Physics projects for Y3 and Y4 students

Project description

Observational study of MHD waves in the solar corona

(supervisor: Xing Li)

Nature of project: data analysis, theory

Available to students on full-time physics degree schemes or joint students.

Project description and methodology

The solar atmosphere is very rich in wave activities. Not only are these waves important in their own right, for instance these waves may propagate from the photosphere to channel energy to the corona supply the necessary energy source for the coronal heating and solar wind acceleration, they may also be important to infer the strength of the magnetic field in the corona, a quantity still difficult to measure with current technology knowhows. The complex geometry and inhomogeneity of the solar magnetic field and plasma density/temperature make the presence and propagation of these waves complicated and fascinating. The aim of this project is thus to do detailed data analysis of wave motions in the solar corona via data analysis of SDO/AIA data. You will have the freedom to investigate MHD waves either in the active regions, prominences, or coronal hole regions.

A successful project will develop beyond the above in one/some of the following directions:
Critically review the MHD theory of plasma waves along (coronal) structures.

When considering where to take your project, please bear in mind the time available. It is preferable to do fewer things well than to try many and not get conclusive results on any of them. However, sometimes it is useful to have a couple of strands of investigation in parallel to work on in case delays occur.

Additional scope or challenge if taken as a Year-4 project: Critically review the MHD theory of plasma waves along (coronal) structures.

+ use image processing/enhancing techniques to better display wave/oscillation patterns.

Please speak to Xing Li (xxl) if you consider doing this project.

Initial literature for students:

  1. Nakariakov VM, Verwichte E. 2005. Coronal Waves and Oscillations. Living Reviews in Solar Physics 2
  2. Roberts B, Nakariakov VM. 2003. Theory of MHD waves in the solar corona. Presented at Turbulence, Waves and Instabilities in the Solar Plasma, Dordrecht, Netherlands; Boston, U.S.A.
  3. Lemen JR, Title AM, Akin DJ, Boerner PF, Chou C, et al. 2012. The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) on the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). Solar Physics 275: 17-40

Novelty, degree of difficulty and amount of assistance required

Supervisor will give some necessary assistance. Run successfully previously.

Project milestones and deliverables (including timescale)

milestoneto be completed by
Initial reading about SDO data, and IDL/solarsoft packageend of October
Learn to use Solarsoft/IDL and SDO dataChristmas
Find cases of MHD waves using SDO dataend of February
Analaze magnetic field strengthEaster