Lift11: Lucie Green, Researching and studying the sun [en]

[fr] Notes de la conférence Lift11 à Genève.

Live and India-lagged notes from the Lift11 Conference in Geneva. Might contain errors and personal opinions. Use the comments if you spot nasty errors.

Understand how the sun affects us.

Solar activity can cause satellites to malfunction. Even airline passengers are affected by particles coming from the sun. A few of the ways the sun affects us.

So, motivation to try and understand the physics of the sun and sun-earth interaction — but also of the sun’s influence in the whole solar system.

Sun spots follow a cycle (11 years) — we’re coming out of sun spot minima. Photosphere, chromosphere: look very different in a photo. The sun surface is very dynamic. Go up in temperature: the corona. Photo taken with an x-ray telescope. We see a series of bright loops above and below the equator. Why? We don’t know yet.

Magnetic spots — iron gas in the sun’s atmosphere. A solar flare is a release of magnetic energy. If a solar flare meets with an astronaut, oopsie, fatal. If you go into space, you have to take into account what the sun is doing.

Sometimes the sun corona ejects a kind of “vent” (? corona mass ejection, 3-5 times to day) — mass of Everest, 200’000 km/s, and cause problems when they come in direction of earth.

The sun’s atmosphere is constantly expanding into the solar system, as it’s this hot thing in the cold space. Solar wind. Voyager is only just encountering where the gasses from outside our solar system counter the solar wind.

Northern lights. As solar activity picks up, they creep towards the equator. In the last 10 years, 2-3 times in the south of England.

Solar Orbiter which will go inside the orbit of Mercury. Challenges, it’s a violent place out there! Hard to build something that will survive that close to the sun.

Sunday 6pm GMT, stereo spacecrafts from the NASA will allow us the very first 360° view of the sun!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *