Southampton Physics Colloquia

Solar Flares: how the Sun relaxes
Prof Lyndsay Fletcher University of Glasgow 14:30, Friday 5 May 2017
Physics Seminar Room (Building 46/5081)
The outer atmosphere of the Sun is a magnetically-dominated environment. The magnetic field determines the transport, storage and dissipation of energy, particularly in abrupt and impulsive events called solar flares. Solar flares represent the rapid conversion of energy as the magnetically stressed corona relaxes, with magnetic energy going into plasma heating, the KE of accelerated particles and mass motions. Flares are now observed in exquisite detail with imaging and spectroscopy across the electromagnetic spectrum, allowing increasingly meaningful comparisons with detailed theory. In this talk, Prof Fletcher will give a general overview of recent flare observations and the framework in which they are interpreted, before focusing on one aspect of flare physics, namely the need to rapidly transport energy through the corona and accelerate particles, and discuss recent work on models motivated in part by processes in the Earth's magnetosphere.