Investigating the rotation of sunspots with the Solar Dynamics Observatory

Supervisor: Dr Daniel Brown

The aim of this project is to investigate the torsional rotation of sunspots in the solar surface. These rotations, which can last for 10s of days, are an observable consequence of the transfer of magnetic information from the solar interior to the atmosphere. This means that analysis of sunspot rotation can provide information about sub-surface magnetic processes.

The project will use data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) to identify sunspot rotation, and determine the rotation profile of the sunspot and the response in the solar atmosphere (e.g., solar flares, eruptions). SDO provides continuous, high-resolution (in time and space) observations of the solar disk in a range of spectral pass bands that correspond to different layers of the Sun’s surface and atmosphere.

A news item from a conference talk related to this project was covered by the BBC website.