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

Solar radio school in 30 sec

Hamish Reid and Natasha Jeffrey speak about radio school in a short UoG video

Group’s work features on BBC’s Sky at Night


BBC’s Sky at Night programme this month features work by Dr Iain Hannah on small explosive releases of energy in the Sun’s atmosphere observed by NASA’s NuSTAR telescope. These observations are trying to catch the faint X-ray signatures of electrons being accelerated which would give clues to the physics powering these events.



Solar Radio Summer School

Glasgow University is hosting the 2015 CESRA radio summer school. The school is open to solar radio physicists including PhD students and early career researchers.  The school will cover the essential elements of theory, modelling and data analysis and will feature lectures and tutorials.  Students will have the opportunity to meet and discuss research topics with their peers together in an informal atmosphere.

Further details:


Group welcomes RadioSun visitors

Baolin Tan (China), Alexey Kuznetsov (Irkutsk, Russia) and Sergei Kuznetsov and Alexander Morgachev (Pulkovo, Russia) visit our group to work on the solar flares and radio emission from the Sun. The visits are supported by pan-European EU funded network ‘RadioSun’  involving China, Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and the UK.

Observatory Refurb – Update 5

The University’s observatory at Acre Rd is being refurbished over the summer – below are some photos showing the good progress that has been made. Lot’s has been done since the fifth, fourth, third, second and first set of pictures.







Scotland and India are working together to study eruptions on the Sun

Dr Prasad Subramanian, an associate professor of Physics at IISER Pune, visited the Glasgow Astronomy Group to study eruptions on the Sun. The collaboration is associated with the renewal of an agreement between University of Glasgow and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Pune (IISER-Pune).