Energy release and transport in solar flares

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Mullard Space Science Laboratory


The magnetic field of the corona not only stores the energy that is released during solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) but, as a consequence of the low plasma beta conditions, it both defines the reconnection environment, and plays a central role in the transport of this energy throughout the atmosphere. Indeed, different reconnection scenarios in different field configurations can lead to a variety of outcomes in terms of the evolution of the energy release and the efficiency of the energy transport mechanisms (via waves, particle acceleration and plasma heating). These variations manifest themselves as differences in the spatial, spectral and temporal properties of the electromagnetic signatures produced in the lower atmosphere, thus providing a means to quantify the effect of different field configurations on the energy release process.

The 'standard' eruptive flare (CSHKP) model offers a framework in which to understand the global characteristics of the energy release. However, the factors that determine the primary method of energy transport and its efficiency remain controversial, fundamentally limiting our ability to understand what drives how energy is partitioned. It is the goal of this project to quantify the link between the properties, structure and connectivity of the reconnecting field, and how it determines the efficiency of the associated energy deposition in the lower solar atmosphere. Establishing this key relationship will provide new insights into the basic physics of the energy release, particle acceleration and transport processes in magnetised plasmas - the primary constituent of not just our solar system, but the universe.

In order to achieve the project goals data from both space and ground-based assets will be utilised (Hinode, SDO, RHESSI, IRIS, SST, ROSA and DKIST) and combined with state-of-the art radiative hydrodynamic modelling codes, e.g. RADYN and HYDRO2GEN.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/S50578X/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2022
2049963 Studentship ST/S50578X/1 01/10/2018 31/03/2022 Ryan James French