Solar Physics Laboratory (671) Local News Archive

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Nat Gopalswamy received the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Elavenil Science Association and the Indian Science and Technology Association

photo of Dr. GopalswamyNat Gopalswamy (671) received the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Elavenil Science Association and the Indian Science and Technology Association (ESA/ISTA) on September 3, 2022, during the award ceremony held at the Anna University, Chennai, India. The ESA/ISTA Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes and honors individuals who have contributed for the progress of the society through dedicated service for the Science and Technology.

Heliophysics Remembers Dr. Richard Schwartz

Photo of Richard Schwartz Richard Schwartz died unexpectedly at his home on Saturday. Richard graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and came to Goddard in the mid-80s. He joined Ken Frost’s X-ray group working on the solar flare data from the Hard X-ray Burst Spectrometer (HXRBS) on the Solar Maximum Mission (SMM). Since then he has been involved in the analysis of data from almost every space mission that has made high energy solar flare observations. His biggest role has been the scientist responsible for the Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) data analysis software. He was playing a similar role for the Spectrometer/Telescope for Imaging X-rays (STIX) on the Solar Orbiter. His main skill was the ability to combine scientific understanding with efficient computational techniques. His problem solving capabilities, prodigious memory, insightful but often acerbic wit, and imposing presence will be sorely missed by his many friends at Goddard and around the world in the international high-energy solar physics community.
Helainy Pena

BITSE Balloon Launched

BITSE balloon inflationCongratulations to the BITSE team. The BITSE ballooon successfully launched on September 18.

Poster Blowout 2019 is in the books!

photo of people at the poster party

Photos from this year's Poster Blowout are available now. Congratulations to everyone, especially this year's winners!

Goddard heliophysicists Jeff Newmark and Nat Gopalswamy featured in Cutting Edge

photo of Jeff and Nat An observational technique first proposed more than four decades ago to measure three important processes necessary for the formation of the solar wind — the source of disturbances in Earth’s upper atmosphere — will be demonstrated for the first time next year. Goddard heliophysicists Nat Gopalswamy and Jeff Newmark plan to demonstrate BITSE — short for the Balloon-borne Investigation of Temperature and Speed of Electrons in the corona — aboard a high-altitude scientific balloon from Ft. Sumner, New Mexico, next fall. BITSE will detect the density, temperature, and speed of electrons in the corona. The story appears starting on page 7 in Goddard's "Cutting Edge" technology magazine.

Poster Blowout 2018

Note from the Director:
I would like to thank the Director’s Science Committee for putting on an amazingly successful event where scientists and engineers across Goddard shared their work and made new contacts. The interdisciplinary interactions were especially exciting and crossed all four science disciplines.

Click the title of this news item or the image below for more images from the poster party. scientists standing in front of a poster

Four GSFC scientists were named AGU fellows

Paul MahaffyClaire ParkinsonBrent HolbenNat Gopalswamy
The American Geophysical Union (AGU) today announced its 2016 Fellows, an honor given to individual AGU members who have made exceptional scientific contributions and gained prominence in their respective fields of Earth and space sciences. Since the AGU Fellows program was established in 1962, and according to the organization’s bylaws, no more than 0.01 percent of the total membership of AGU is recognized annually. This year’s class of Fellows are geographically diverse coming from 18 states and eight countries and includes Goddard scientists Paul Mahaffy, Claire Parkinson, Brent Holben, and Nat Gopalswamy.

Science Jamboree event photos

The 2016 Science Jamboree was a great success! A collection of 50 photos from the event are available now.

Goddard Scientists Named Fellows of the American Geophysical Union

Four Goddard scientists were named 2016 fellows of the American Geophysical Union in recognition of their contributions to Earth and space sciences. Claire Parkinson, a senior scientist in Goddard’s Earth Sciences Division; Nat Gopalswamy in the Solar Physics Laboratory; Brent Holben in the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory; and Paul Mahaffy, director of Goddard’s Solar System Exploration Division, were among the 60 new fellows elected this year. The American Geophysical Union established its Fellows Program in 1962, and only 0.1% of the organization’s membership receives this recognition in any given year. The new fellows will be honored in a December 14 ceremony during the American Geophysical Union’s fall 2016 meeting in San Francisco.

HSD Awardees

The Heliophysics Science Division is pleased to report the following HSD recipients of 2012 NASA Honor Awards:
  • Spiro Antiochos (674): Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal
    James A. Klimchuk (671): Outstanding Leadership Medal
    Douglas E. Rowland (674): Early Career Achievement Medal
    SDO Science Investigation Team: NASA Group Achievement Award
  • SDO Mascot in British News

    BBC news reported on the Solar Dynamics Observatory’s mascot, Camilla the Rubber Chicken, and her protective suit knitted by Rugby resident Sue Drage for her May 20 flight to the stratosphere

    Solar Dynamics Orbiter featured in National Geographic

    Images and science results from the Solar Dynamics Observatory are highlighted in the cover story of the June 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine. There are 18 pages of photos and text, including a fold-out image, and quotes from the Space Weather Laboratory’s Antti Pulkkinen. The article, “Solar Super Storms” is available in print, and on-line.

