NJIT Physics Department Seminar


March 9th, Monday


Why is the Solar Corona So Hot?


Dr. James A. Klimchuk

Heliophysics Division

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

(Solar Physics, Host: Gary)


Time: 11:45am-12:45pm with 11:30am tea time

Room: ECE 202



          The outer atmosphere of the Sun, called the corona, has a temperature of several million degrees, 1000 times hotter than the underlying solar surface. The reason for these extreme conditions has challenged space scientists for decades. Recent progress indicates that the heating involves nanoflares, which are small outbursts that release energy from the stressed magnetic fields that permeate the corona. Finding the answer to the coronal heating problem is more than just a fascinating intellectual exercise. X-ray and UV radiation from the corona is an important driver of the Earth’s upper atmosphere and can adversely affect many of our space-based technologies. In this talk, I will discuss the latest observational and theoretical advances in our quest to understand coronal heating and its role in space weather.



James Klimchuk is a research astrophysicist in the Heliophysics Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He uses both observation and theory to study the structure, dynamics, and heating of the Sun's outer atmosphere. Dr. Klimchuk has held numerous elected and appointed leadership positions, including President of the Space Physics and Aeronomy Section of the American Geophysical Union, Chair of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society, and President of Commission 10 of the International Astronomical Union.  He currently chairs the committee that advises NASA on solar and heliospheric physics. Dr. Klimchuk is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and recipient of NASA's John C. Lindsay Award and Outstanding Leadership Medal. He earned a BA in Physics from Kalamazoo College and a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Colorado.  He worked at Stanford University and the Naval Research Laboratory before joining NASA.