Collaborative Research: Achieving a New Understanding of Solar Flare Termination Shocks

Project: Research project

Project Details


A collaborative project between the New Mexico Consortium, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Dartmouth College, and the Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory is dedicated to the study of solar flares. Solar flares are a priority science area for the 2019 National Space Weather Strategy and Action Plan. When solar flares impact Earth they effect the near-Earth space radiation environment and contribute to satellite drag. Solar flares contain two parts – light and particles. The bright flaring light, the most popularly noted feature of these events, is followed by a stream of extremely fast electrons and ions. These particles can reach earth within an hour of the light emission, making timely prediction of particle events particularly challenging. This project examines one potential mechanism for the acceleration of particles to such high energies. It combines multiple state of the models and data from satellite and ground-based platforms. The research team is comprised of early-career faculty and students from the four collaborating institutions.

This project addresses particle acceleration and transport in solar flares. Specifically, it will address magnetic reconnection driven processes in flare termination shocks and their role in electron acceleration and transport, and non-thermal emission. The modeling effort combines large-scale particle-in-cell and magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations in 2.5D and 3D to model realistic magnetic field and plasma evolution along with the energy release, particle acceleration, and transport. Synthetic observations from the combined simulations will be generated to be compared with microwave, E/UV, and X-ray imaging and spectroscopic data from the Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array, the NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, and Hinode.

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: $142,772.00


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