My academic adventures.
Prominences are condensations of coronal plasma that are supported in the stellar atmosphere by magnetic fields. On stars like the Sun whilst these features can be larger than the planets, they are significantly smaller than the prominences observed on rapidly rotating stars (which are 10-100 times the mass of solar prominences). It is these "slingshot prominences" that I work to model using mathematical techniques.
photo credit: eruptive solar prominence, NASA
MODELLING SLINGSHOT PROMINENCES
My first research paper focused on mathematical modelling of these prominences to predict where they may form around the star. In particular, I focused on the stars AB Doradus and Speedy Mic. The diagram to the right shows the background magnetic field of the star that we used in grey. The blue lines show some of the magnetic loops that we predict could hold slingshot prominences.
The black dashed lines show the "co-rotation radius" of the star, i.e. the place where an object orbiting at this position would stay at the same location above the star's surface, like a geostationary orbit.
The red dashed line shows the radius at which the magnetic field opens out. This models the location at which the magnetic loops are all blown open by the stellar wind (the constant flow of stellar material out from the star). The presence of some of these blue, prominence loops within this open field suggests that these stellar prominences are forming by "magnetic reconnection".