Funded PhD studentship in Solar Physics at the University of Glasgow
A fully funded PhD studentship for a UK/EU student is available at the University of Glasgow in solar flare physics. The project title is “Connections between solar flare characteristics and their underlying magnetic drivers” and will be using some of the latest solar data to investigate EUV/X-ray flare signatures relative to their magnetic properties derived from magnetograms. The primary supervisor will be Dr. Iain Hannah, the secondary Prof. Lyndsay Fletcher, within the Astronomy & Astrophysics group in the SUPA School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Glasgow, UK.
The PhD studentship will start between 1st August to 1st October 2015 for 3 years and has funding, from the University of Glasgow, for the fees (of a UK or EU student) and annual stipend (currently about £14,000).
Applicants should have (by the start date) at least a second class degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject and ideally some experience of solar data analysis – coding in IDL, SolarSoft and/or Python.
The University’s observatory at Acre Rd is being refurbished over the summer – below are some photos showing the current progress. The internal walls have been demolished since the last set of pictures of the obs refurb.
The University’s observatory at Acre Rd is being refurbished over the summer – below are some photos showing the current progress.
Although the sky this morning had a Glasgow filter (i.e. the clouds) we were able to catch the progress of the moon throughout its journey across the face of the sun. At the very moment of maximum, the clouds thinned slightly, showing the eclipsed sun smiling down on us at the University of Glasgow. Thanks to all the staff and students that helped out and all the folk that came along and saw the eclipse.
The moon starts to eclipse the sun, with a sunspot also visible on the solar surface.
The maximum eclipse (94%) in Glasgow.
The maximum eclipse caught on camera, with the University of Glasgow tower overlooking.
The moon moving away, showing more of the solar surface and sunspot again.
A large crowd gathered at the flagpole watching the clouded eclipse (thanks to @pjasimoes).
And the large crowd extends further along, watching the clouded eclipse at the University of Glasgow (thanks to @pjasimoes)
Eclipse viewers gathered at the Library and Fraser building waiting for the eclipse to peak (photo thanks to Laurence Datrier).
The moon eclipsing the sun captured on our live feed from our Acre Rd Observatory
The students (Duncan Horne, Ruaridh Newman Andrew Barr, William Newman) at the Acre Rd Observatory running the live feed
Some of the Glasgow solar PhD students (Paul Wright, Stephen Brown, Galina Motorina) broadcasting live with STV’s Sean Batty during the eclipse (photo thanks to Stephen Brown). You can rewatch the broadcast here.
Thanks to the undergraduate solar project group, Peter Wakeford and Graham Kerr for setting this up and making the observations.
*The feed will be live and update during 8am to 11am Friday 20th March. Before then it will show a static test image taken with the same telescope & filter setup.
Solar Eclipse March 20th
Update: The weather forecast for Friday morning in Glasgow is currently cloudy/variable but we will be out in force hoping for gaps in the clouds.
We also have a live feed of the eclipse from the University of Glasgow Observatory.
A rare partial solar eclipse will be viewable in Glasgow on Friday March 20th, with the maximum eclipse (the moon covering 94% of the Sun) occurring at 09:34am.
We at the University of Glasgow will be hosting (weather permitting) eclipse viewing areas where anyone can come along to safely* see the eclipse through our telescopes and viewers, with experts on hand to explain what is happening. These will be located at the Flag pole/South Front of the main University building and near the entrance to the Fraser building and Library between the times of the eclipse (08:30am to 10:43am), see the poster/map.
Graham Kerr, 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 Observations and Modelling of Solar Chromospheric Flares. Well done Graham!
Locations of optical sources in a white light flare, colour coded by time (from Kerr & Fletcher 2014)
Glasgow astronomers join UK DKIST consortium
The School of Physics and Astronomy has joined the UK Consortium for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope currently being constructed on the summit of Haleakala mountain in Hawai’i. This 4m diameter telescope will address fundamental questions at the core of contemporary solar physics. It will do this via high-speed (sub-second) imaging, spectroscopic and magnetic measurements of the solar photosphere, chromosphere and corona. DKIST will be mainly funded by the US National Science Foundation. The UK DKIST Consortium, funded also by the STFC and in kind by Andor Technology, exists to design and build the cameras for 4 DKIST instruments, develop processing and data analysis tools, and support UK observing proposals.
Rendering of DKIST dome. Image: NSO/NSF/AURA
Congrats to Prof Hendry MBE
Congratulations to Professor Martin Hendry for being awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List for services to Public Engagement in Science.
This is a unique opportunity to get involved in lunar exploration. In addition the the drilling and the archive we hope to include a simple radio receiver on the lander, which can be used to study the Moon’s tenuous exosphere and maybe even do some radio astronomy. For details of how to get involved see the Lunar Mission One homepage.
PhD student paper wins Scottish prize
Congratulations to David Graham, whose paper “The Emission Measure Distribution of Impulsive Phase Flare Footpoints“, published while he was a PhD student in the A&A group, has won this year’s Robert Cormack Bequest Postgraduate Prize. This prize, awarded annually by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, is for the best nominated paper accepted for publication in 2013/14 with a postgraduate in a Scottish Institution as prime author. David gets a cheque for a helpful sum, and an invitation to speak to the annual Cormack Astronomy Meeting in November.
