Next Frontiers of Astronomy Lecture:
Keeping Track of the Sun in Hawaii
Two large solar prominences in extreme ultraviolet light appeared on the
Sun on March 18, 2003. The two large prominences make this one of the most spectacular
images that SOHO has captured. Credit:SOHO/NASA/ESA
The next Frontiers of
Astronomy Community Lecture, sponsored by the Friends of Hawaii Astronomy,
will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 4, in the auditorium
of the Institute for Astronomy (2680 Woodlawn Drive in Manoa). The lecture
is free and open to the public.
The speaker will be the
IfA associate director for Haleakala and head of the Institute's Solar
Kuhn, who will discuss "Keeping Track of the Sun in
Hawaii." The Solar Group operates the Mees Solar Observatory on Haleakala,
where scientists conduct research on solar flares, magnetic fields on the
Sun, and solar oscillations.
Near the end of October,
Institute scientists observed a large cluster of sunspots whose movements
triggered solar flares. These large explosions, equivalent to millions
of 100-megaton hydrogen bombs, produced geomagnetic storms with the potential
to disrupt electronic and satellite communications. These "coronal
mass ejections" traveled toward Earth at millions of miles per hour.
According to Kuhn, the
recent activity was 10 times greater than expected for this time in the
solar cycle. Such activity is normally associated with solar maximum, the
peak in the 11-year sunspot cycle, which last occurred in 2000. Kuhn called
the recent activity "surprising," and noted that the researchers
at Mees Observatory are working to understand the Sun's variability.
Kuhn received his PhD
in physics from Princeton University in 1981 and does research in a broad
range of subjects related to astrophysics and astrophysical instrumentation.
He is the author of over 120 publications in physics and astronomy and
his current research is focused on the Sun and its variability. Kuhn is
also the designer of a unique off-axis mirror design that is now being
demonstrated on Haleakalaø as a prototype for the Advanced Technology Solar
Telescope. See "Na Kilo Hoku" no. 8.
For further information
about the Frontiers of Astronomy Community Lecture, please contact Joan
Yanagihara at email@example.com or (808) 956-6712.