Found 29 talks archived in The Sun

Tuesday October 28, 2014
Dr. Alfred G. de Wijn
High Altitude Observatory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research


The Chromosphere and Prominence Magnetometer (ChroMag) is a synoptic  instrument with the goal of quantifying the intertwined dynamics and  magnetism of the solar chromosphere and in prominences through imaging  spectro-polarimetry of the full solar disk in a synoptic fashion. The  picture of chromospheric magnetism and dynamics is rapidly developing,  and a pressing need exists for breakthrough observations of  chromospheric vector magnetic field measurements at the true lower  boundary of the heliospheric system. ChroMag will provide measurements  that will enable scientists to study and better understand the  energetics of the solar atmosphere, how prominences are formed, how  energy is stored in the magnetic field structure of the atmosphere and  how it is released during space weather events like flares and coronal  mass ejections. An essential part of the ChroMag program is a commitment  to develop and provide community access to the `inversion' tools  necessary to interpret the measurements and derive the  magneto-hydrodynamic parameters of the plasma. Measurements of an  instrument like ChroMag provide critical physical context for the Solar  Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph  (IRIS) as well as ground-based observatories such as the future Daniel  K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST). A prototype is currently deployed in  Boulder, CO, USA. We will present an overview of instrument design and  capabilities, show some recent observations, and discuss the future of  the project.

Wednesday March 19, 2014
Prof. Rob Rutten


The chromosphere is the interface between the photospheric solar surface and the outer corona and wind.  In this complex domain the
solar gas becomes transparent throughout the ultraviolet and in the strongest spectral lines while magnetic pressure becomes dominant over gas pressure even in weak-field regions.  Fine-scale magnetically caused or guided dynamic processes in the chromosphere constitute the roots of mass and energy loading of the corona and solar wind. Notwithstanding this pivotal role the chromosphere remained ill-understood after its basic NLTE radiation physics was formulated in the 1960s and 70s.  Presently, both chromospheric observation and
chromospheric simulation mature towards the required sophistication.  The open-field features seem of greater interest than the easier-to-see closed-field features. For the latter, the grail of coronal topology and eruption prediction comes in sight.

I will start with an introductory overview, show movies to present the state of art in observation and simulation, and treat some
recent success stories in more detail.

Tuesday June 4, 2013
Prof. Eberhard Wiehr
Universität Goettingen Institut fur Astrophysik


The strongest He II emission in the visible spectral range, at 4686 A, is for the first time observed at a spectral resolution sufficiently high for a line profile analysis in quiescent solar prominences. It is found that the He II line width exceeds by far that of emissions from neutral helium which, in turn, show significant differences between the triplet and singlet emissions. The width hierarchy from singlet over triplet to He II suggests an origin in increasingly hot plasma of the transition to hot coronal surroundings. The ratio of integrated line emission is found to be independent on the prominence size suggesting that each fine-structure has its own transition to hot coronal gas in between the treads.

Tuesday April 16, 2013
Dr. Han Uitenbroek
National Solar Observatory at Sac Peak


Total spectral irradiance is typically modeled by assinging an atmospheric model to each pixel of a full disk image and geometricllay combining the predicted wavelength dependent intensity for each of these models into a disk integrated spectrum. This works reasonably well, as the hydrostatic models that are used in this procedure generally reproduce observed spectra very well. However, for numerical expedience this scheme neglects some important physical aspects of the the solar atmosphere, in particular its three-dimensional and strongly dynamic nature. In this talk I will discuss the importance of some of these effects on the spectral irradiance signal, using forward radiative transfer modeling in realistic three-dimenional simulations. Obviously, modeling the three-dimensional dynamic structure over the whole disk is computaionally prohibitive, but if some of the effects discused above are important, strategies will have to be implemented to incorporate them approximately. Characterizing these cotributions to the spectral irradiance will also help us to better understand the physical nature of the forces that drive variability, and hopefully improve our predictive capabilities. 

Thursday January 10, 2013
Prof. Eric Priest
St Andrews University


This talk will give an overview of our understanding of the Sun in the 1960's, the major discoveries since then, and the main questions that need to be answered in future. It will focus on the role of the magnetic field in the solar interior, the photosphere, prominences, coronal heating and eruptive flares.

Tuesday December 11, 2012
Mrs. Illa Rivero


The formation of active regions and its most visible outcome-sunspots-are still a matter of research. Magnetic flux tubes theory tends to explain the formation of sunspots, but it still faces some unresolved questions: How are they generated? Why can they survive all along the convective zone? How do they rise? I will review this theory and introduce a new way to understand sunspot formation: the negative effective magnetic pressure instability (NEMPI). NEMPI was predicted long ago (Kleeorin et al., 1989, 1990; Kleeorin \& Rogackevskii, 1994; Kleeorin et al., 1996) but has only been seen recently (Branderburg et. al., 2011). It arised as a effect of strong stratication and the presence of turbulence with a weak mean magnetic field. Under suitable conditions, a large-scale instability resulting in the formation of non-uniform magnetic structures, can be excited over the scale of many turbulent eddies or convection cells. This instability is caused by a negative contribution of turbulence to the effective (mean-field) magnetic pressure and has previously been discussed in connection with the formation of active regions and perhaps sunspots. Now, we want to understand the effects of rotation on this instability in both two and three dimensions. We use mean-field magnetohydrodynamics in a parameter regime in which the properties of the negative effective magnetic pressure instability have previously been found to be in agreement with those of direct numerical simulations. We find that the instability is suppressed already for relatively slow rotation with Coriolis numbers (i.e. inverse Rossby numbers) around 0.2. The suppression is strongest at the equator. In the nonlinear regime, we find traveling wave solutions with propagation in the prograde direction at the equator with additional poleward migration away from the equator. The prograde rotation of the magnetic pattern near the equator is argued to be a possible explanation for the faster rotation speed of magnetic tracers found on the Sun. In the bulk of the domain, kinetic and current helicities are negative in the northern hemisphere and positive in the southern.

