The changing Sun
Museum scientists are studying data from ground and satellite-based instruments to better understand current solar activity. This data complements meteorite geochemistry, geological proxy data and historical observations in the interpretation of climate change.
Scientists Prof Ken Phillips and Dr Claudio Vita-Finzi are studying:
- extreme ultraviolet wavelength data obtained from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Solar Dynamics Observatory
- X-ray wavelength data from a variety of NASA, European Space Agency (ESA) and Russian spacecraft
Historical observations of solar behaviour and geomagnetism complement the analysis of spacecraft data.
Spectroscopic data is used to determine element abundances, which are then compared to meteoritic values.
Our knowledge of solar history is derived from:
- meteorite geochemistry
- geological proxy data
- historical observations
Historical observations of solar behaviour, geomagnetism and other complementary sources are summarised in Solar History: An Introduction (Springer 2010).