Thursday, March 24, 2016

Implementing AIA response functions in SunPy 


Project Abstract:

Solar physics uses the CHIANTI atomic physics database to obtain properties about various elements and ionisation states. By using observed elemental abundances and ionization states, one can use CHIANTI to obtain synthetic spectra of solar plasma of various features which informs a response function used by the observational instruments themselves. This response function is vital to understanding observations.

The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) is a multi-wavelength imager on the Solar Dynamics Observatory, specifically looking at the solar corona to understand magnetic processes.

This project aims to use SunPy to infer plasma properties like temperature and density by
developing the routines necessary to calculate two response functions for the AIA using python and ChiantiPy:
  • Wavelength response functions: calculate the amount of flux per wavelength measured by AIA
  • Temperature response functions: calculate the sensitivity of light from the plasma per temperature measured by AIA

Why am I interested?

My goal is to explore the connection between what we observe on the sun (heliophysics) and how it relates to what we see in other stars (astrophysics). My current research has been looking at visual wavelength range spectra for stellar objects such as M Dwarfs, K Giants, and eclipsing binaries. I would like to use this summer to expand my knowledge on solar observations, and the modules and vernacular that come with solar research.


I'm excited to learn about ChiantiPy,  the python interface for astrophysical spectroscopy using the atomic database  CHIANTI. I've observed spectra before, but this project is all about understanding observations by the AIA through python code. This project also wants to get away from using SolarSoftWare (SSW), an idl libray, to calculate these response data structures.  


 In reading Boerner et al 2012, I'm learning that the response functions need to use instrument calibration to better the results. The main idea for this project is to analyse the AIA  instrument responses to output a wavelength response, and then use a spectral model to obtain a temperature response.  Now back to work on my proposal! 



Source of SunPy project idea

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