Date of Award

3-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Physics

Department

Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Robert D. Loper, PhD

Abstract

Solar flare forecasting is limited by the current understanding of mechanisms that govern magnetic reconnection, the main physical phenomenon associated with these events. As a result, forecasting relies mainly on climatological correlations to historical events rather than the underlying physics principles. Solar physics models place the neutral point of the reconnection event in the solar corona. Correspondingly, studies of photospheric magnetic fields indicate changes during solar flares -- particularly in relation to the field helicity -- on the solar surface as a result of the associated magnetic reconnection. This study utilizes data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) and SpaceWeather HMI Active Region Patches (SHARPs) to analyze full vector- field component data of the photospheric magnetic field during solar flares within a large HMI dataset (May 2010 through September 2019). This analysis is then used to identify and compare trends in the di erent categories of flare strengths and determine indications of the physical phenomena taking place.

AFIT Designator

AFIT-ENP-MS-20-M-121

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