Nature of project: data analysis, software
Available to students on full-time physics degree schemes or joint students.
Sunspots are windows into the complex solar magnetic structure. Exploring their behaviour is a key element of understanding the physics of the Sun itself. The project aims at using, and possibly developing further, a computer program code, written in IDL to read SDO/HMI optical data files and track a sunspot on the solar disc. Python code can also be written to get access to the data. One or a few sunspots can be selected and tracked while it is visible on the photosphere. The evolution of, for example, sunspot position, speed, size, or shape can be monitored and analysed.
A successful project will develop beyond the above in one/some of the following directions:
- Tracking sunspot pairs and looking for correlation between their properties
- Looking for correlation between sunspot dynamics and nearby flares or other solar atmospheric events
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: Searching for torsional rotations and oscillations of the selected sunspot(s) by using Fourier- and wavelet analyses
Please speak to Balázs Pintér if you consider doing this project.
Initial literature for students:
Sunspots have been intensively observed and analysed since the 17th century. Our knowledge of our star, however, is far from complete. The students will gain experience in comprehensive data analysis. The data sets and a software package (SolarSoftWare, SSW) to handle the data files are available on the web. The procedure of finding, downloading, and processing data files from solar observations will have to be learnt. The data processing will require computational skills. Basic skills of programming in IDL or Python is essential. The students can decide on which properties of the sunspot(s) they would like to focus.
Supervision and discussions can be done online.
|milestone||to be completed by|
|Learning the physics of sunspots||end of October|
|Downloading and visualising SDO/MHI images of the selected sunspots||end of February|
|Working out the methods for sunspot tracking||mid-March|