Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Dr. Filwett, also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Iowa, had this to say about her award:

The award is for myself and three Co-I's (located at APL, SwRI, and University of Alabama Huntsville) to investigate the 'seed' particles, also called suprathermal particles. Seed particles are the particles that are accelerated most efficiently in shocks. When coronal mass ejections come off the sun they are often accompanied by shocks, and these shocks pick up the particles hanging around in the near-Sun environment and accelerate them up to high energies. It's not just coronal mass ejections that accelerate particles but other solar wind interaction mechanisms, such as stream interaction regions too. This grant will allow us to look at these suprathermal 'seed' particles, and find out how they behave, and the properties they have as they travel from the near-Sun out past Earth. This behavior and evolution is really important to understand because it will allow us to predict the 'seed' population which is then scooped up by these particle accelerating events. If you can understand the seed particles you can better understand the energetic particles (which are the dangerous ones!). The award is for 4 years, and it part of NASA's Living with a Star organized effort to understand 'The Origin and Consequences of Suprathermal Particles that seed SEPs'. Along with funding my time, there is also funding for an undergraduate student to work with me for 3 summers on this project, which will be a great introduction to space physics.