Sarah Gibson

Origins of the Ambient Solar Wind: Implication for Space Weather

Carrington rotation stack plots
Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Sun’s outer atmosphere is heated to temperatures of millions of degrees, and solar plasma flows out into interplanetary space at supersonic speeds. This paper reviews our current understanding of these interrelated problems: coronal heating and the acceleration of the ambient solar wind.

Frontiers eBook on Coronal Magnetometry now available for free download


Magnetism defines the complex and dynamic solar corona. It determines the magnetic loop structure that dominates images of the corona, and stores the energy necessary to drive coronal eruptive phenomena and flare explosions.

Magnetic Nulls and Super-radial Expansion in the Solar Corona

Coronal pseudostreamer magnetic topology
Monday, May 1, 2017

Magnetic fields in the sun's outer atmosphere, the corona, control both solar-wind acceleration and the dynamics of solar eruptions.

Beyond sunspots: Studies using the McIntosh Archive of global solar magnetic

Thursday, December 15, 2016

In 1964 (Solar Cycle 20; SC 20), Patrick McIntosh began creating hand-drawn synoptic maps of solar magnetic features, based on H-alpha images.

Catalogue of MLSO/MK4 White Light Cavities

Determining the state of the corona prior to coronal mass ejections (CMEs) is crucial to understanding and ultimately predicting solar eruptions. A common and compelling feature of CMEs is their three-part morphology as seen in white light observations of a bright expanding loop, followed by a relatively dark cavity, and lastly a bright core associated with an erupting prominence/filament.

Here is a catalogue providing detailed analysis of 98 white light cavities observed by MLSO's Mk4 coronameter:

CME Initiation, Evolution, and Interplanetary Consequences

HAO scientists have carried out 3D isothermal MHD simulations of the evolution of the large scale coronal magnetic field as a twisted magnetic flux tube is driven (slowly) through the lower boundary into a pre-existing coronal arcade field.

Data-Optimized Coronal Field Model (DOCFM)

DOCFM is an NCAR/CfA collaboration that is funded by AFOSR to model the global coronal magnetic field using magnetometric and other observations, with the goal of improving space weather forecasts of magnetic orientation within coronal mass ejections.

Sarah Gibson

Dr. Sarah Gibson is a Senior Scientist in the High Altitude Observatory (HAO) at NCAR, and Section Head of HAO’s Long-term Solar Variability Section.

Is space weather a thing? Sarah Gibson explains

Collage image for space weather

Just as a hurricane drives rain, wind, and floods, the space weather arising from a solar eruption can come in different forms. First comes the light from a solar flare, disrupting high-frequency radio communications at the Earth more or less immediately (eight minutes after leaving the Sun).

Geomagnetic detection of the sectorial solar magnetic field and the historical peculiarity of minimum 23–24

Stackplot of solar-terrestrial data image
Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Recent work on historical recurrent geomagnetic activity and the peculiarity of the recent solar-cycle minimum, was chosen by the editors of AGU journals for special highlight.


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