George Mason University   

CSI 769/PHYS 590 -Solar Atmosphere

Fall Semester 2004
X-ray SUN

Syllabus (Last Modified: July 28, 2004)
CSI769-001/PHYS590-001   Solar Atmosphere

permission of instructor.

Credits: 3

At the center of our solar system is a magnetically active variable star. The Earth sits in its extended atmosphere . Its behavior has significant impact for life and technology system on Earth and in near-Earth space. The objectives of this course are to give the student an understanding of how the Sun works, what we know and are learning about the Sun, and how solar variability affects human activity. We will cover the various important physical processes operating in the Sun, and use state-of-the-art observations of the solar atmosphere, some in real time, to illustrate these processes. We will also discuss the effects of solar activity on the space environment. This course is generally related to the areas of astronomy, space science and space technology.

Jie  Zhang
Room 111, S&T1
Art Poland
         DKH 1012C

George Withbroe
         DKH 1012B

The course meets:

  • Date:   Wednesdays
  • Time:   4:30 PM to 7:10 PM
  • Place: Innovation Hall 338, Fairfax Campus
  • Introduction/Overview : Integrated Sun-Heliosphere-Earth system, Some Basics about the Sun
  • Principles of Spectroscopy, Spectrum, Atomic Model, Emission, Absorption, Radiation Transfer
  • Missions and Instrumentation
  • Solar Magnetic Field, Solar Cycle and Solar Dynamo
  • Lower Atmosphere: Photosphere, Chromosphere, and Transition Region
  • Corona: Large Scale Coronal Structure and Coronal Loop Dynamics
  • Corona: Coronal Plasma Properties, MHD equations 
  • Corona: Ideal MHD, MHD Waves, Coronal  Heating
  • Solar Activity: Solar Flare
  • Solar Activity: Filament Eruption
  • Solar Activity: Coronal Mass Ejection
  • Solar Activity: Solar Energetic Particle
  • Sun-Earth Connection: Solar Wind and Interplanetary Magnetic Field
  • Space Weather: Geo-space Effects of Solar Activities

Homework: 6 -- 8

Projects: 1-- 2

1 midterm and final

             Homework (25%), Projects (25%), midterm (20%), Final (30%)

Text Book:      
             The Solar Corona,   by Leon Golub and Jay M. Pasachoff,  © Cambridge University Press 1997

Supplement Reference Books:

  • The Sun from Space, Kenneth R. Lang, 2000
  • The Solar Atmosphere, Harold Zirin, 1966
  • Eruptive Solar Flares, Edited by Z. Svestka, B.J. Jackson, M.E. Machado, 1991
  • The Many Faces of the Sun, Edited by K.T. Strong, J.L.R. Saba, B.M. Haisch, J.T.Schmelz, 1998
  • Coronal Mass Ejections, Edited by N. Crooker, J.A. Joselyn, J. Feynman, 1997
  • Solar Activity and Earth's Climate, R.E. Benestad, 2002