Advancing Spicule Physics with High Resolution Data: DKIST First Science

Project: Research project

Project Details


This Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) First Science project focuses on understanding how mass and energy are moved between layers of the Sun's atmosphere. The project will combine ground and space-based data to achieve an unprecedented understanding of small-scale features on the Sun. This project has broader societal relevance due to its linkage with space weather, which is driven by solar activity and potentially has catastrophic impacts on modern society. Improving the accuracy of predictive models for space weather is a national priority as delineated in the National Science and Technology Council's 2019 Space Weather Strategy and Action Plan. This project also has the potential to enhance our understanding of other stars and of space weather impacts on potentially habitable exoplanets. This project will support a postdoctoral research associate, further building the community of scientists with knowledge of both ground-based and space-based instruments and data.

This project aims to understand the origins of Rapid Blue-shifted Excursions, which are observed in ultraviolet light as type II spicules. Spicules move mass and energy from the light radiating layer of the Sun's atmosphere, the photosphere, through the chromosphere to the corona. How and why the structures form during quiet periods on the Sun is not understood. This study will combine new observations from NSF's DKIST along with data from the Goode Solar Telescope and from NASA Heliospheric missions to address this. DKIST, with its unprecedented resolution, is uniquely able to measure these structures which are small and short lived. Combining DKIST measurements from the Visible Broadband Imager, the Visible SpectroPolarimeter, and Visible Tunable Filter with viewpoints from other instruments will provide new insights into the role the spicules play in the global dynamics of the quiet Sun. This project addresses the DKIST Critical Science Plan Research Area 'Magnetic Connectivity through the Non-Eruptive Solar Atmosphere', specifically 'Mass and Energy Cycle in the Low Solar Atmosphere'.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date9/30/188/31/24


  • National Science Foundation: $442,781.00


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