Polar Perspectives 2018 - Boulder, Colorado

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 to Thursday, September 27, 2018


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U-Tube link for recorded scientific presentations.


Workshop Charge: To explore the scientific breakthroughs made possible by repeated or sustained observations of the Sun’s polar regions, and to consider the technologies and orbital dynamics required to achieve measurements at the desired vantages.

Workshop Objective: Develop a science portfolio for a solar polar mission, present and discuss options on a baseline, and extended, suite of instrumentation, and develop a number of conceptual orbits available with existing launch capacity.

Workshop Motivation: For the first time in human history, our technology allows us to observe all longitudes of the solar atmosphere. The combined imaging data from SOHO, STEREO, and SDO have demonstrated some of the rotationally driven processes on our Star. They present a tantalizing glimpse of the Sun’s polar evolution when the data are pieced together, despite limitations arising the fact that all of these spacecraft are observing the poles from vantages close to the ecliptic plane. For decades, observations of high solar latitudes have been used as critical precursor input for predictions of decadal-scale solar activity. Many solar high-latitude phenomena -- including polar coronal holes, polar crown filaments, and the Sun’s torsional oscillations -- indicate a limiting latitude around 55 degrees (in each hemisphere) that apparently divides high- vs. low-latitude dynamical evolution. A polar view would directly reveal the Sun’s global-scale dynamics, investigate the sources of the fast solar wind, and witness the full lifetime of structures in the solar atmosphere from birth to death, including a Sun-to-Earth view of coronal mass ejections.

In this workshop we will take inventory of the science that might be accomplished by a solar polar mission. We will discuss mission architecture, maturity of required compact instrumentation, and technological limitations placed on any concept mission by currently available launch capacity and/or spacecraft propulsion systems. 

An important precedent was set by the Ulysses mission, which obtained groundbreaking polar in-situ observations. Beyond this, numerous feasibility investigations of solar polar missions have already been undertaken. A key element of the workshop will be to capture the “lessons learned” from these past activities and to use them to effectively move forward in designing future solar polar missions.


Invited Speakers

Tom Berger, CU Boulder

Aaron Birch, Max Planck Inst. for Solar System Research

Bob Ergun, CU Boulder/LASP

Don Hassler, SwRI

Carl Henney, AFRL

Neil Hurlburt, LMATC

Paulett Liewer, JPL/California Institute of Technology

Charles Lindsey, NWRA

Jeff Newmark, NASA/GRC

Gordon Petrie, NSO

Vic Pizzo, NOAA

Nour-Eddine Raoufi, JHUAPL

Pete Riley, Predictive Science Inc.

Karel Schrijver, LMATC

Leif Svaalgard, Stanford University

Lisa Upton, NCAR/HAO

Maria Weber, University of Chicago



Scott McIntosh (NCAR / HAO)

Sarah Gibson (NCAR / HAO)

Craig DeForest (SWRI)

Marco Velli (UCLA)

Les Johnson (NASA / MSFC)

Justin Kasper (Harvard CfA)

Michael Thompson (NCAR)



Thierry Appourchaux, Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale

Carrie Black, NSF

Douglas Braun, NWRA

Amir Caspi, SwRI

Curt de Koning, CU Boulder / CIRES-SWPC

Nicole Duncan, Ball Aerospace

Heather Elliott, SwRI

Chris "Gilly" Gibson, LASP / CU

Stuart Gilchrist, NWRA

Sanjay Gosain, National Solar Observatory

Stuart Jeffries, Georgia State University

Michael Kirk, NASA GSFC / Catholic University of America

Rudolf Komm, NSO

Robert Leamon, University of Maryland / NASA GSFC

Robert Loper, Air Force Institute of Technology

Chris Lowder, SwRI

Chip Manchester, University of Michigan

Dave Manzella, NASA

Nariaki Nitta, LMATC

W. Dean Pesnell, NASA / GSFC

Arakel Petrosyan, Russian Academy of Sciences


Marty Snow, CU Boulder / LASP

Jeffrey Van Cleve, Ball Aerospace

Martin Woodard, NWRA

Junwei Zhao, W.W. Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, Stanford University