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Solar Physics

Image of the Sun taken by SDO
(Credit: NASA)

RAL Space's Solar Physics Group is a cornerstone of UK solar physics research, providing an established, world-leading research programme with observational and scientific leadership over a wide range of key areas.  The basic underpinning experimental expertise of the group is solar atomic spectroscopy, for the derivation of solar plasma diagnostics.

The group has a long heritage, including the NASA Solar Maximum Mission (link opens in a new window) (1980-89) the CHASE Spacelab 2 (link opens in a new window)experiment (1985), the Japanese Yohkoh mission (1991-2001), and the NASA SOHO (link opens in a new window) mission.

The group has major hardware roles in the NASA STEREO (link opens in a new window) and the Japanese Hinode (link opens in a new window)missions and studies are underway for a RAL-led instrument for the ESA Solar Orbiter (link opens in a new window).

The Group was involved in the SDO  (link opens in a new window)mission; the first of NASA's Living with a Star Programme and also in some smaller projects such as the RESIK instrument aboard the Russian Coronas spacecraft and the NASA SERTS and EUNIS rocket experiments.

The bulk of the research effort over the last few years has been underpinned by observational work using the SOHO spacecraft and in particular the RAL-led Coronal Diagnostic Spectrometer (CDS) and more recently, the STEREO and Hinode observations.

Specific research areas include studies of fundamental processes in the solar atmosphere, research into solar mass ejection processes and flares and plasma diagnostic techniques.

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