Research Grant to RoCS project

Every two years the Norwegian Research Council invites for research proposals through the Space Science Programme. This year a project from RoCS, with project leader Professor Luc Rouppe van der Voort, receives funding. 

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RoCS has an agreement with the Institute for Solar Physics in Stockholm which gives us observing time at the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope (SST) at La Palma in the Canary Islands. Photo: UiO

The title of the project is “Impact of small-scale reconnection events on the solar atmosphere” (acronym ISSRESS). The project has a duration of 4 years and starts October 1st 2021. 

- What do you plan to do?

- In one sentence: We will use observations from telescopes in space and on the ground combined with numerical simulations to study the impact of small-scale reconnection events on the solar atmosphere, says Rouppe van der Voort

The solar atmosphere is filled with magnetic fields and there are many locations where magnetic field lines of different orientation interact and make new connections: a process called magnetic reconnection. In the locations where magnetic reconnection takes place, magnetic energy is converted into other forms of energy such as heat and particle acceleration. For most dynamic and transient events in the solar atmosphere, magnetic reconnection is the fundamental driving mechanism. In the lower solar atmosphere, sites with magnetic reconnection can be observed as so-called Ellerman bombs at spatial scales of a few 100's of kilometers. Recent high-resolution observations have shown that these Ellerman bombs occur on the solar surface in much higher numbers than thought before, explains Rouppe van der Voort.

- What do you hope to achieve?

The central objective of this project is to understand the origin and formation of Ellerman bombs in magnetically inactive areas (the so-called quiet Sun) and explore their impact on the solar atmosphere.

We plan to achieve this goal by combining high quality observations from space-borne and ground-based telescopes, and by comparison of observational data with large-scale, realistic, 3D numerical models of the solar atmosphere. The observations will be acquired through coordinated  campaigns with NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) satellite and the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope on La Palma. Insight on the impact of these Ellerman bombs on the solar atmosphere will come from comparison of these observations with synthetic observables calculated with advanced simulations of the solar atmosphere.

- How did you come up with the idea to your project?

It started with observations from the new instrument CHROMIS at the SST: these observations were much sharper than before and we immediately realized that there were much more of these Ellerman Bombs present than what we saw before. The sharp images showed many tiny Ellerman Bombs. With so much reconnection taking place in the deep parts of the atmosphere, we started to wonder if that may have an impact on the dynamics of the upper atmosphere. To tackle that question, we needed to apply for more funding from NFR. Fortunately, that was successful! 

Man with grey hair and glasses
Professor Luc Rouppe van der Voort has been with ITA, UiO since 2003 and with RoCS since the start in 2017. Photo: UiO.
Tags: Quiet sun, Ellerman bombs, Swedish Solar Telescope (SST) By Eyrun Thune
Published Aug. 23, 2021 2:30 PM - Last modified Aug. 23, 2021 2:35 PM