2020 George Ellery Hale Prize Winner – Kazunari Shibata

25th February 2020

Kazunari Shibata

** Contact details appear below **

Dr. Kazunari Shibata of Kyoto University, Japan, is awarded the George Ellery Hale Prize for his outstanding work on the properties and behavior of magnetized solar and astrophysical plasmas.

Dr. Shibata’s prodigious work over his distinguished career includes the discovery of jets in the solar atmosphere; the development of original theories and numerical simulations of solar jets, spicules, and mass ejections; and the discovery of super-flares on distant stars. Dr. Shibata’s research embodies more than solar physics and has included studies of stellar magnetic activity and its impact on exoplanets. Dr. Shibata has played a significant role in the Japanese Yohkoh and Hinode solar observing satellites. He currently serves as the Director of the Kwasan and Hida observatories.

The Hale prize is awarded for outstanding contributions to solar astronomy over an extended period of time and is presented in memory of George Ellery Hale (1868-1938).

Contact:

Dr. Michael S. Kirk
Press Officer, AAS Solar Physics Division
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
+1 301-614-7045
[email protected]

The purpose of the AAS Solar Physics Division (SPD) is the advancement of the study of the Sun and the coordination of such research with other branches of science. The SPD holds annual scientific meetings, awards several prizes, and supports students in various ways

2020 Karen Harvey Prize Winner – Hui Tian

25th February 2020

Hui Tian

** Contact details appear below **

Dr. Hui Tian of Peking University, China, is awarded the Karen Harvey Prize for his ultraviolet and extreme-ultraviolet observations of the Sun and what they reveal about the dynamics of the solar atmosphere.

Dr. Tian’s significant work on small-scale persistent jets and short-lived ultraviolet bursts has motivated new theories of coronal heating and the solar wind. In addition, his work on sunspot dynamics has significantly improved our understanding of magnetic reconnection inside sunspots. Beyond his research, Dr. Tian has also established a new solar physics group at Peking University. He currently leads his research group there and mentors students ranging from undergraduates to postdoctoral researchers.

The Harvey Prize recognizes a significant contribution to the study of the Sun early in a person’s professional career and honors the memory of Karen L. Harvey (1942-2002).

Contact:

Dr. Michael S. Kirk
Press Officer, AAS Solar Physics Division
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
+1 301-614-7045
[email protected]

The purpose of the AAS Solar Physics Division (SPD) is the advancement of the study of the Sun and the coordination of such research with other branches of science. The SPD holds annual scientific meetings, awards several prizes, and supports students in various ways

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2021 Karen Harvey Prize Winner – Lucia Kleint

Lucia Kleint

** Contact details appear below **

The 2021 Karen Harvey Prize for significant contributions to the study of the Sun early in a person’s professional career is awarded to Dr. Lucia Kleint. Her contributions are numerous, among them observations and modeling of turbulent magnetic fields in the quiet Sun; analysis of unprecedented high precision spectropolarimetric and spectroscopic measurements of the photosphere and chromosphere during flares; and applications of machine learning techniques to flare data. Dr. Kleint coordinated the flight software team for the Spectrometer/Telescope for Imaging X-rays (STIX), now flying on Solar Orbiter.  She then led the German solar telescopes on Tenerife, where she spearheaded a major redesign and upgrade of the optical system and operations of the GREGOR telescope. She now leads a research group at the University of Geneva, Switzerland.

Contact:

Dr. Michael S. Kirk
Press Officer, AAS Solar Physics Division
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
+1 301-614-7045
[email protected]

The purpose of the AAS Solar Physics Division (SPD) is the advancement of the study of the Sun and the coordination of such research with other branches of science. The SPD holds annual scientific meetings, awards several prizes, and supports students in various ways
 

2021 George Ellery Hale Prize Winner – Russell Howard

Russell Howard

** Contact details appear below **

The 2021 the Hale prize is awarded to Dr. Russ Howard for his seminal contributions over almost half a century to the discovery, measurement, and understanding of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and their role in space weather and for his outstanding leadership in the development, deployment, and management of innovative space instrumentation to image the solar corona and inner heliosphere that forms the foundation of much current Heliophysics research. Dr. Howard has been a leader in the development and use of coronagraphs and, later, heliospheric imagers since earliest days of CME observations by OSO-7 and Solwind, through the SOHO LASCO coronagraphs and STEREO SECCHI instrument suite, to WISPER and SOLO-HI on the recently launched Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter, serving as the Primary Investigator of the last four simultaneously. His work on statistical properties of CMEs and on Earth-directed (halo) CMEs have been key to understanding their impacts on the Earth and heliosphere.

