Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan

Solar & Heliospheric Physics

Solar & HelioSolar and heliospheric physics scientists study the Sun and its influence inside the heliosphere. Topics include the solar and heliospheric magnetic field; processes in the solar atmosphere; the heating and acceleration of the solar wind, energetic particles, solar storms (Coronal Mass Ejections) and interaction with planetary space environments; and the local interstellar environment. Climate & Space research spans development and operation of spacecraft sensors, including five sensors on three spacecraft; data analysis and modeling of the solar and heliospheric magnetic field, solar atmosphere, solar wind and CME propagation, and interactions with planetary environments; and solar and heliospheric theory that concentrates on solar magnetic field, solar wind, and the evolution of the Sun over the solar cycle.

The overarching questions guiding the thrust of our research are: What is the composition of the solar wind, and what does it tell us about processes at work in the solar atmosphere? How does the solar magnetic field evolve and affect the solar wind? How does the solar wind interact with planetary space environments and what does that tell us about the Earth? What is the composition of the galactic environment, and what does it tell us about the history of the Galaxy? What are the fundamental processes leading to particle acceleration on the Sun, in the heliosphere, and elsewhere? The answers to these questions are fundamental to understanding the heliosphere as a whole and invaluable to those who work with space technology or pursue space exploration.

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