CAREER: Novel Data-Based Magnetohydrodynamic Simulations of Solar Eruptions

Project: Research project

Project Details


Solar eruptions, including solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), can lead to streams of relativistic particles and enhancements in magnetic field strengths. They are a major source of space weather experienced on Earth, which can disrupt satellite operations, communications systems, and lead to power grid outages. This project uses observational data sets along with magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations to understand the processes that trigger and drive solar eruptions. The broader impacts of the project include expanding the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Center for Solar Terrestrial Research to support modeling efforts from a new faculty hire, a female senior research professor, and growing the group with students and post-docs from under-represented groups. The Principal Investigator (PI) will develop and teach a new data-based graduate level numerical simulation course and a summer school for modeling astrophysical fluids.

The project conducts data-based MHD simulations using parameters for the coronal magnetic field derived from advanced extrapolation methods or data-driven MHD simulations as initial conditions. The observed photospheric flow field, derived by the differential affine velocity estimator for vector magnetograms (DAVE4VM) method with high-resolution photospheric magnetogram data obtained from the Goode Solar Telescope (GST), will be adopted as driving boundary conditions. The novelty of the research is that it investigates the CME initiation process from the new perspective of the nonlinear evolution of the magnetic flux rope being accelerated by a torus instability, starting from the initiation process of solar flares. The research aims to clarify the following scientific questions: (1) how does the magnetic field, as driven by the photospheric motions, become unstable and run into eruption? (2) How does the magnetic flux rope form and evolve toward torus instability? (3) Eventually, how does it grow into a CME after being accelerated by the torus instability?

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 date2/1/221/31/27


  • National Science Foundation: $157,645.00


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