The Hale prize is awarded for outstanding contributions to solar astronomy over an extended period of time and is presented in memory of George Ellery Hale (1868-1938).

Contact:

Dr. Michael S. Kirk
Press Officer, AAS Solar Physics Division
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
+1 301-614-7045
[email protected]

The purpose of the AAS Solar Physics Division (SPD) is the advancement of the study of the Sun and the coordination of such research with other branches of science. The SPD holds annual scientific meetings, awards several prizes, and supports students in various ways

2020 Karen Harvey Prize Winner – Hui Tian

25th February 2020

Hui Tian

** Contact details appear below **

Dr. Hui Tian of Peking University, China, is awarded the Karen Harvey Prize for his ultraviolet and extreme-ultraviolet observations of the Sun and what they reveal about the dynamics of the solar atmosphere.

Dr. Tian’s significant work on small-scale persistent jets and short-lived ultraviolet bursts has motivated new theories of coronal heating and the solar wind. In addition, his work on sunspot dynamics has significantly improved our understanding of magnetic reconnection inside sunspots. Beyond his research, Dr. Tian has also established a new solar physics group at Peking University. He currently leads his research group there and mentors students ranging from undergraduates to postdoctoral researchers.

The Harvey Prize recognizes a significant contribution to the study of the Sun early in a person’s professional career and honors the memory of Karen L. Harvey (1942-2002).

Contact:

Dr. Michael S. Kirk
Press Officer, AAS Solar Physics Division
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
+1 301-614-7045
[email protected]

The purpose of the AAS Solar Physics Division (SPD) is the advancement of the study of the Sun and the coordination of such research with other branches of science. The SPD holds annual scientific meetings, awards several prizes, and supports students in various ways

2020 George Ellery Hale Prize Winner – Kazunari Shibata

25th February 2020

Kazunari Shibata

** Contact details appear below **

Dr. Kazunari Shibata of Kyoto University, Japan, is awarded the George Ellery Hale Prize for his outstanding work on the properties and behavior of magnetized solar and astrophysical plasmas.

Dr. Shibata’s prodigious work over his distinguished career includes the discovery of jets in the solar atmosphere; the development of original theories and numerical simulations of solar jets, spicules, and mass ejections; and the discovery of super-flares on distant stars. Dr. Shibata’s research embodies more than solar physics and has included studies of stellar magnetic activity and its impact on exoplanets. Dr. Shibata has played a significant role in the Japanese Yohkoh and Hinode solar observing satellites. He currently serves as the Director of the Kwasan and Hida observatories.

The Hale prize is awarded for outstanding contributions to solar astronomy over an extended period of time and is presented in memory of George Ellery Hale (1868-1938).

Contact:

Dr. Michael S. Kirk
Press Officer, AAS Solar Physics Division
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
+1 301-614-7045
[email protected]

The purpose of the AAS Solar Physics Division (SPD) is the advancement of the study of the Sun and the coordination of such research with other branches of science. The SPD holds annual scientific meetings, awards several prizes, and supports students in various ways

NSO/DKIST Events at AAS/SPD

We wanted to let those of you who will be at the AAS/SPD next week about several sessions and activities related to DKIST that you might be interested in attending.

Monday night there will be a SPD Townhall, and both the NSO director V. Martinez Pillet and the NSF Program Officer for NSO and DKIST, D. Boboltz, will present contributions.

There are two “DKIST Science” sessions on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, covering progress and outlook for some interesting science questions that we hope
will be addressed by DKIST in the coming years. The beginning of the first session will have a talk by Thomas Rimmele with an update on the project.

On Wednesday at lunchtime, there will be a “Countdown to DKIST Operations” Town Hall meeting where some of the project status, operations plans, and policy development
will be presented and discussed.

On Tuesday evening, we will have more of a workshop where we will discuss some of the tools and techniques that we are working on to help the community make greater use
of the Level-1 data. A light dinner will be provided.

Finally, the NSO exhibit booth will run through the week in exhibit hall, booth 215.
 

The Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array Reveals New Insights into Solar Flares’ Explosive Energy Releases

 

24 May 2018

 

** Contact details appear below. **

 

2018The Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array Reveals New Insights into Solar Flares’ Explosive Energy Releases

 

Last September, a massive new region of magnetic field erupted on the Sun’s surface next to an existing sunspot. The powerful collision of magnetic fields produced a series of potent solar flares, causing turbulent space weather conditions at Earth. These were the first flares to be captured, in their moment-by-moment progression, by NJIT’s recently expanded Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA). 

