MRI: Development of High Order Solar Adaptive Optics

  • Rimmele, Thomas R. (PI)
  • Goode, Philip (CoPI)
  • Radick, Richard R.R. (CoPI)
  • Vonderluhe, Oskar O. (CoPI)
  • Keller, Christoph U. (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details





This project will build a state of the art adaptive optics system optimized to image the high spatial frequency structure in the solar photosphere and chromosphere. Theoretical magneto-hydrodynamics modeling of the solar photosphere using our current understanding of plasma physics, predicts that the pressure scale heights and the photon mean free path in the magnetized plasma of the solar atmosphere has a physical scale distance of 100Km. Also observations using speckle interferometry of the solar spicules which reveal information about the role of magnetic field in energy transport between the photosphere and the chromosphere indicate the presence of tightly wound plasma fields, unresolved with current telescopes. High-resolution studies of the sun will help us determine 1) how the dynamics of stellar atmospheres are driven by the interaction of the magnetic fields with the stellar plasma. 2) How magnetic fields are generated and amplified by dynamo processes. 3) How the magnetic fields are destroyed. 4) What physical mechanisms are responsible for heating the corona, variations in the solar constant, triggering flares and coronal mass ejections. The sun is the nearest star to the earth and the only star that can be studied in detail.


Effective start/end date8/1/007/31/05


  • National Science Foundation: $1,821,322.00


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