovery of the Martian aurora (2005).

- Discovery of new species in the ionospheres of the Earth, Venus , Mars, Titan (from 2005 to


- Completion of the scenario that explains how Mars lost its atmosphere, citing a completely novel mechanism for part of the scenario (2013).

- Calculation of emissions of several planetary bodies (Earth, Venus , Mars, Titan , Ganymede) driving, since 2008, to calculate the emissions of exoplanets (from 1995 to today).



Teatching, outreach


To complete this picture, I would stress the importance that I attach to experimentation, teatching and to

outreach activities.

I have participated in 22 French EISCAT campaigns in Tromso and in Arctic. I designed a photo-polarimeter which was further improved and built by the University of Oslo.

I advised 12 PhD students of which 8 are now full time researchers or in the academic system.

I published 12 books for all publics from children to PhD students, 9 in French and 3 in English.

I invented the Planeterrella, an outreach experiment based on Kristian Birkeland’s Terrella. 28 copies are operating around the world because I give the plans to any public institute.