SAO HEA/SSP Solar Physics REU Program:

The application page is now online!

Applications are due Feb 15, 2018


In the Summer of 2018 scientists from the Solar and Stellar X-Ray Group (SSXG) and the Solar, Stellar, and Planetary Group (SSP) at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) will host undergraduate students from around the US. For 10 weeks these students will participate in cutting edge astronomical research about the Sun and the heliosphere, and learn the skills necessary for a successful scientific career. Projects range from data analysis to computer modeling to instrument building. Special seminars will be held to increase students' public speaking and computer programming skills. Students will learn from experience about scientific research and how to apply their academic work to real-world problems. Of course, some time will be devoted to exploring Cambridge, MA and the surrounding area.


  • Provide a high-quality research experience for students.
  • Foster participation by women and underrepresented minorities in scientific research.
  • Accomplish state-of-the-art solar research.
  • Develop independence, creativity, and interest for possible physics and astronomy graduate study.
  • Demonstrate how academic knowledge acquired in classes applies to real-world research problems.
  • Strengthen practical skills in data analysis, computer programming, theory, numerical modeling, laboratory techniques, and communication.
  • Develop competence and confidence in presenting scientific results in a public forum.


The 2018 Solar Intern Program will be June 3 - August 11, 2018.

Programmatic Information:

Housing is provided to the students free of charge in a dormitory room nearby the CfA. Travel from the student's university or home city to Boston is also provided. The stipend for the summer is $5000. The student must be available for the entire 10 weeks of the program. Travel allowances are also provided to students to present their summer research at the Fall AGU meeting or the Winter AAS meeting.

Student Eligibility:

Participants must be undergraduate students enrolled in a degree program (part-time or full-time), preferably finishing their sophomore or junior years. Applications from traditionally underrepresented groups are encouraged. The program is limited to US citizens or green card holders, and students 18 years of age or older. Harvard College students are not eligible (but they are encouraged to contact us about other research opportunities during the school year).

Program coordinator Trae Winter (center) with SAO Solar REU Class of 2015

SAO Solar REU Class of 2016


The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is an umbrella organization for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) and the Harvard College Observatory (HCO). The CfA is arguably the largest and most diverse astrophysical institution in the world. A broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics, earth and space sciences is carried out by a highly diversified staff. The CfA is the center of pioneering efforts in the development of orbiting observatories, large ground-based telescopes, the application of computers to astrophysical problems, and the integration of laboratory measurements, theoretical astrophysics, and observations across the electromagnetic spectrum.

Located a short walk away from the main Harvard campus and the famous Harvard Square, CfA is close to restaurants, shopping, and museums. The abundance of public transportation makes travel around the Cambridge and Boston areas a snap.


Intern and mentor funding provided by NASA and the National Science Foundation.

Image Image

Caption: Two full disk images taken by the X-Ray Telescope aboard Hinode are taken one solar rotation apart. In the center of the left hand image are NOAA active regions 10931 and 10932. A rotation later the active regions have disappeared, but their effect is still noticeable in the long quiet sun loops.


Section Photo