Beyond Flatland: A Star of Many Dimensions

Event Details
Event Date
Speaker Name/Affiliation
Sarah Gibson / High Altitude Observatory
Seminar Type/Subject
Event Details & Abstracts

The more we have learned about the Sun, the more we can appreciate its essential complexity. Telescopes confirmed it was not an unblemished sphere. Multi-wavelength observations revealed its structured atmosphere, and ever-higher resolution exposed its spectacular dynamics. Helioseismology penetrated its depths, and STEREO views gave us our first three-dimensional perspective. With the upcoming Solar Orbiter mission we will finally leave our ecliptic viewpoint behind and see the Sun from high latitudes. What will we see?

And what would we see if future missions could dwell at near-polar vantages? Such a synoptic solar polar view could resolve outstanding questions about the solar dynamo by observing high-latitude magnetic structures and flows. It could also disambiguate the boundary on the global heliospheric magnetic field, and reveal the longitudinal structure and dynamic evolution of essentially all Earth- and planet-directed transients in the ecliptic plane. The science enabled by such viewpoints is thus broad and deep, with potential both to finally fill known gaps in our understanding and to reveal hitherto undiscovered aspects of the Sun and heliosphere.