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Fellows Directory

Carole Jordan

Dame Carole Jordan DBE FRS


Elected: 1990


Carole Jordan is an astronomer whose work has helped us to understand the chromosphere — the middle of the three main layers of the Sun’s atmosphere. She also helped to develop new techniques and instruments to observe and analyse the high-frequency electromagnetic spectra of stars.

In addition to her work characterising the plasma that surrounds cool stars, Carole identified iron and other elemental lines in the solar spectrum. Her observations of ultraviolet spectra with Skylab, a NASA space station that orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979, helped to develop our understanding of helium-like ions — also known as two-electron atoms. Prominent and abundant features in X-ray spectra, helium-like ions are important in spectroscopy and the identification of celestial objects.

Carole was the first female president of the Royal Astronomical Society and one of the first female professors to be appointed in astronomy in the United Kingdom. She was made a DBE in 2006 for her research into the ultraviolet and X-ray spectra of the Sun and stars.

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