Thomas Rimmele

NSO/SP Scientific Staff

Areas of Interest

Adaptive Optics, Small-Scale Magnetic Fields, Active Region Dynamics, Helioseismology

Recent Research Results

Rimmele has recently published results from high resolution observations of umbral fine structure. He found evidence for oscillatory magnetoconvection in a sunspot light bridge. Oscillatory convection in strong magnetic fields has been predicted by theoretical models but never observed before. Rimmele collaborates with P. Goode and L. Strous (NJIT), and Tuck Stebbins (JILA) studying the excitation of solar oscillations. Their observations show that acoustic power is generated in intergranular lanes and give a detailed description of the mechanism responsible for the conversion of convective energy into acoustic energy. They are also able to show that the acoustic energy is fed into the resonance modes of the Sun.

Future Research Plans

Rimmele is involved in the adaptive optics program at NSO. In particular, he is developing techniques for wavefront sensing for extended objects. Working with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), he is developing the active optics system at the Dunn Solar Telescope at Sac Peak which corrects optical aberrations that vary on slow time scales and also serves as a test bed for further development of adaptive optics. He is planning to build a low-order (~ 20 modes) adaptive optics system within the next two years as an intermediate step toward a full-up adaptive optics system. The low-order AO system will provide diffraction limited imaging during reasonable seeing conditions. Rimmele will continue his efforts to perform observations at the highest spatial resolution, using frame selection techniques, in order to study the properties and the dynamics of small-scale magnetic elements.


In an ongoing effort, Rimmele is working with R. Radick (NSO/SP/AFRL) and R. Dunn (NSO/SP) on improving optical performance of the Dunn Solar Telescope (DST). Rimmele is developing narrow-band filter capabilities for the DST using Fabry-Perots and participates in an ongoing effort to upgrade CCD detectors at NSO/SP. Rimmele serves as Chair of the Sac Peak site Project Review Committee (PRC) and is co-investigator for the CLEAR design study.

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NOAO is operated by the Association of U niversities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation
Updated: 28Jun1999