Cambridge Astronomical Association
Cambridge Young Astronomers


Speaker Meeting

The High Energy Sun
Friday 15th January 2021
Start time : 20:00

Speaker : Dr. Alec MacKinnon

The Sun is just an “ordinary star” but it nonetheless displays high-energy radiation (cosmic rays and gamma rays) more often associated with black holes and supernovae. These pose challenging scientific questions in their own right and need to be understood as part of the full picture of solar magnetism, flares and CME’s. We will look at some highlights of high-energy solar physics: the global neutron monitor network, solar cosmic rays studied on Earth, gamma-rays from the Quiet Sun, solar flares and the puzzling gamma-radiation that persists for hours after them. These phenomena have their origin in dynamic magnetic fields and tenuous gases and make the connection between our tranquil, hospitable solar system and the more exotic, explosive events we find much further afield in the cosmos.

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About our speaker:

Alec MacKinnon was a student at the University of Glasgow (BSc 1980, PhD 1984) and have spent most of my career there, working as a researcher in solar physics 1983 – 1991, then as Lecturer (Senior Lecturer from 2002) in the Department of Adult and Continuing Education, working on enabling mature student access to science and engineering degrees and on courses for the public in Astronomy and Physics, while staying active in research on solar flares. Board Member, Community of European Solar Radio Astronomers (CESRA) 2001-2013. Visiting researcher, Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, USA, 9-12/2007; Visiting Professor, Mackenzie University, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 9-12/2013.

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