Dr Ineke De Moortel
University Research Fellow
Mathematics Institute, University of St Andrews
Coronal Seismology: From Concept to Realisation
“The Sun is the only star close enough to study in detail. Understanding the physical processes which occur both in its interior and its atmosphere is crucial so that astronomers and astrophysicists can test and advance newmodels that will explain a broad range of astrophysical phenomena. However, because it is still inaccessible, studying the Sun’s behaviour can only be done through remote observations and theoretical modelling such as coronal seismology.
Understanding and predicting patterns of solar activity is more important than ever before as society has become ever more reliant on space-based infrastructure. Examples of these include navigation satellites, as well as radio, television and telephone equipment. Large solar storms can cause significant disruption to such assets, inflicting both financial and practical costs, and astronauts may be exposed to dangerous amounts of particle radiation from explosions on the Sun. Furthermore, the damage caused by solar activity is not restricted to space - during a magnetic storm, huge electric currents are generated, which can disrupt power distribution on Earth and cause blackouts. Understanding these processes will enable us not only to predict and eventually prevent these eventualities, but also to limit the damage from similar astrophysical phenomena.”
Read more about Dr Ineke de Moortel's work at the University of St Andrews.