Hazel Bain presents a public talk at UC Berkeley on March 17th, 2012, as part of the Science@Cal Lecture Series described at scienceatcal.berkeley.edu/lectures

The stars in the night sky have always been a source of intrigue and wonder. With our very own star at the center of our solar system, the Sun offers us a unique opportunity to study the inner workings of these giant balls of plasma. Starting at the core, I will discuss the processes occurring at the different layers of the Sun: From sunspots observed in the photosphere, which vary characteristically with the solar cycle, to explosive flares and coronal mass ejections, which release huge amounts of energy into the corona. Finally I will talk about the effect these eruptive events have on the Earth's atmosphere, and how the particles accelerated at the Sun produce the displays of lights known as the Aurora Borealis and the Aurora Australis.

Dr. Bain is originally from Scotland, where she obtained her undergraduate degree in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Glasgow. She stayed on in Glasgow to do a PhD in solar physics working with Dr. Lyndsay Fletcher. Upon completing her PhD she moved across "the pond" to start a postdoc with the RHESSI solar physics group at the Space Sciences Laboratory here at UC Berkeley. Her main area of research involves studying solar eruptive events such as flares, jets and coronal mass ejections, using both space and ground based instruments such as NASA's Reuven Ramaty High Energy Spectroscopic Solar Imager (RHESSI) and the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft, and the Nancay and Nobeyama Radioheliograph radio interferometers.

Videography and editing by Chris Klein, Andrew Siemion and James Anderson. This video is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License - creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us

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