CU Boulder Assistant Professor Maria Kazachenko was selected as one of the recipients of the NASA Heliophysics Early Career Investigator Award. The Early Career Investigator Program (ECIP) is designed to support outstanding scientific research and career development of scientists and engineers at the early stages of their professional careers. This program aims to encourage innovative research initiatives and cultivate diverse scientific leadership in heliophysics.
Large solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that produce the most severe space weather disturbances encompass beautiful yet enigmatic phenomena. It is known that electric currents flowing through the solar corona play key role in determining when and where these magnetically-driven events occur.
Unfortunately, these currents cannot be measured directly. Consequently, modeling of the magnetic field in the corona is essential for the study of the origin and structure of coronal currents.
Maria's work will quantify, in a most realistic way, the causes and consequences of solar eruptive events. To achieve this goal, she will use state-of-the-art data-driven numerical magnetohydrodynamic simulations of observed eruptive active regions and associated CMEs and observations of the photospheric vector magnetic fields as input.
"Understanding the role that photospheric magnetic fields play in the development of coronal currents and the structure and evolution of these currents can advance our knowledge of solar eruptions. Now is an ideal time to pursue data-driven modeling efforts, since several limitations in both observations and models have recently been overcome."
Furthermore, Maria's work will provide important insight into realistic dynamic magnetic environment that leads to solar flares and CMEs, a crucial step towards eruptions prediction.