From Description of a Singular Appearance seen in the Sun on September 1, 1859,
Carrington, R. C. MNRAS 20, 13-15 (1859)


On September 1st 1859, while projecting optical images of the Sun, the British astronomer Richard Carrington made the first corroborated observation of a solar flare. Early the following morning, spectacular aurorae were visible across Earth, making this in retrospect also the first 'space weather' event in which both cause and effect were recorded. Our understanding of solar flare cause and effect has advanced enormously over the intervening century and a half, driven by numerous ground- and space-based observatories, and the ability to model a physical process requiring scales from 100,000 km down to the electron gyroradius. This meeting will focus on our modern theoretical and observations understanding of solar flares and their impact, but presentations on stellar flares, microflares and other related phenomena are also welcome.

Topics for Discussion:

The meeting will focus on our modern theoretical and observational understanding of solar flares and their impact. The remit therefore includes observational and theoretical studies of

  • coronal energy storage,
  • magnetic fields and topology,
  • MHD instabilities,
  • magnetic reconnection,
  • particle acceleration, transport and radiation,
  • active filaments and coronal mass ejections,
  • flare-related waves,
  • flare prediction,
  • CME/radiation/particle impact at Earth,
  • response of Earth's magnetosphere and ionosphere,
  • microflares,
  • stellar flares.

When & Where:

Friday, 13th March 2009, 10:30-15:30 (followed by Monthly A&G (Ordinary) Meeting 16:00-18:00)
Geological Society Lecture Theatre, Burlington House, London

The subsequent Monthly A&G (Ordinary) Meeting (16:00-18:00) will feature a talk by Stuart Clark, author of the recent book "The Sun Kings", about Carrington and the 1859 event.

Admission Fee:

This meeting, as with all other specialist discussion meetings, is free to RAS member, £15 for non-members or £5 for student non-members. The admission fee is payable by cash or cheque and collected at the door. The subsequent open meeting, at which Stuart Clark is speaking, is free and open to anyone.


Lyndsay Fletcher, University of Glasgow (email) and Iain Hannah, University of Glasgow (email)