Solar flares and northern lights: the beauty and danger of the Sun

 

Part of the Cafe Scientifique programme at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 

Without the Sun, life on Earth would never have evolved. The Sun provides the key ingredient, light, to fuel photo-synthesis and gives us beautiful natural phenomenon such as the Northern Lights. Yet in recent years warnings about Solar flares affecting GPS and other electronic devices have increased. Should we be worried?

Captain Bryn Jones, CEO of SolarMetrics and a Captain at Virgin Atlantic Airways and Dr Jim Wild from the Space Plasma Environment and Radio Science Group at Lancaster University will provide some insight into the beauty and danger of the Sun with Dr Lucie Green, a solar researcher from the Mullard Space Science Laboratory as the chair.

This event is part of the Cafe Scientifique programme at theRoyal Society Summer Science Exhibition. Cafes will take place in the Terrace Cafe. They are free and open for all to attend, just grab a drink and get talking! Audience participation is strongly encouraged. The Terrace cafe is down 9 steps and is not wheelchair accessible.

Speaker Biographies

Dr Lucie Green is a solar researcher who studies activity in the atmosphere of the Sun; in particular, immense magnetic fields in the Sun's atmosphere. Lucie is based at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UCL's Department of Space and Climate Physics, and is a member of the Royal Society's Education Committee.

Captain Bryn Jones is the CEO of SolarMetrics Limited, and a Captain at Virgin Atlantic Airways. Bryn joined the Royal Air Force in 1981, at the same time entering Queen Mary College, London where he graduated in Astrophysics. Captain Jones expanded his study of space weather hazards to aviation, carrying out project work for the European Space Agency. In 2003 he co-founded SolarMetrics, a U.K. based company that specializes in analysis of space weather, space radiation and solar activity impacts on operations, safety, people, the environment and civil and military aerospace technology.

Dr Jim Wild is a scientist studying the space environment and the links between the Sun, the Earth and other planets. Jim studied for a degree in Physics with Space Science and Technology before completing a doctorate in solar-terrestrial physics at the University of Leicester. He is now a Reader in Space Plasma Physics at Lancaster University’s Department of Physics.

Image Credit: NASA

An audio recording of this event is now available.

Solar flares and northern lights: the beauty and danger of the Sun 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK

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