Talk Title: The New Solar Corona
9:00 a.m. March 17, 2010
Tucson Marriott University Park
Dr. Douglas Rabin
Description: The magnetic field gives life to the solar corona, which is ceaselessly variable and dynamic on every observable spatial scale and time scale. Our picture of the Sun’s outer atmosphere has correspondingly evolved from a superposition of primarily one-dimensional, time-independent structures to an essentially three-dimensional system closely coupled from the photosphere into the heliosphere. We now have an unprecedented ability to map the vector magnetic field in the photosphere and to construct non-potential models of the field at greater heights; but we have almost no direct measurements of the magnetic field in the corona. The Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) will enable systematic measurements of the coronal field for the first time. The combination of ATST with multi-temperature imaging and spectroscopy of coronal structures from space missions such as the Solar Dynamics Observatory, and the first in-situ measurements of plasma and field properties from instruments on Solar Probe, will change our notions of the solar corona more dramatically than any observations since the Skylab missions of the 1970’s.
About the Speaker
Doug Rabin is an astronomer at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where he leads the Solar Physics Laboratory and pursues research on rapid dynamics in the solar corona. He leads the Extreme Ultraviolet Normal Incidence Spectrograph (EUNIS) sounding rocket program, which has carried out two successful flights to date. Following undergraduate work at Harvard, his Caltech thesis work concerned the stellar populations of star clusters in the Galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds. After a NATO Fellowship at the University of Cambridge and a National Research Council Fellowship at NASA, he joined the National Solar Observatory, where he applied one of NOAO’s early infrared array cameras to the measurement of intrinsic magnetic field strength in photospheric structures. Recently he has worked on the development of wide-field imagers to trace coronal mass ejections and solar wind structures from the corona into the heliosphere. In 2008, the EUNIS team received the Robert H. Goddard Award for Exceptional Achievement in Science. In 2009, Rabin received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.