John Harvey
John Harvey

Although we now know, with great confidence, what makes the Sun shine, there are still many unanswered puzzles about the star at the center of our solar system.

For example, the outer atmosphere of the Sun is far hotter than its surface. Why? The Sun’s magnetic field

in a cycle of about 22 years, but we don’t know how that cycle is maintained. Those cyclic magnetic fields produce the most violent explosions in the solar system, but we don’t know how that energy is stored and released. Can we predict this space weather activity well enough to protect our modern technology infrastructure?

Those questions about the Sun will be tackled by renowned solar astronomer John Harvey at a lecture on Thursday (Nov. 19) at 3:30 p.m. Harvey has spent the last 47 years studying the Sun by building and operating instruments to study its magnetic field and its effect on space weather.

Harvey has led teams to explore the interior structure of the Sun using its surface vibrations (helioseismology) as well as teams to study the Sun’s behavior around the clock by observing the Sun during the South-pole summer.

He is currently an astronomer with the National Solar Observatory, an Instrument Scientist with the Global Oscillation Network Group, and a Project Scientist with the Synoptic Optical Long-term Investigations of the Sun.

Written by Marcia Neugebauer, Academy Village Volunteer

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What We Still Don’t Know About Our Sun: November 2015
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