Found 35 talks archived in The Sun

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

Abstract

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.


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Tuesday December 11, 2012
Mrs. Illa Rivero
IAC

Abstract

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.


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Thursday October 4, 2012
Dr. Iñigo Arregui
IAC

Abstract

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.


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Thursday May 3, 2012
Dr. Valentín Martínez Pillet
IAC

Abstract

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.


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Thursday March 22, 2012
Dr. María Jesús Martínez González
IAC

Abstract

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.


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

Abstract

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.


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Thursday December 16, 2010
Dr. Damian Fabbian, Dr. Héctor Socas-Navarro
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain

Abstract

(1) In a recently published differential analysis (see Fabbian et al) we have derived abundance corrections for iron lines, using synthetic spectra from solar magneto-convection simulations that were performed via running the Copenhagen stagger-code on massively-parallel clusters. The series of 3D snapshots used for the spectral synthesis covers 2.5 solar hours in the statistically stationary regime of the convection. Crucially, we show that the effect of magnetic fields on solar abundance determinations cannot be neglected. This is equally valid for all three different Fe abundance indicators which we have studied, though the sign of the abundance correction changes depending on the interplay of the magnetic-sensitivity of the spectral line under consideration and of temperature structure variations.
Interestingly, for two of the abundance indicators (respectively, at 608.27nm and 624.07 nm) that were used in Asplund et al's analysis and that we also included in our investigation, the presence of a magnetic field has a predominantly indirect (i.e., due to temperature changes between MHD and HD models) effect, leading to positive abundance corrections (since the final equivalent width of those Fe I lines is found to decrease with increasing magnetic flux). The direct magnetic effect due to Zeeman broadening dominates instead for the 1564.85 nm absorption line, causing for it increasingly negative abundance corrections when making the initially implanted magnetic flux larger.

(2) A new three-dimensional model of the solar photosphere is presented in this paper and made publicly available to the community. This model has the peculiarity that it has been obtained by inverting spectro-polarimetric observations, rather than from numerical radiation hydrodynamical simulations. The data used here are from the spectro-polarimeter on-board the Hinode satellite, which routinely delivers Stokes I, Q, U and V profiles in the 6302 Å spectral region with excellent quality, stability and spatial resolution (approximately 0.3''). With such spatial resolution, the major granular components are well resolved, which implies that the derived model needs no micro- or macro-turbulence to properly fit the widths of the observed spectral lines. Not only this model fits the observed data used for its construction, but it can also fit previous solar atlas observations satisfactorily.


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Thursday November 11, 2010
Dr. Jaime de la Cruz Rodríguez
The Institute for Solar Physics of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science.

Abstract

Fibrils are thin elongated features visible in the solar chromosphere in and around magnetized regions. Because of their visual appearance they have been traditionally considered a tracer of the magnetic field lines. In this work we challenge that notion for the first time by comparing their orientation to that of the magnetic field, obtained via high-resolution spectro-polarimetric observations of Ca II lines. The short answer to the question posed in the title is that mostly yes, but not always.

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Thursday May 13, 2010
Dr. Jorge Sánchez Almeida
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain

Abstract

We present a visual determination of the number of bright points (BPs) existing in the quiet Sun, which are structures though to trace intense kG magnetic concentrations. The measurement is based on a 0.1 arcsec angular resolution G-band movie obtained with the Swedish Solar Telescope at the solar disk center. We find 0.97 BPs/Mm2, which is a factor three larger than any previous estimate. It corresponds to 1.2 BPs per solar granule. Depending on the details of the segmentation, the BPs cover between 0.9% and 2.2% of the solar surface. Assuming their field strength to be 1.5 kG, the detected BPs contribute to the solar magnetic flux with an unsigned flux density between 13G and 33G. If network and inter-network regions are counted separately, they contain 2.2 BPs/Mm2 and 0.85 BPs/Mm2, respectively.

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Thursday April 29, 2010
Prof. Jack Harvey
National Solar Observatory, USA

Abstract

The Sun presents us with many unsolved mysteries. In this talk I discuss three of them that have intrigued me for the last 50 years. Solar flares are the most powerful explosions in space between here and the nearby stars. The only viable power source is stored magnetic energy. Yet definitive observations of changes in the magnetic field associated with flares have been lacking until recently. Measurements with the GONG network have helped to address this mystery and the results are surprising. Efforts to observe the weak magnetic fields in the solar photosphere date nearly to the discovery of magnetism on the Sun. Improvements in observational capabilities have made this area a 'hot' topic with many important contributions from people at the IAC. High resolution observations are clarifying many features. I will focus on the role played by lower resolution work in defining the uniformity of the still mysterious weak magnetic fields over large spatial and temporal scales. Physics changes from hydrodynamic to magnetic dominance as one moves upward from the photosphere to the chromosphere. This leads to significant and complicated changes in the magnetic field in both the active and quiet Sun. Observations of the chromospheric magnetic field show several unexpected and mysterious features. Solving these mysteries will be an exciting area as observational and spectral inversion capabilities develop.