Research Fellows Directory
Professor Lucie Green
University College London
The Sun is the star that affects most of our daily life. My research brings together solar observations and theory to make major advances in our knowledge of the Sun’s magnetic field evolution and the onset of eruptive events. The Sun’s behaviour is greatly determined by the magnetic activity at the surface. My past work (Green et al., 2002) made a major contribution to, and helped change our understanding of, the
amount of magnetic helicity ejected by the Sun; the findings are important in many areas of solar physics including dynamo theory and the evolution of the global solar magnetic field, and active region evolution. My work over the last year (Green and Kliem, 2009) has showed for the first time conclusive evidence of a flux rope in the lower solar atmosphere, until now a concept widely invoked in theory but never confirmed to exist on
the Sun. Flux ropes are fundamental magnetic structures and key to many models in astrophysics. I have developed our understanding of the precise structure of flux ropes on the Sun and how they evolve up to the point of eruption.
The results of my work are helping answer fundamental questions in solar physics. However, the universality of the flux rope implies that my findings will also shed light on related phenomena in astrophysics, for example in the atmospheres of planets and around back holes. My work also is helping in the prediction of so-called space weather events, where flux ropes ejected from the Sun alter the near-Earth space environment causing problems with electricity networks, communications and navigation. Ultimately, we want to advance our understanding of solar ejecta to the point where we can predict them. Severe space weather events can cost economies around the world £billions through damage to satellites, disruptions to the airline industry and power system failures.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)