Solar REU Program:
 Title: X-ray Bright Points: Nature or Nurture?

Type of Project: Data analysis

Skills/Interest Required: Interest in physics of solar X-ray emission and magnetic activity. Familiarity with computer programming would be useful but not strictly required.

Mentor: Dr. Steve Saar



X-ray bright points (XBPs) are some of the smallest, seemingly simplest magnetic structures on the Sun, and are present almost everywhere, throughout the cycle. With the new Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) instrument on the Solar Dynamics Mission, we can now study XBPs over the entire solar disk at high cadence and spatial resolution, with good temperature diagnostics as well.


We will study differences in how X-ray bright points evolve in time (in size, emission intensity and temperature) depending on the topology of their magnetic environment: whether they are in a coronal hole (i.e. an environment containing vertical background fields), under an active region canopy (roughly horizontal fields), or in the quiet Sun (tangled fields).


Figure 1: Left: Full disk image of the Sun taken during solar minimum with Hinode XRT and the Al-poly filter. Right: Same image analyzed by a (still evolving!) automated region identifier: purple = coronal holes, green = active regions, dark blue = quiet Sun, light blue = X-ray bright points, our targets!


Section Photo