The High Altitude Observatory (HAO), through its collaboration with scientists and scientific organizations around the world is recognized as one of the premier authorities of Sun and Sun-Earth studies.
Tightly integrated activities between HAO's three Scientific Sections and HAO's Instrumentation Group (engineering team) strengthen its core program, and in turn yield a variety of exciting results in the scientific exploration of the Sun and the influences it exerts on the terrestrial atmosphere and climate.
We invite you to browse through these links for more in depth information on each of our scientific sections and the various projects and research underway at the High Altitude Observatory.
Atmosphere, Ionosphere & Magnetosphere (AIM)
The Atmosphere, Ionosphere, and Magnetosphere section of HAO studies the structure and dynamics of the Earth's mesosphere, thermosphere, ionosphere, and magnetosphere; their response to variable solar radiative and particulate emissions; their coupling with the lower atmosphere; and related planetary phenomena. The section carries out its mission by developing and utilizing simulation models of physical and chemical processes, by carrying out observational programs, by interpreting model results and observations jointly, and by providing information and data services to the scientific community. Read More »
Image summarizing the main features of the ionosphere/plasmasphere.
Long-term Solar Variability (LSV)
The long-term variability of solar magnetism is a key driver of the Earth's climate system and space environment. The goal of the LSV section is to understand long-term solar variability from the Sun's interior out to the heliosphere and in the broader context of other stellar systems. We consider solar magnetic minima, times of low solar activity and simple heliospheric structure that enable an interdisciplinary, system-wide view on the origins and impacts of solar cycle variation. We study the ultimate origins of solar variability in the solar dynamo, and analyze the roles and origins of differential rotation, meridional flows, and turbulent thermal convection. We strive to understand the process of magnetic flux emergence through the solar convection zone, in order to link observed magnetic activities at the surface (such as sunspots) to the dynamo-generated magnetic fields in the interior. We analyze the ongoing evolution of the magnetic field in the Sun's atmosphere, which shapes the global coronal and heliospheric magnetic field, and slowly builds up energy in twisted magnetic fields as evidenced by coronal prominences and their cavities. Finally, by observing magnetic activity cycles in other stars and studying the properties of their internal structure and rotation, we gain insight into the Sun's magnetic cycle and evolution. Read More »
Solar Transients and Space Weather (STSW)
The Sun's ubiquitous magnetism is formed in the solar interior. Relentlessly, magnetic flux rises through the star's convective layers and pierces the photosphere at almost all spatial scales to mould the structures of the Sun's outer atmosphere. In addition, the blend of convective motion and magnetism provide an almost endless reservoir of energy to supply the solar corona and wind, as well as a host of impulsive events such as flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). HAO's Solar Transients and (the Origins of) Space Weather research section, or STSW, is dedicated to understanding the processes that establish the (magnetism-governed) flow of mass and energy through the outer atmosphere that give rise to the radiative and particulate output which bathes the solar system. We study these processes using a blend of observation, theory, and numerical simulation, developing cutting edge concepts in each area to understand the short-term variability of our relentless star.
Facilities (Read More »)