David Elder Lecture - Prof. Philippa Browning
"Solar Flares - The most energetic explosions in the solar system" Solar flares are dramatic explosions in the outer atmosphere of the Sun – the solar corona. They produce electromagnetic radiation and beams of high-energy charged particles, which can have serious detrimental effects on power systems and communication on Earth as well as satellites. Since the first solar flare was observed by Carrington in 1859, we have learnt a lot about how flares happen. Flares result from a release of stored magnetic energy through a reconfiguration of the magnetic field known as magnetic reconnection. However, many questions remain unanswered. Prof Philippa Browning will outline our current understanding of flares, showing how this has advanced through a wealth of recent observations from space and ground, as well as computer simulations which elucidate the fundamental physical processes. She will also explain how the surprisingly high temperature of the solar corona (1 million degrees) may result from many small flares, and discuss much more powerful flares which have been discovered on other stars. Glasgow Science Centre is proud to host the David Elder Lectures in partnership with the University of Strathclyde's Department of Physics.