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Katie Kosak

Position: PhD Student

Supervisor: Professor Valery Nakariakov



My research focuses on a specific type of wave that appears in coronal loops of the Sun—slow magnetoacoustic oscillations. The Sun is made of plasma which manifests wave phenomena, similar to the sound waves present in a gas medium. Like Earth, the Sun has an interior, surface and atmosphere. The corona is the outermost portion of the Sun’s atmosphere. Interestingly, the Sun’s corona is millions of degrees higher in temperature than the Sun’s surface. Several theories have been proposed for why the corona has such high temperatures, but the mechanism for the coronal heating is still unknown and debated-- this mystery is referred to as the “Coronal Heating Problem.”
Slow magnetoacoustic oscillations, also called SUMER oscillations after the instrument of initial detection, are present in hot coronal loops which flow from footpoint to footpoint. A coronal loop is a closed magnetic field line that contains plasma. SUMER oscillations usually last 4-6 oscillations, meaning there is a strong damping mechanism.
Plasma’s behavior can be modelled with magnetohydrodynamics equations, MHD equations. In the past, SUMER oscillations have been modelled as acoustic (or sound) waves. However, modelling the oscillations as acoustic waves ignores the presence of the magnetic field and the role of the coronal heating function. From the model of SUMER oscillations, the damping time and period of oscillation are solved. Another point of comparison is the coronal heating function.


Physics, B.S. Honors. Florida Institute of Technology, Dec 2015

Applied Mathematics, B. S., Honors. Florida Institute of Technology, Dec 2015