With 13 antennas now working together, EOVSA was able to make images of the flare in multiple radio frequencies simultaneously for the first time. This enhanced ability to peer into the mechanics of flares offers scientists new pathways to investigate the most powerful eruptions in our solar system.

“These September flares included two of the strongest of the current 11-year solar activity cycle, hurling radiation and charged particles toward Earth that disrupted radio communications,” said Dale Gary, distinguished professor of physics at NJIT’s Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research (CSTR) and EOVSA’s director. The last flare of the period, on September 10, was “the most exciting,” he added.

“The sunspot region was just passing over the solar limb – the edge of the Sun as it rotates – and we could see the comparative height of the flare in many different wavelengths, from optical, to ultraviolet, to X-rays, to radio,” he recounted. “This view provided a wonderful chance to capture the structure of a large solar flare with all of its ingredients.” 

Radio emissions are generated by energetic electrons accelerated in the corona, the Sun’s hot upper atmosphere. Modern solar physics relies on observations at many wavelengths; radio imaging complements these by directly observing the particle acceleration that drives the whole process. By measuring the radio spectrum at different places in the solar atmosphere, especially when it is able to do so fast enough to follow changes during solar flares, it becomes a powerful diagnostic of the fast-changing solar environment during these eruptions. 

EOVSA, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, is the first radio imaging instrument that can make spectral images fast enough – in one second – to follow the rapid changes that occur in solar flares. This capability allows the radio spectrum to be measured dynamically throughout the flaring region, to pinpoint the location of particle acceleration and map where those particles travel. Images of solar flares at most other wavelengths show only the consequences of heating by the accelerated particles, whereas radio emission can directly show the particles themselves. 

“One of the great mysteries of solar research is to understand how the Sun produces extremely high-energy particles in such a short time,” Gary noted. “But to answer that question, we must have quantitative diagnostics of both the particles and the environment, especially the magnetic field that is at the heart of the energy release. EOVSA makes that possible at radio wavelengths for the first time.”

Gary is presenting EOVSA’s new findings this week at the Triennial Earth-Sun Summit (TESS) meeting, which brings together the solar physics division of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and the solar physics and aeronomy section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

“EOVSA’s new results have sparked lots of interest at the TESS meeting,” said Bin Chen, assistant professor of physics at CSTR, who is chairing a session focused on the intense solar activity that occurred last September. “A number of experts at the meeting commented that these results would add fundamentally new insights into the understanding of energy release and particle acceleration in solar flares.”

Among other discoveries, scientists at EOVSA have learned that radio emissions in a flare are spread over a much larger region than previously known, indicating that high-energy particles are promptly transported in large numbers throughout the explosive magnetic field “bubble” called a coronal mass ejection (CME). 

“This is important because CMEs drive shock waves that further accelerate particles that are dangerous to spacecraft, astronauts and even people in airplanes flying polar routes. To date, it remains a mystery how these shock waves alone accelerate particles, because the physics is not understood,” he said. “One of the theories is that “seed” particles must be present in the shock region, which can generate the waves necessary for further acceleration. It has long been speculated that flares, which are known to accelerate particles, may provide them.  Previous observations, mainly with X-rays, always show those particles confined to very low heights and it has not been understood how such particles could get to the shock. The radio images show evidence for particles in a much larger region, giving them more opportunity to gain access to the shock region.”

Sunspots are the primary generator of solar flares, the sudden, powerful blasts of electromagnetic radiation and charged particles that burst into space during explosions on the Sun’s surface. Their turning motion causes energy to build up that is released in the form of flares.

EOVSA was designed to make high-resolution radio images of flares (1-second cadence), sunspot regions (20-minute cadence), the full Sun (a few per day) and hundreds of frequencies over a broad frequency band, making it the first solar instrument able to measure the radio spectrum from point-to-point in the flaring region. 

“We are working towards a calibration and imaging pipeline to automatically generate microwave images observed by EOVSA, and make them available to the community on a day-to-day basis,” added Chen, who is leading the EOVSA pipeline effort.

“The most unexpected revelation so far from EOVSA is what we see at the lowest radio frequencies,” Gary noted. “Observations of flares based on high radio frequencies and based on X-ray observations show a flare that is a relatively small, compact region even though we see evidence for heating over a much larger area. Although we had rare observations from the past that seemed to show large radio sources, EOVSA has now made it routine to image large radio sources that are even bigger at lower frequencies.”

