SWAT’s recent expansion in solar interior wave research was timely because of the enhanced opportunities for exploitation of sub-photospheric data from high-resolution instruments (MDI on SOHO, HMI and AIA on SDO) and from BiSON.

Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)

We have now a unique capability for local magneto-helioseismology in the UK, also a unique juxtaposition in the UK of helioseismic data analysis with an active interest in looking at the very important and crucial magnetic effects through MHD. The only comparable activity is that of Cally at Monash in collaboration with colleagues at CORA, Colorado.

Our approach

We believe that our novel approach of bringing together expertise in MHD and solar interior wave research has opened genuinely new and exciting windows of research in magnetic helioseismology.

Further, in near-surface solar wave studies, we follow on to pursue the innovative idea that the interplay among waves, coherent and random magnetic and flow fields which are often ignored in traditional solar wave coupling processes, is critical to determining self-consistent dynamics, eg spicule dynamics or plasma heating.

This research is extremely timely since detailed information about the structure and dynamics of the MHD waveguides has become available by the boom of high-resolution data.

High-resolution data

SWAT’s solar atmospheric research became an even more exciting and promising field for MHD applications because of the high-resolution imaging data obtained by SOHO, TRACE, STEREO, Hinode and the soon-available data from SDO. Research was further supplemented by the superb capacity of ROSA and IBIS mounted on the ground-based SST and DST facilities.

The combined approach of diagnostic interpretation and forward modelling of high-resolution data allows us to obtain detailed vital sub-resolution information about the coronal magnetic field. This includes the dynamics and magnetic fine structure of the solar atmosphere, from photosphere through to the transition region into the corona, and information about the transport coefficients that are crucial for energy dissipation and heating in the solar atmospheric plasma.

Our approach of a coupled magnetic solar sub-surface, chromosphere, transition region and corona is one of the hottest topics in 21st century solar physics, with major international meetings devoted to it.

We believe our coherent proposal demonstrates that we now have a real chance to obtain a much deeper insight into how energy travels from the near-surface sub-photospheric interior, through the solar surface, into the solar corona in various magnetic structures - from tiny pores and bright points, to sunspots and complex multi-fibril structure magnetic waveguides.

UK leading the way

No doubt, the UK is leading the way in solar - interior and atmospheric - magneto-seismology. Knowledge of the magnetic structure from sub-photosphere to corona is evidently important for the various heating mechanisms, a central topic of SWAT's efforts put forward in the literature, and the modelling of solar atmospheric coupling (eg CMEs) down to the Earth’s upper-atmosphere.

We believe that our unique and main strength is the over-arching wave research activity from the sub-surface interior into the corona and space plasma where we try to understand this system through the ubiquitous magnetic coupling.

International context

All the scientific research in SWAT's central interest receives a high level of activity worldwide (SOHO, TRACE, STEREO, Hinode, ROSA and IBIS ongoing; ATST, SDO, Solar Orbiter, Solar-C and HiRISE in preparation) with a strong track record of contribution on theory/data analysis present within the UK (Cambridge, Birmingham/BiSON, Imperial, MSSL, Manchester, St Andrews, UCLAN and Warwick).

We already play a major role in the next generation of solar missions:

  • SDO AIA - Professor Robert von Fay-Siebenburgen is an Invited Scientific Advisor by NASA and a Co-Investigator.

  • Solar Orbiter - Professor Robert von Fay-Siebenburgen is a member of the SPICE Science Definition Working Group.

  • ATST - Professor Robert von Fay-Siebenburgen is an Invited Scientific Advisor.

  • PROBA-3 - Professor Robert von Fay-Siebenburgen is leading the UK's theory efforts.

We plan to further increase our involvement both on national and international level, for example participation in proposing new missions and HiRISE, where Professor Robert von Fay-Siebenburgen is a Lead Co-Applicant.