University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Friday, February 5th 2016
2:30 pm:
Speaker: Lindsay Glesener, Physics/MIfA, U Minnesota
Subject: New instruments for the high-energy Sun

As our closest star, the Sun offers a unique opportunity to study high-energy plasma processes — magnetic reconnection, particle acceleration via a myriad of mechanisms, and bulk plasma heating and motion. With the Earth sitting in point-blank range of the Sun’s emissions (solar wind, solar energetic particles, and coronal mass ejections), understanding these processes is of practical, as well as scientific, importance. Yet several mysteries of the Sun’s high-energy behavior elude us, including problems of how the corona is heated and the remarkable efficiency of particle acceleration in solar flares. Hard X-ray emission reveals the behavior of high-energy electrons and so offers an adept tool for probing these mysteries. But imaging is tricky in this high-energy regime, and past efforts had to rely on indirect, Fourier-based imaging methods. With the advent of direct focusing optics for hard X-rays (HXRs), imaging and spectroscopy can be performed with far better sensitivity and image quality than in previous solar-dedicated HXR missions.

In this colloquium I will discuss ongoing investigations and new instrument development to probe the high-energy Sun, including pathfinder instruments on sounding rockets and CubeSats, as well as solar observations by the NuSTAR spacecraft.

The weekly calendar is also available via subscription to the physics-announce mailing list, and by RSS feed.