Initially, he and his colleagues were unable to tap into these new regions, however. After the array was completed, they realized that cell phone towers in the Owens Valley were causing much higher levels of radio frequency interference than expected. As a result, they designed “notch” filters that were able to cut out the frequencies most affected by cell towers.

“This is important because a lot of interesting solar radio bursts occur in the cell tower range (1.9-2.2 GHz). It is the lower frequencies that best show this new and not well understood phenomenon of large sources,” Gary said. “Somehow, the accelerated particles are being transported to a much greater volume of the corona than we thought.”

With new funding from NASA, Gary and colleagues will measure the spatially-resolved radio spectrum of solar flares, determine the particle and plasma parameters as a function of position and time, and then use 3-dimensional modeling, which his group has developed, to fully understand the initial acceleration and subsequent transport of high-energy particles. 

The Sun goes through 11-year cycles of activity, and this past year may have provided the last flares we will see for the next four or five years,” Gary said. “For the next few years, we will focus our efforts on improving the active sunspot regions and full-disk images with the array. This imaging on a larger spatial scale is more challenging, but could be just as important, since the larger scale features govern the Sun’s influence on the Earth’s atmosphere and the solar wind.” 

 

** Figure Captions**

Fig 1: EOVSA radio intensity spectrogram of the 2017 September 10 solar flare, with frequency (vertical scale) and time (horizontal scale).  The time of the initial energy release is shown by the first vertical black line at 15:54 universal time, and the images at this time that are shown in Figure 2.  The other two vertical lines mark other times explored in detail in the paper Gary et al. (2018).

Fig. 2: Left panel shows extreme ultraviolet emission from the hot corona measured with the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) instrument on the Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft at 15:54 universal time, in reverse gray scale (bright emission appears black, and dark areas are lighter gray).  At this time, a cavity outlined by dotted lines is rising rapidly in the direction of the arrow labeled “Motion”, surrounded by a much larger loop that is also expanding rapidly for form a coronal mass ejection (CME).  In the right panel, the multi-frequency EOVSA sources are shown in multiple colors, with color corresponding to different frequencies according to the color bar between the panels.  The EOVSA sources at lower frequencies (red and orange) connect the bright AIA loops (shown black) with the rising cavity, and also have sources above and below the main source, associated with the legs of the CME.  At higher frequencies (green and blue) are localized just above the bright AIA loops.  A hard X-ray source due to hot plasma (20 million degrees) is shown with the red-lined contours, while a hard X-ray source due to higher-energy electrons is shown with blue-lined contours.  The hard X-ray data is from the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) spacecraft.  

 

Contacts:

Tracey Regan

Senior News and Media Relations Officer

Office of Strategic Communications 

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Phone: 201-388-0232

Fax: 973-642-4555

E-mail: [email protected]
www.njit.edu

 

Dr. Henry “Trae” Winter

SPD Press Officer

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

(617) 495-7400

[email protected]

 

One of only 32 polytechnic universities in the United States, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) prepares undergraduate and graduate students and professionals to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT’s multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. NJIT has a $1.74 billion annual economic impact on the State of New Jersey, conducts approximately $140 million in research activity each year, and is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering and cybersecurity, in addition to others. NJIT is ranked #1 nationally by Forbes for the upward economic mobility of its lowest-income students and is among the top 2 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.

The purpose of the AAS Solar Physics Division (SPD) is the advancement of the study of the Sun and the coordination of such research with other branches of science. The SPD holds annual scientific meetings, awards several prizes, and supports students in various ways.

Solar Physics Division Press Releases

Solar Physics Division Press Releases

SPD Press Officer

Dr. Henry “Trae” Winter

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

[email protected]

(617) 495-7400

 

Tuesday February 18, 2018

2018 George Ellery Hale Prize 

The 2018 George Ellery Hale Prize for outstanding contributions to the field of solar astronomy is awarded to Sarbani Basu for her many seminal contributions to our understanding of the internal structure and dynamics of the Sun and stars.

2018 Karen Harvey Prize 

The 2018 Karen Harvey Prize for a significant contribution to the study of the Sun early in a person’s professional career is awarded to Nicholeen Viall for  her fundamental contributions to understanding coronal heating and the slow solar wind, and for her valuable service to the science community and the general public.