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ERC AdG project SeismoSun objectives

From the description of the ERC Advanced Grant SeismoSun, held by V.M. Nakariakov:

The specific objectives of the project are the following:

1. To determine the coronal heating function, which is the dependence of the power deposited by some yet unidentified mechanism upon height, and establish the link of this function with the magnetic topology and other observables (the magnetic field strength, plasma density profile, bulk flows, fine structuring). The knowledge of this function will provide the basis for the solution of the enigmatic coronal heating problem.

2. To probe fine, sub-resolution, transverse structuring of the coronal plasma and establish its characteristic spatial scale. This parameter is of vital importance for coronal physics, as it determines the rate of MHD wave transfer, dissipation and conversion.

3. To design and apply the novel plasma diagnostic technique based upon dispersive fast wave trains. This approach allows for almost instant diagnostics of the macroscopic parameters of plasmas during one wave transit time, in contrast with the traditional approach based upon the use of resonances, which requires the observation of at least several wave transit time. The proof-of-principle demonstration of this technique opens up new opportunities for the diagnostics of natural and laboratory plasmas.

4. To understand oscillatory regimes of magnetic reconnection; to discriminate between different theoretical scenarios of magnetic reconnection using quasi-periodic pulsations in solar flares. The phenomenon of magnetic reconnection is a fundamental process in plasma physics. In particular, it is responsible for the energy release in solar flares, the most powerful physical events in the solar system, and geomagnetic storms, and hence is of crucial importance for understanding solar-terrestrial relations. We shall utilise the additional constraint imposed by the empirically determined characteristic period of the energy release (the rate of repetition) in advancing the understanding of the dynamical regimes of magnetic reconnection.

5. To design the technique for the diagnostics of microphysical processes through their effect on macroscopic observables. This will provide us with the knowledge crucial for the understanding of the role of kinetic and gyroresonant effects in large-scale evolution of space plasmas.

6. To create the foundation for stellar coronal seismology. Parameters of quasi-periodic pulsations in stellar flares impose additional constraints on the estimation of physical parameters in stellar atmospheres. This, in particular, is directly relevant to the determination of the habitable zones in solar-type stellar systems. Indeed, one of the stellar parameters, which determines the limit of the habitable zone is the flaring and coronal mass ejection activity of the star, determined the physical conditions in the corona of the star.

7. To design or adapt, test and implement novel techniques for the detection of wave and oscillatory phenomena in imaging time-dependent datasets. These techniques will significantly increase the number of observed events and radically improve the statistical significance of the results. The application of these techniques will enhance our understanding of time evolution and spatial distribution of the analysed phenomena. The methods to be designed can also have important applications in other branches of science.