ALMA workshop, Glasgow, May 14, 2012

ALMA/CASA workshop with solar emphasis will be held at Glasgow University on Monday, May 14. The agenda and timetable can be found at the UK ALMA homepage (courtesy of George Bendo). Organiser and further info email Eduard Kontar.

Happy 10th Birthday RHESSI

NASA’s Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) was launched 10 years ago on 5 Feb 2002. Its unprecedented view of the high energy X-ray and γ-ray emission from solar flares has provided many insights into these explosive phenomena. The Glasgow A&A group are heavily involved with analysing and interpreting the data from RHESSI, with these results recently reviewed by group members in the RHESSI monograph.

Astronomy Summer Research Projects

Astronomy and Astrophysics Group offers a number of undergraduate Summer Vacation Research Projects in the field of Astronomy. Second, third, and forth year students are invited to contact the potential supervisor and discuss the project.

More details can be found here.


PhD Studentships from SUPA – deadline extended to February 10, 2012

The deadline for applications for PhD prize scholarships sponsored by SUPA has been extended to Friday 10th February and for references to Monday 20th February. As a part of Scotish University Physics Alliance (SUPA) Astronomy and Astrophysics Group,  University of Glasgow, encourages applications for SUPA prize scholarships.
Please see details application details:

The SUPA Prize Studentships are prestigious and competitive awards intended to attract outstanding physics students from around the world, irrespective of nationality, to study for a PhD in Scotland.

Undergraduate student contributes to improved plasma diagnostic in eruptive prominences from SDO/AIA observations

2010-06-13 prominence eruption

Evolution of the 2010-06-13 prominence eruption. The circle marks the part of the prominence which was tracked. The field of view in the images is 300 × 300 arcsec.

Theoretical calculations have shown that when solar prominences move away from the surface of the Sun, their radiative output is affected via the Doppler dimming or brightening effects. In this paper co-authored between Dr Nicolas Labrosse and undergraduate student Kris McGlinchey we ask whether observational signatures of the changes in the radiative output of eruptive prominences can be found in EUV (extreme ultraviolet) observations of the first resonance line of ionised helium at 304 Å. We also investigate whether these observations can be used to perform a diagnostic of the plasma of the eruptive prominence. We find that observations of intensities in various parts of the four eruptive prominences studied here are sometimes consistent with the Doppler dimming effect on the He II 304 Å line. However, in some cases, one observes an increase in intensity in the 304 channel with velocity, in contradiction to what is expected from the Doppler dimming effect alone. The use of the non-LTE models allows us to explain the different behaviour of the intensity by changes in the plasma parameters inside the prominence, in particular the column mass of the plasma and its temperature.

This work is also described in this UKSP nugget.

Professor John Brown awarded RAS Gold Medal

Congratulations to Professor John Brown who has been awarded the 2012 Royal Astronomy Society Gold Medal for Geophysics.

Professor John Brown, 10th Astronomer Royal for Scotland and former Regius Chair of Astronomy at the University of Glasgow is awarded the 2012 RAS Gold Medal for Geophysics.

Early in his career Professor Brown’s ‘collisional thick-target model’ led to a new paradigm for the production of X-rays by electrons in solar flares. Identifying the mechanism of electron acceleration remains a central and unsolved problem in solar activity and his seminal work on deriving the accelerated electron distributions from their observable X-ray emission is still the landmark paper in the field, cited over 600 times.

His leading role in NASA’s award-winning Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) mission is testament to his impact in high-energy solar physics, where his work encompasses the interpretation of the properties of X-ray signatures, the modelling of particle acceleration and transport in the solar atmosphere and the analysis of the response of the flaring solar atmosphere.

Throughout his distinguished and productive research career John has collaborated widely, and – especially in his role as Astronomer Royal for Scotland – has inspired the astronomical passions of thousands of people across the UK and overseas through presentations, in person and on television and radio.

For his outstanding work in research, leadership and outreach Professor Brown is awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Full RAS press release.

Spatially resolved hard X-ray polarization in solar flares

Solar flare X-ray polarization may provide us with a method of determining photon anisotropy – an essential tool for constraining models of electron transport and acceleration.

Spatially resolved polarization across the extent of a single X-ray source has been simulated. A RHESSI nugget (Nugget 165) outlining the main ideas of the paper can be found here.



A&A Group on a trip to the Sun

The European Space Agency has selected the Solar Orbiter Mission as one of its next two missions to fly. Several members of the A&A group are Co-Investigators on Solar Orbiter instruments, in particular on the STIX X-ray imager. The group’s involvement with Solar Orbiter and STIX continues a long history of pioneering research in solar physics (dating back to the first Regius Chair in 1760) and solar X-rays in particular – a heritage which includes Co-I-ship on NASA’s award-winning RHESSI mission. With an expected launch date of 2017, the Solar Orbiter carries several instruments deep into the inner solar system to co-rotate with the Sun, imaging activity on its surface and sampling its magnetic field and solar wind.

New A&A group webpages

This is our new website so bear with us till we have everything working properly and updated.