Travelling the world to work with the Sun

- The Whole Sun Project, provides a unique opportunity for me to work and collaborate with experts from other European institutions, says the latest newcomer to RoCS. His name is Avijeet Prasad and he is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

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Dissipation of a current sheet near a X-type reconnection site during a flare in active region NOAA 11283 with the flare ribbons observed in AIA 304 (Prasad et al. 2020). Ilustration: UiO

- What is your name, your nationality and your educational background? 

- My name is Avijeet Prasad, and I am from India. I completed my master’s in Physics and Astrophysics in July 2010 and Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore, India in March 2016 as part of an Integrated M.Sc. - Ph.D. program.

Smiling, young man with black hair and glasses
Embracing the Norwegian culture with a moose sweater: Postdoctoral Research Fellow Avijeet Prasad from India. Photo: Private

- Where have you studied/worked before and in what field? 

- After completing my Ph.D., I joined the Udaipur Solar Observatory at the Physical Research Laboratory in India for my first postdoc till May 2018. From October 2018 till August 2021, I was a postdoc at the Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, USA.

- When did you start working at ITA? What is your position here? 

- I joined ITA from 16th August 2021 as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. I will be affiliated with RoCS and will be working on the Whole Sun Project.

- What are you going to study?

- I will be working for the Whole Sun Project, which aims to understand the physical mechanisms behind the eruptive activity of the Sun and its stellar twins.

- How do you plan to answer to the main questions?

- Towards the goal of understanding the physics of solar eruptions, I plan to develop a synergistic approach combining realistic numerical simulations and observations from various space and ground-based telescopes, through apt state-of-the-art three-dimensional (3D) magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) simulations initiated with realistic models of the solar corona. The key objectives of the study would be the following:

a. Apply a non-force-free-field (NFFF) magnetic field extrapolation code to a wide variety of photospheric and chromospheric observations of active regions (prior to an eruptive event) to characterize and study its magnetic topology, which then also act as realistic boundary conditions for performing MHD simulations.

b. For a smaller subset of the events identified above, perform 3D MHD simulations to study processes like magnetic reconnections that lead to destabilization of plasma, and onset of jets, flares, and eruptions. The observed dynamics is then compared with the observed extreme ultra-violet (EUV) and X-ray emissions in the corona to gain further insights.

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Snapshot of the magnetic topology during an eruptive flux rope during a M6.5 flare in NOAA 12371 (work in preparation)

- What brought you to Oslo? Why ITA/ RoCS/ Norway in general?​

- RoCS is internationally renowned for its work in numerical modelling and high-quality observations of the Sun. So, I was really excited about the possibility of working here. Also, the Whole Sun Project, being a prestigious synergy grant provides a unique opportunity for me to work and collaborate with experts from other European institutions. Finally, I was pulled by the natural beauty and charm of Norway, and I really look forward to travelling around the country once the COVID situation normalizes further.

- How can you describe your experience here at ITA and in Oslo so far?

- I have had a really good experience at ITA and RoCS so far. The working environment is friendly and provides multiple avenues for impromptu discussions, which I find quite stimulating. Oslo is a beautiful city and so far, I have really enjoyed walking around and seeing different parts of it.

- What do you expect from this experience at ITA and in Oslo/ Norway?

- I am hoping that with my expertise in magnetic field extrapolations and MHD simulations, I would be able to actively work and collaborate in many of the ongoing research activities at RoCS, especially the WHOLE SUN project. This training should help me gain deep knowledge and expertise into state-of-the-art modelling of solar atmosphere furthering my scientific development to become a mature and independent scientist, with fundamental expertise in both modelling and observations.

By Eyrun Thune
Published Sep. 15, 2021 12:16 PM - Last modified Sep. 16, 2021 8:00 AM