Nicolina Chrysaphi made intriguing solar observations operating UK LOFAR


Right: Nicolina operates The Rawlings Array (UK LOFAR), Left: Observations of the solar radio bursts in sidelobes while pointing array to TauA.

Nicolina Chrysaphi have successfully captured a number of solar radio bursts using the Rawling Array (aka UK-LOFAR). The preliminary quick-look images show the variety of fascinating solar phenomena.

Visiting Professor Gordon Emslie explains to Physics Central the role of turbulence in solar flares

Cartoon created by Dr Jeffrey

Cartoon created by Dr Jeffrey

In the PhysicsCentral article, “Small-Scale Turbulence May Help Power Solar Explosions” the complex physics about role of turbulence in solar flares is explained using simple terms. The Glasgow-led research team spread over 13 time zones represents six languages, five solar instruments, and various areas of expertise on the Sun’s activity.

With PhysicsCentral, the American Physical Society communicates the excitement and importance of physics to everyone.

European Solar Physics Meeting highlights group research

First IR flare observed at 8 microns, showing two IR sources near a sunspot.

First IR flare observed at 8 microns, showing two IR sources near a sunspot.

Research led by Dr. Paulo Simoes has been featured as a research highlight in a  press release from the 15th European Solar Physics meeting, held recently in Hungary. Paulo’s work uses numerical simulations to predict the behaviour of chromospheric flare emission in the infrared continuum, and understand how it can be used to track the evolution of chromospheric ionisation. Armed with this new knowledge, new observations with the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope will be proposed.

Dr. Eduard Kontar is elected as ESPD president

We congratulate A&A’s Dr. Eduard Kontar. He was elected president of the European Solar Physics Division (ESPD) of the European Physical Society (EPS) during the elections at the European Solar Physics Meeting (ESPM) in Budapest last week.

Dr. Eduard Kontar is also currently president of CESRA (Community of European Solar Radio Astronomers).

Well done from the group!

The ESPD is a division of the European Physical Society that represents and provides a forum for scientists interested in the physics of the Sun.

Eduard Kontar

Poster prize for Paul Wright

Paul Wright (right) receiving the 2017 AAS Solar Physics Division Student Poster Prize at the 48th AAS/SPD meeting in Portland, OR.

Paul Wright (right) receiving the 2017 AAS Solar Physics Division Student Poster Prize at the 48th AAS/SPD meeting in Portland, OR.

We’re delighted that Paul Wright has been awarded the 2017 American Astronomical Society Solar Physics Division Student Poster Prize at the 48th AAS/SPD meeting in Portland, OR. His poster was on “Microflare Heating of an Active Region Observed with NuSTAR, Hinode/XRT, and SDO/AIA”, and was based on a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal (including Glasgow co-authors Iain Hannah and Hugh Hudson).

Congratulations Paul!

Paul (and Stephen Brown) received an SPD Studentship to attend the meeting.

Early Career Prize to Dr. Natasha Jeffrey

We’re delighted that the EPS Solar Physics Division chose to award its first-ever 2017 ESPD Early Career Prize to Dr. Natasha Jeffrey “for significant contributions to the physics of solar flares and for inspiring outreach activities”.

Well done Natasha!

The 2017 ESPD Prizes will be presented in the course of the 15th European Solar Physics Meeting, during an award ceremony specifically designed for this event.

Blue Plaque for Prof. Alexander Wilson

An Institute of Physics Blue Plaque was unveiled on Tuesday 28th March 2017 for Professor Alexander Wilson MD FRSE, the first Regius Chair of Astronomy at Glasgow (1760 -1784).

The ceremony was attended by the Astronomer for Scotland, Professor John C Brown OBE FRSE, University Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Anton Muscatelli, former Reader and Director of University’s observatory, Dr. David Clarke FInstP as well as a descendant of Wilson, James Babington Smith. The event also saw presentations and display of material for the University’s Hunterian museum and National Museums of Scotland. The blue plaque will be permanently mounted at the entrance of the University’s observatory at Acre Rd.

BBC News coverage of the unveiling.

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Congrats to Prof. Lyndsay Fletcher FRSE

Congratulations to A&A group’s Professor Lyndsay Fletcher who has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

RSE Press Release.

Congratulations to Graham Kerr and Duncan Stackhouse!

Graham Kerr with thesis “Observations and Modelling of the Chromosphere During Solar Flares” and Duncan Stackhouse with thesis “The Acceleration and Transport of Electron Populations in Solar Flares” successfully passed their vivas.

Alliance Meeting on energetic particles, December 7-8, 2016

Alliance Meeting on energetic particles in solar flares  [webpage] , contact Nic Bian regarding the meeting.

CESRA website moves from Paris to Glasgow

Glasgow now hosts the CESRA (Community of European Solar Radio Astronomers) website thanks to Kenzie Nimmo and Norman Gray. The recent solar radio (and other) science highlights can be followed, discussed and shared on Twitter and Facebook.

