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This Week at Physics

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Event Number 3693

  Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Astronomy Colloquium
A solar close-up view of physical processes in magnetized plasmas
Time: 3:45 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall
Speaker: Paola Testa, Harvard CfA
Abstract: Observations of the solar outer atmosphere provide us with a close up view of fundamental physical processes that occur in magnetized plasmas in many other astrophysical environments. I will present recent results and discuss the insights we have gained into the mechanisms converting magnetic energy into atmospheric heating and particle acceleration, and other processes relevant to different astrophysical contexts such as accretion on pre-main sequence stars.
I will focus in particular on results from the recently launched Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS), which provides us with an unprecedented detailed view of the solar chromosphere and transition region (i.e., the interface region between the gas dominated photosphere and the magnetically dominated corona). IRIS allows detailed diagnostics of the plasma structuring and dynamics through its high resolution NUV and FUV spectroscopic data in combination with high spatial resolution (~0.3") slit-jaw imaging (SJI). I will also discuss the role of state-of-the-art radiative atmospheric models which are necessary forp the interpretation of the emission of plasma from this interface region, because of e.g., optical thickness effects, and partial ionization.
Host: Professor Elena D'Onghia
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