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International PhD scholarships in Solar Physics

Two International PhD scholarships in Solar Physics are available within the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute for start in October 2011. Each scholarship will provide £15000 towards the cost of the International tuition over 3 years. UK and EU applicants are not eligible for these scholarships.

Applications are invited for a full-time scholarship available in the School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences. The scholarship is tenable for up to 3 years for a PhD (via MPhil route) [subject to satisfactory progress] and is open to international applicants only. UK/EU applicants are not eligible to apply. The scholarship will provide £15000 towards the cost of the International tuition fee over 3 years.

Project 1: Using Coronal Dimming to Study CME Initiation
Project Description: The aim of this project is to study the initiation of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) using data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). 

It is notoriously difficult to observe the initiation of CMEs which cause space weather, in routinely available space based data. However, observing the onset of CMEs in the low corona is needed to study the source region and the initiation process, Coronal dimming has been identified as an observable tool which can be the first detection of a CME hours before they are observed in coronagraph observations. The identification of coronal dimming also leads directly to the source regions and studies of the initiation process. 

Data from SDO consists of full disk, high cadence and high spatial resolution data covering a wide range of temperatures in the Sun’s atmosphere, which has not been available in the past. This project will use SDO and other related datasets to identify coronal dimming (i.e. CME source regions) and thus study the initiation of CMEs. Coronal dimming has until recently only been investigated in coronal lines, where the mass loss that leads to the CME has been restricted. However, it has been shown by Bewsher et al (2008), that using data from multiple temperatures is needed to successfully predict the occurrence of CMEs from observations of coronal dimming. 

This project will exploit work done by Bewsher in developing an algorithm to automatically identify coronal dimming, but has not yet applied to SDO data. 

Numerous models of CME inititation have been proposed (e.g. Dynamo model, Klimchuk (1990), mass loading model, Low (1996), tether release model, Forbes & Isenberg (1991), magnetic breakout model, Antiochos et al. (1999)) and the properties of CME initiation identified from data will be compared to the theoretical models.

Project 2: Investigating the rotation of sunspots with the Solar Dynamics Observatory
Project Description: The aim of this project is to investigate the torsional rotation of sunspots in the solar surface. These rotations, which can last for 10s of days, are an observable consequence of the transfer of magnetic information from the solar interior to the atmosphere. This means that analysis of sunspot rotation can provide information about sub-surface magnetic processes. 

The project will use data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) to identify sunspot rotation, and determine the rotation profile of the sunspot and the response in the solar atmosphere (e.g., solar flares, eruptions). SDO provides continuous, high-resolution (in time and space) observations of the solar disk in a range of spectral pass bands that correspond to different layers of the Sun’s surface and atmosphere.

Applicants should have, or expect to receive a qualification equivalent to a high class UK honours degree.

Informal project related enquiries may be directed to Daniel Brown email dsbrown@uclan.ac.uk Tel 01772 893305
 
Application Forms can be found at: www.uclan.ac.uk/studentships
Completed application forms should be emailed to researchdegrees@uclan.ac.uk
Original post by http://www.star.uclan.ac.uk/news/2011040701

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