A new perspective on the driver of space weather: the Sun's corona as a globally coupled system


Tuesday, March 19 2013 - 12:00 pm, PDT
Karel Schryver
Lockheed Martin

sun's coronaThe Sun's dynamic magnetic field is the origin of all of the variability in the heliosphere and in geospace that we refer to as space weather. This variability occurs on a hierarchy of time scales ranging from the full 11-year solar cycle that determines the Sun's global dipole field down to less than the few hours on which a large solar flare or coronal mass ejection occurs.

The full-sphere observations of the Sun that are enabled by the Solar Dynamics Observatory and the STEREO spacecraft stress the globally-connected nature of the coronal magnetic field and its coupling into the heliosphere. With expanding observational coverage of the dynamic solar atmosphere, supported by growing modeling capabilities that move towards data-driven assimilation, a new realization unavoidably dawns: understanding the solar corona requires that we learn how to deal with a continually evolving system, always relaxing from the evolution of its surface boundary and from explosive coronal mass ejections, but rarely in a state that our current modeling capabilities would have it.

Dr. Schryver will illustrate the recent lessons about the solar corona with image sequences obtained by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, the STEREO spacecraft, and the Hinode mission that together enable us to trace the Sun's magnetism from the surface into the space between the planets. 


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