Thursday October 4, 2012
Dr. Iñigo Arregui


The coronal heating problem has been with us for almost 70 years now. Among the different proposed explanations, wave-based heating mechanisms are recurrently invoked. In the last decade, a wealth of high resolution observations have shown that wave-like dynamics is present at almost all layers of the solar atmosphere. As a consequence, a renewed interest has grown on their role in plasma heating mechanisms. We will discuss a series of aspects related to the current status of MHD wave heating of the solar corona. The talk will focus on the following ones: a) recent observational discoveries of waves and their relevance to the heating problem; b) our theoretical understanding on their nature and properties; c) our current level of comprehension of the sequence of physical processes that link oscillations with dissipation and heat conversion; and d) the merits and faults of current theories, including suggestions for the way forward in both theory and observations.

Thursday May 3, 2012
Dr. Valentín Martínez Pillet


Solar Orbiter is the first mission of the ESA Cosmic Vision program and that has recently been approved at implementation level. It is an M class mission with a predicted launch in 2017. Solar Orbiter will approach the Sun to a distance of 0.28 AU and perform coordinated in-situ and remote sensing observations of the Heliosphere and the Sun. It's main scientific goal is to understand the link between physical processes at the solar surface and their impact in the inner Heliosphere. A series of gravity assist manoeuvres with Venus will kick the mission out of the ecliptic plane until it reaches an angle of 35 degrees. From this vantage point, we will observe for the first time the Solar Poles without suffering from strong projection effects. These observations can help us understand key physical ingredients of the solar dynamos such as the meridional flow and the polar field reversal. Solar Orbiter includes ESA and NASA participation and it is the first time a space mission has two instruments where Spain participates at PI level. In particular IAC/INTA is co-PI of the Polarimetric and Helioseismic Imager, a magnetograph to image the solar surface magnetic field.

Thursday March 22, 2012
Dr. María Jesús Martínez González


Solar magnetism may look deceptively boring (a rather common star with relatively low activity). As it turns out, even the most quiet areas of the Sun (away from the sunspots) harbour a rich and interesting magnetic activity which is extremely complex and dynamic at spatial scales as small as ~100 km. And more importantly, this magnetism permeates most of the Sun, all the time. Therefore, it is not surprising that it might play an important role for solving some longstanding questions of stellar magnetism as: how is the million degree corona maintained when all sunspots have disappeared during the minimum of magnetic activity? And this is of interest not only for solar physics but for stellar astrophysics too, since it is expected that every star with a convective envelope harbours small-scale magnetic activity that we cannot hope to observe with the great detail we observe it in the Sun. From the first evidence of the presence of magnetic fields in the quiet areas of the Sun to the discovery of the smallest organised magnetic structures ever observed in a stellar surface just 30 years have passed. In this seminar, I will give an overview of our present knowledge about the small-scale quiet Sun magnetism. In particular, I will show how small loops of sizes of several hundreds of kilometers appear in the surface and travel across the solar atmosphere, reaching upper layers and having direct implications on chromospheric (coronal) magnetism. I will also show some of the properties of these newly discovered magnetic structures such as their spatial distribution, a key ingredient for understanding their origin.

Thursday March 15, 2012
Mr. Jasa Calogovic
Hvar Observatory (Zagreb)


Global warming has often been portrayed as being connected only to greenhouse gasses in widespread media. However, these are just one of many factors influencing Earth’s climate. Over long timescales the Sun has been the major force driving climate changes. So-called global warming skeptics often use arguments of natural (solar driven) climate changes to argue that anthropogenic influences on the climate over last century have been largely overestimated. These arguments frequently involve hypothesized solar – climate linkages, for which there is a low level of scientific understanding, making the arguments problematic to easily prove or refute. There are three solar parameters proposed which may influence the Earth’s climate: total solar irradiance (TSI), ultraviolet (UV) spectral irradiance, or the galactic cosmic ray (GCR) flux. In recent years there has been a vigorous debate in scientific community regarding the notion of a cosmic rays influence on clouds cover. If true, such a link could have serious implications for our understanding of climate change: consequently, this has become one of the most frequent arguments of global warming skeptics. This talk will give a short overview of different forcing factors in the climate system, give a description of some hypothesized mechanisms linking solar activity to Earth’s climate, and present our current work aiming to resolve the hypothesized link between cosmic rays and clouds.

Upcoming talks

Featured talks