    Amateur Astronomer Uses STEREO Images to Observe Nova

    Amateur astronomer Alan Watson used images routinely posted to the STEREO Website to observe an apparent nova in the constellation Sagittarius. The object, originally detected by Russian observers on April 21, appeared to brighten to visual magnitude +8.8; the nearest pre-brightening object, 0.6 arc sec from the position of the nova, was of magnitude 16. Videos of the HI-1B observations are available on the STEREO Website and the "Universe Today" site.

    AGU Science Policy Conference

    Jim Klimchuk gave an invited talk, “The Causes of Space Weather,” and participated in a panel discussion at the inaugural AGU Science Policy Conference in Washington, DC. This conference brought together scientists, policymakers, and other stakeholders to discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our nation.

    SDO Partners With Peace Corps

    The Solar Dynamics Observatory EPO team in partnership with the United States Peace Corps is providing educational materials, including the Sun Earth Day packet, to 500 American education volunteers in 30 countries worldwide. These packets will be used by volunteers in their classrooms and communities to educate about the sun, the transit of Venus, and NASA.

    Space Science Explorer Terry Kucera

    Terry Kucera, Deputy Project Scientist for STEREO, now appears as a featured scientist in the "Earth and Space Science Explorers" series for educators.

    NASA Feature Article on Solar Asymmetry

    The peculiar behavior of solar cycles 23 and 24 is discussed in an online NASA article: "Hinode and SOHO Paint An Asymmetrical Picture Of the Sun" . The article highlights results by Nat Gopalswamy and co-authors describing the north-south asymmetry in the polar field strength and the prominence eruption activity revealed in microwave observations and magnetic field measurements made by National Solar Observatory telescopes and Hinode.

    SDO in the Classroom

    During the week of April 19, the SDO E/PO team brought their "Ambassador in the Classroom" program to approximately 200 third and fifth graders at Cresthaven Elementary School in Silver Spring, MD. The students learned about the Sun-Earth relationship through hands-on lessons related to SDO.

    "Secrets of the Sun" Airs on NOVA

    The PBS NOVA documentary, "Secrets of the Sun," aired on April 25. Stunning footage from NASA's Solary Dynamics Observatory and interviews with Goddard Heliophysics scientists were included in the show. Two interactive websites provide opportunities for viewer participation in heliospheric science. The NOVA Labs citizen scientist website is geared toward middle and high school students, enabling them to analyze real SDO data, and the NOVALabs Facebook page featured HSD scientist Phillip Chamberlin providing answers to questions about the Sun.

    Solar Physics Governing Committee

    Terry Kucera has been nominated to run for the AAS/Solar Physics Division governing committee.

    Balloon Payload X-Ray Mission

    The Hands on Project Experience Training Opportunity (HOPE) has provisionally selected the proposal, “High Energy Replicated Optics to Explore the Sun (HEROES).” Led by Jessica Gaskin at MSFC and Steven Christe (671) at GSFC, HEROES will repurpose and fly an existing balloon payload (HERO) developed at MSFC to observe the Sun in addition to astrophysical sources using grazing incidence hard X-ray optics. The solar science goal of this flight will be to observe a solar flare for the first time with hard x-ray focusing optics which enable high sensitivity and dynamic range. The award is considered provisional as a review is needed to revise the existing training plan.

    Physics Today article on "Solar Eruptive Events"

    Gordon Holman (671) wrote a feature article in the April issue of Physics Today titled “Solar Eruptive Events.” Solar eruptive events are the large, sometimes geoeffective explosions consisting of a flare and a coronal mass ejection. The article reviews recent insights from space observatories, especially the Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI), into how energy is released in these events.

    Solar Physics Laboratory (671) welcomes Nicholeen Viall

    The Solar Physics Laboratory (671) welcomes Dr. Nicholeen Viall as its newest civil servant. Nicki earned an undergraduate degree in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Washington in Seattle, followed by a Ph.D. in Astronomy from Boston University. Her thesis, “Periodic Solar Wind Density Structures,” investigated structures in the ambient Solar Wind and their interaction with Earth’s magnetosphere. After finishing her thesis, Nicki came to GSFC as a NASA Postdoctoral Program fellow working with Jim Klimchuk (671) on solar coronal heating, a topic which she continues to investigate using the new data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory.

    Solar Dynamics Orbiter - E/PO Team at Wondercom

    The SDO Education and Public Outreach team had a very successful education booth at the comic book and and sci-fi convention WonderCon last weekend. There were over 45,000 attendees and the team spoke to several thousand people about the upcoming transit of Venus and SDO and solar science. The response from this science interested audience to our “science fact” at their science fiction convention was overwhelmingly positive and supportive.

    Solar Week 2012

    Solar Week, celebrating the Sun-Earth Connection in classrooms, was held 3/19/2012 - 3/23/2012. Terry Kucera (Code 671) participated by answering questions from Junior High School students. The program is focused on sustaining student interest in science.

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