Annual Report 2020
Solar flares are extremely energetic eruptions in the outer layers of the Sun’s atmosphere, caused by reconfiguring magnetic fields. The flare releases energy downwards through the atmosphere, heating it and causing it to radiate. The ways in which the energy travels – for example thermal conduction, beams of particles, or waves – are so far unconfirmed, and are the subject of this research. There have been many recent observations of the radiation varying periodically which could suggest a pulsing energy input. When viewed in visible light we do not see the Sun’s many atmospheric layers, as the light coming from the surface is far brighter, so we need to filter the light to reveal other wavelengths like ultraviolet, infrared, and X-ray. Observations from many different space- and ground-based observatories will be combined to build up a picture of the whole atmosphere during a flare. The project will involve using several different observational techniques to draw conclusions about how temperature, density, movement of particles and magnetic field can vary during flares, and identify patterns that reveal waves travelling through the flaring solar atmosphere.
Awarded: Carnegie PhD Scholarship
University: University of Glasgow