The paper investigates the temperature distribution of the plasma produced in the lower atmosphere (footpoints) of a flare during the phase of primary energy injection, finding a distribution peaking at 10MK and with a slope consistent with thermal conduction. It is the first time that the properties of flare footpoints have been investigated in this way. Co-authors were Iain G. Hannah, Lyndsay Fletcher (both GU) and Ryan O. Milligan (Queen’s University Belfast)
Well done David!
As we are heading through solar maximum there are several sunspots and filaments visible on the solar disk. The image below was obtained on the ground in Glasgow, taken by two undergraduate students (Peter Wakeford and Ruari MacKenzie) using an H-alpha telescope at our Acre Road Observatory.
These observations will be part of a larger observing campaign in coordination with other instruments, including more ground-based observatories (Solar Tower of Observatoire de Meudon, Fuxian Solar Observatory) and satellites (SDO, Hinode, IRIS).
The objective is the measurement of magnetic fields in prominences and tornadoes, exploiting the excellent spectro-polarimetric capabilities of THEMIS in the He D3 line to infer the magnetic field vector. These phenomena represent unique examples of the small-scale coupling between magnetic field and plasma in environments with distinct dynamical behaviour. As such they represent key case studies for deepening our understanding of the Sun.
Peter Levens is pointing the telescope on an attractive target.
“Simulation of transient energy distributions in sub-ns streamer formation” by MacLachlan, Potts & Diver (http://iopscience.iop.org/0963-0252/page/Highlights-of-2013) has been selected by the editors of Plasma Sources Science & Technology for inclusion in the exclusive “Highlights of 2013”, on the basis of its outstanding research and impact on the low-temperature plasma community.
Graham Kerr, a second year Astronomy and Astrophysics PhD student has won the Hunter-Cumming Prize for his first year work, presented in his report on ‘Observations and Modelling of Solar Chromospheric Flares’. Graham has been working on observations of solar flares in the optical part of the spectrum, using data from the Hinode spacecraft to deduce the temperature and energy content of ‘white light’ flares. He has recently begun running radiation hydrodynamic simulations, to help interpret the behaviour that is observed. Congratulations Graham!
Student 2014 trip to the Burn House
February 7-10th 2014 saw the annual Astronomy 2 observing trip to the Burn House, near Edzell.
Despite some poor weather, both night and day/solar observing were achieved. And more importantly the weekend is booked for the February 2015 trip.
Major funding boost to A&A group
The A&A group receives a major boost with funding from the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for space-related research.
A powerful X-class flare observed by Hinode’s Solar Optical Telescope (SOT) on Dec. 13, 2006
The F-CHROMA project (Flare CHRomospheres: Observations, Models and Archives) will bring together experts from seven institutions to collect, synthesise and analyse data from satellite and earthbound observations of solar flares. Solar flares are energetic outbursts of solar radiation which span the whole electromagnetic spectrum. Mid-sized flares can release energy equivalent to a hundred million megatons of TNT in just a few minutes, most of which ultimately turns into electromagnetic radiation. This radiation is emitted primarily by a thin, and complicated, part of the Sun’s atmosphere called the chromosphere.
Lyndsay Fletcher, Principal Investigator, said that this project will allow the team to combine ultra-high detail observation of solar flare events with advanced theoretical and computational modeling to shed light on the way a flare’s energy is stored, released, and converted into other forms.
The outcomes of F-CHROMA will be used to inform preparations for major forthcoming projects including the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope which will see first light in 2019 in Hawai’i and ESA’s Solar Orbiter Mission which is expected to start beaming back solar images and spectra from its orbit in the inner solar system at around the same time.
F-CHROMA is one of two projects led by the University of Glasgow receiving funding from the European Commission.
Astro group solar physicist, Dr Bian visits Southern Siberia
Dr Nic Bian (Glasgow) and a colleague from the Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Irkutsk at the Siberian Solar Radio Telescope.
Dr. Iain Hannah – new Royal Society University Research Fellow
We congratulate Dr Iain Hannah from our group who has taken up his post as one of 41 new Royal Society University Research Fellows (URFs) for 2013, to conduct a research programme into the physics of high energy solar flares. The University Research Fellowship scheme aims to provide outstanding scientists, who have the potential to become leaders in their chosen fields, with the opportunity to build an independent research career. Iain’s research into solar flares involves X-ray imaging and spectroscopy, multi-wavelength studies, statistical surveys and numerical simulations.
Big solar flares caught in Glasgow
The recent flurry of solar activity has seen several large flares emitted by the Sun. The rapid release of energy in the Sun’s atmosphere heats material and accelerates particles resulting in bright emission seen by a myriad of satellite’s including NASA’s RHESSI. These were also caught by the solar radio telescope at our Acre Rd Observatory, which observes the electrons accelerated to high energies in flares. Our telescope uses a CALLISTO spectrometer and it provides live observations of the Sun at radio frequencies between 45 and 80 MHz with 0.125 second cadence. This strong radio emission can interrupt communications on the ground across many frequencies.
Glasgow Solar Physicists Honoured by NASA
In July the Science and Data Analysis Team working on NASA’s RHESSI satellite was honoured with a NASA Group Achievement Award. Of the 40 members of the team, 9 have strong links with Glasgow University, being current staff members and/or past PhD graduates in Solar Physics. The strong Glasgow representation in this international team builds on the early seminal work of Professor John C. Brown, ex Regius Chair in Astronomy in the School of Physics and Astronomy. The award was made in recognition of the team’s sustained, outstanding scientific achievement over a full solar cycle.