project overview  >  introduction

project aim:

Solar MURI is a collaborative project studying magnetic eruptions on the Sun and their effects on the Earth's space environment. ("MURI" stands for Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative, a research program funded by DoD.) The aim of the project is to improve our ability to predict space weather from solar observations.

EIT Prominence
A Solar Prominence Observed by the EIT Instrument on SOHO
The project will construct a series of physically connected, observationally tested models of the Sun and its interplanetary environment. These models will allow us to use observations of the Sun's atmosphere and magnetic configuration to determine:
  • When a magnetic eruption is imminent
  • If that magnetic eruption will impact the Earth's space environment
  • Whether this will result in a Solar Energetic Particle (SEP) bombardment and/or a geomagnetic storm
Ultimately, our goal is to provide several extra days of notice prior to an SEP event or geomagnetic storm.

project milestones:

A number of intermediate goals must be achieved to complete the Solar MURI project. These are summarized below:
  • Measure the solar magnetic field with sufficient accuracy and coverage to discern which magnetic properties are the key to determining whether eruptions will occur
  • Understand the physics governing magnetic eruptions on the Sun sufficiently well to construct realistic numerical simulations
  • Simulate the interplanetary propagation of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) out to 1.0 AU with sufficient accuracy to construct accurate models of conditions upstream of the Earth
  • Couple models of the Sun's magnetic lower atmosphere, lower corona, upper corona, and solar wind in such a way that a model of an unstable magnetic configuration on the Sun can be propagated out to the Earth
  • Verify the performance of these coupled models with test cases based on observed magnetic eruptions, their interplanetary disturbances (Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejections - ICMEs), the SEP events, and the general levels of geomagnetic response

project timeline:

  • Years 1 - 3: Collect the necessary observations. Develop the numerical modelling codes and the interfaces between these codes.
  • Years 4 - 5: Apply the coupled simulation codes to a set of observed CMEs. Evaluate their performance in determining the consequences of solar observations.

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