Aoife McCloskey

Lecture – Weds 14th Dec – Aoife McCloskey, TCD – “Sunspots and Solar Flares: How can we forecast space weather?”

One of the most challenging endeavours in modern technological society is predicting the occurrence of adverse space weather conditions in the near-Earth space environment that are hazardous to technology and human life. The main source of adverse space weather is our active star, the Sun. Solar flares are highly energetic events that occur on the Sun, but can directly impact day-to-day technologies in space (e.g. satellites, GPS signals, astronaut radiation) and on Earth (e.g. radio communication).
The main scientific questions to answer are when, where and why do these events occur on the Sun? If we can answer these, then we can better prepare for their impact here at Earth. The energy that powers these energetic events is known to come from magnetic energy stored in sunspot groups – dark regions/spots of strong magnetic field on the surface of the Sun. This talk will address the present state of space weather prediction and ongoing research, including using sunspots to predict solar flares, that aims to improve the capabilities of current space weather forecasting. 
Doors open about 7.15pm. There is free parking available on the campus in the evenings. Admission Free, including light refreshments. We are located in the Bell Theatre, Department of Mathematics and Physics, QUB – details here……
With thanks to the Astrophysics Research Centre, QUB, for assistance with this event.

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