Self-consistent force-free modelling of the magnetic field in the Sun's corona
Solar flares occur in complex, twisted magnetic field geometries in the Sun's atmosphere, and this project will develop computational modelling of those structures, starting from spacecraft data.
The magnetic field in the solar corona (the outer atmosphere of the Sun) is the source of energy for solar flares, so there is considerable interest in accurate numerical modelling of this field from observations. The magnetic field at the Sun's surface, the solar photosphere, may be determined based on polarisation measurements of spectral lines, and in principle this data provides boundary values for computational modelling of the field in the corona. We also have an accurate and simple model for the coronal field, the "nonlinear force-free model." But, there is a complication! The boundary data originate at a level in the atmosphere where the force-free model does not strictly apply, and this has prevented accurate and robust modelling. Recently, a new approach to solving this problem has been developed. This project involves involve applying the new approach to state-of-the-art solar data, to infer physical parameters of solar active regions - for the first time!
Suitable for: Honours, Masters or Ph.D.
Techniques involved in the project: Plasma theory, parallel programming, high-performance
computing, numerical methods, spectral methods, data analysis, visualisation
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The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 913
Other opportunities with Associate Professor Mike Wheatland