Advancing Understanding of Solar Flares With Microwave Imaging Spectroscopy

Project: Research project

Project Details


Solar flares are the largest explosions in the solar system that release huge amounts of energy. Flares are observed as transient brightenings throughout the electromagnetic spectrum, lasting from a few seconds to hours. The way that this energy release occurs is poorly understood. This project will utilize 3D solar flare modeling and new observational data from the Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA) to better understand how magnetic reconnection leads to the release of magnetic energy and particle acceleration from solar flares. Software tools will be developed and upgraded and used to teach high school interns about solar physics and for graduate physics courses.

The project capitalizes on the unique ability of EOVSA to quantify evolution of solar flares by dynamically measuring coronal magnetic fields along with the thermal and nonthermal electron distributions with high spatial and temporal resolution. The following fundamental science goals will be addressed: (i) to understand and quantify the dynamics of solar flares of varying types, with an emphasis on the 3D spatial distribution and evolution of the coronal magnetic field and nonthermal particles; (ii) to obtain new fundamental knowledge on universal physical processes occurring on the Sun such as magnetic reconnection, particle acceleration and transport, and plasma heating. The team will provide open access to the research products to scientists and the public. The work utilizes new microwave imaging data from the EOVSA, data from other ground-based instruments, and data from the latest space missions, coupled with advanced modeling and forward-fitting, to obtain the three-dimensional magnetic field and particle distributions in flaring loops.

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 date9/1/218/31/24


  • National Science Foundation: $564,918.00


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