Lecture: 20 February 2019 “Understanding Solar Magnetic Activity” by W.P. Abbett, PhD, UCB

20 February 2019, Wednesday, 7:45 PM, Randall Museum Theater

“Understanding Solar Magnetic Activity”


William P. Abbett, PhD, Space Sciences Lab, UC Berkeley

Join Dr. William P. Abbett, research physicist and senior fellow at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory, for a discussion on our Understanding of Solar Magnetic Activity. The Sun’s dynamic magnetic field plays an integral role in almost all aspects of observed activity, and is the source of energy for large-scale eruptive events such as coronal mass ejections and flares. These events are the principle drivers of the most energetic and disruptive space weather events we experience here at earth, and understanding the physics of their initiation is crucial if we are to better predict and mitigate the effects of solar storms.

Artist’s concept of the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft approaching the Sun. Credit: NASA

In this presentation, Dr. Abbett will give a brief overview of our understanding of magnetic activity on the Sun, describe current efforts to incorporate data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory into multi-scale models of solar activity, discuss the recently launched Parker Solar Probe, and summarize new progress toward addressing some of the long-standing, unsolved problems in the field of solar physics.

Brief Bio

Dr. William P. Abbett is a Research Physicist and Senior Fellow at the Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) at the University of California, at Berkeley. He has a variety of research interests in the field of astrophysics, including the formation and evolution of magnetic fields in the convective interior of the Sun and other stars.

Dr. Abbett developed one of the first parallel radiative-magnetohydrodynamic codes capable of modeling the physically-distinct layers of the Sun’s upper convection zone, photosphere, chromoshere, transition region, and low corona within a single computational domain. With the solar group at SSL, he is currently developing techniques to assimilate remote sensing observations into numerical models of the solar atmosphere in order to improve the predictive capability of physics-based models of solar activity.

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