Congrats to Prof John Brown OBE

John BrownCongratulations to the A&A group’s Professor John Brown (former Regius Professor of Astronomy and currently Astronomer Royal for Scotland) who has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List “for services to the promotion of astronomy and science education”.

PhD studentship in solar radio physics


Coronal Mass Ejection and radio source imaged by LOFAR and SDO (see details here)

A fully funded PhD studentship is available in the area of Solar Radio Physics at the University of Glasgow. It is a joint UK-Franco project supported by Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). The successful candidate will be based in Glasgow in the Astronomy & Astrophysics group ( and they will closely collaborate with Paris Observatory, Meudon. The PhD student will work with imaging and spectroscopic data from the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR), developing simulations to establish more detailed links between radio transient phenomena and the fine structures in radio burst spectra.

The student should have a minimum of a 2.1 honours degree or higher in a relevant discipline and should be a UK or French National. The anticipated start date is 1st October 2016. Interested candidates should email Dr Kontar.


Giant solar radio source

LOFAR_SDO_image2015_June20In the outer solar corona, the radio observations provide the unique link between near-Sun phenomena and the effects of solar activity that extend throughout the heliosphere.  ‘RadioSun‘ sponsored researchers use Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) radio images to study giant radio source associated with a Coronal Mass Ejection.

European Physical Society thesis prize goes to Dr Natasha Jeffrey

“In recognition of truly outstanding research achievements associated with PhD study in the broad field of plasma physics”, the Plasma Physics Division of the European Physical Society (EPS) awarded Dr Natasha Jeffrey a PhD prize for her thesis “The spatial, spectral and polarization properties of solar flare X-ray sources

Congratulations to Peter Levens

Peter Levens, a PhD student in the Astronomy and Astrophysics Group, has won the School of Physics and Astronomy’s Thomson Prize for his second year report on Solar Tornadoes in Prominences.

Well done Peter!

Differential Emission Measure (left) and Emission Measure Distribution (right) for a location in the solar tornado. From Levens et al  (2015) A solar tornado observed by EIS: plasma diagnostics. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 582, A27. (doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201425586)

Differential Emission Measure (left) and Emission Measure Distribution (right) for a location in the solar tornado. From Levens et al (2015) A solar tornado observed by EIS: plasma diagnostics. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 582, A27. (doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201425586)

Articles on composer-in-residence Drew Mulholland

A recent Times Higher Education article is all about the school’s composer-in-residence Drew Mulholland.

Times Higher Education

The BBC have also interviewed him about his work with the Astrophysics group.


Glasgow solar outreach lectures reach Siberia


Rendezvous with the sun

Glasgow solar physicist Dr Bian presents a general public talk for 12+ about the Sun in Irkutsk. “Rendezvous with the sun”

Galina Motorina, our former visiting PhD student won a prize

UntitledGalina Motorina, former visiting PhD student in A&A group has won a prestigious prize from the Government of St Petersburg for her work on RHESSI and SDO/AIA data  [announcement translated by Google]. This work on DEM in flares has been partially published Geomagnetism and Aeronomy and The Astrophysical Journal.

Aurora over Glasgow

On the 7th October 2015, bright aurora/northern lights were visible over Glasgow due to fast solar wind from a coronal hole on the Sun. A&A group member Dr Iain Hannah was able to photograph this aurora (shown below) and a time lapse of it is available here.


A&A Group at Explorathon 2015

On Friday 25th, four members of the group attended the Exploration 2015 at Glasgow Science Centre, a free night in which over 1000 members of the public came along to talk to researchers. We showed off some of the latest solar images and explained (using spectral lamps and spectrometers) why we look at the different colours/wavelengths of the solar light.





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Amateur and professional astronomers are hunting solar flares

Amateur and professional astronomers are taking part in an observation campaign of solar flares until the 27th September 2015. F-HUNTERS is a campaign targeted to amateur astronomers, organized by the dissemination team of the F-CHROMA project. The main goal is to encourage solar astrophotographers to hunt for solar flares, along with space and ground-based solar observatories. The progress of the campaign can be followed on F-CHROMA’s Facebook page or Twitter feed.
F-CHROMA is a project funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme, coordinated by Prof Lyndsay Fletcher.


Dr Alec MacKinnon discusses plasmas and STFC school [video]

alecIn a short video, Alec explains the importance of solar system plasmas to be discussed at STFC Introductory Solar System Plasmas School hosted by Astronomy & Astrophysics group


Glasgow welcomes STFC Introductory Solar System Plasmas Summer School

The School’s objective is to bring internationally leading UK scientists to instruct and inspire the incoming PhD students. It will provide them with the broad context in which their specific research will reside, and encourage interdisciplinary thinking from the outset.

Twitter updates on CESRA school from our PhD students

Thanks to Paul Wright and Duncan Stackhouse one can follow CESRA school via twitter #CESRA2015