In my primary experimental research project, I will lead the SSAXI-Rocket mission, probing the properties of a large solar flare by engineering and deploying new camera detector technology aboard a NASA sounding rocket. This research effort will generate first, unsaturated images of a large class solar flare in the soft x-ray, uncovering the bright, dynamic structure that current detectors are unable to see. By providing this new window to the 2024 Flare Campaign, my work will be crucial in generating the most comprehensive multi-wavelength and multi-messenger dataset on a solar flare.
Through theoretical cross-training, I will prepare to make meaning from this exciting new dataset. Using magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations, I will map how energy flows from solar flares to coronal mass ejections. I will publish MHD simulations of a large solar flare, analyzing energy transfer in this and pre-existing simulations of smaller flares. Equipped with a mechanistic understanding of flare physics developed through theory cross training, I will compute the observable signal from my simulated solar flares for instruments in the Flare Campaign. I will lead the first analysis of this revolutionary dataset enabled by SSAXI-Rocket in the last year of my PhD. Comparing simulation outcome (where the physics is known and coded in) to direct observation, I will generate insight on the physical mechanism and dynamic plasma processes behind large solar eruptive events.
For the duration of the grant, the Fellow will have a doctoral advisor (Christopher Moore) at the legal organization (President and Fellows of Harvard College) and a cross-discipline advisor (Katharine Reeves) at the same organization (President and Fellows of Harvard College).