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The Sun’s Magnetic Field: Sunspots and Cycles - Public Lecture

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Physics Lecture Theatre 2, Building 303

303 G02

23 Symonds Street

Auckland, 1010

New Zealand

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The Sun’s Magnetic Field: Sunspots and Cycles Presented by researcher in applied mathematics and astrophysics, Professor Michael Proctor

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The Sun’s magnetic field exists on a very wide variety of scales, from sunspots down to small 'bright points’ between the surface cellular motions (the solar granulation). Sunspots have been observed for many centuries; their association with magnetic fields has only been recognised rather more recently. The frequency and location of sunspots varies on an 11-year cycle, which is much shorter than any other solar evolution timescale. In addition there have been interruptions to this cycle, such as occurred in the early 17th century, and this may have been associated with a cold climate in the northern hemisphere (the ‘little ice age’). A detailed explanation of this phenomenon is still elusive, though some broad elements are understood. Even modern supercomputers have not so far been capable of solving model problems that accurately capture the observed behaviour.

In this lecture Professor Michael Proctor shall discuss the history of sunspot investigations, talk about the connection with large scale magnetic fields in the Sun and with the turbulent motion in the Sun’s outer convection zone and describe modern efforts to construct accurate detailed models of solar magnetic behaviour.

Professor Michael Proctor is a world-leading researcher in applied mathematics and astrophysics. He is currently Provost of King’s College at the University of Cambridge, Professor Emeritus of Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, and a fellow of the Royal Society of London. His research interests include solar magnetohydrodynamics, geomagnetism, bifurcation theory, pattern formation and nonlinear convection. He is visiting the University of Auckland as a Hood Fellow in 2020.

Refreshments will be held from 4:30pm in Building 303 foyer, 303-407.

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Date and Time

Location

Physics Lecture Theatre 2, Building 303

303 G02

23 Symonds Street

Auckland, 1010

New Zealand

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