Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Robert D. Loper, PhD


Forecasting of solar flares remains a challenge due to the limited understanding of the triggering mechanisms associated with magnetic reconnection, the primary physical phenomenon connected to these events. Consequently, methods continue to rely on the climatology of solar flare events as opposed to the underlying physics principles. Models of magnetic reconnection in the solar atmosphere places the null point of the reconnection within the corona. Though as of now the coronal magnetic field cannot be directly measured, the field is tied to the photospheric magnetic field, which can be. This study utilized data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager and Space Weather HMI Active Region Patches to analyze full vector-field component data of the photospheric magnetic field during solar flare events within a near decade long dataset. Analysis of the data was used to compare the trends of differing flare classes for varying time intervals leading up to an event, as well as the trends of flares that occur with and without a precursor flare, in order to discern signatures of the physical mechanisms involved.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number