Dr Karen Meyer

Project Title: Simulating the effect of small-scale processes on the evolution and decay of solar active regions

Active regions are intense and complex regions of magnetic activity on the Sun that can produce huge, energetic eruptions such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). These eruptions can have an impact on Earth and in particular on our technology in the form of “Space Weather”. For example, solar energetic particles can cause electrical failure in satellites and geomagnetic storms triggered by CMEs can result in GPS errors. Understanding how active regions evolve and whether they will produce eruptions is an important topic in Solar Physics and Space Weather prediction. This project will investigate the evolution and decay of solar active regions through numerical simulations.

Of particular interest is the prediction of how an active region will change as it moves towards the centre of the Sun’s disc. During its evolution energy is built up. If released at disc centre then the eruption is most likely to be Earth-directed.

This project will improve on previous models simulating active regions on a global scale by considering in detail how the surrounding surface motions and smaller scale magnetic fields affect their evolution and decay. This will be an invaluable addition to global solar evolution models, as they aim to understand and forecast Space Weather.

Awarded: Research Incentive Grant

Field: Astronomy and Physics

University: Abertay University

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