LAS February Meeting - "The flares of Proxima Centauri" by Dr. Adam Kowalski

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Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 7:00pm

Presentation "The flares of Proxima Centauri"

by Dr. Adam Kowalski (CU/NSO)


An Earth-mass planet was recently discovered in the habitable zone of the next nearest star Proxima Centauri.  However, this star has long been known for its explosive and frequent flaring.  I will introduce the fundamental physical processes in flares and show recent ultraviolet observations of this star, which produced more than fifteen flares in eight hours.  I will compare to flares on the Sun and discuss the implications for the habitability of the newly discovered planet around Proxima Centauri.

In August 2016, I joined the National Solar Observatory and the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences as Assistant Professor.  My research interests are solar and stellar astrophysics with a specialization in spectroscopy of optical and ultraviolet emission in stellar flares.  I use state-of-the-art modeling codes combined with analysis of data from ground and space-based observatories (such as Hubble, IRIS, and the APO ARC 3.5m) to understand how the lower, dense stellar atmosphere (chromosphere and photosphere) is heated in response to the sudden release of magnetic energy during flares.  I am also interested in developing new media for the dissemination of scientific results to the public and in establishing collaborations across disciplines.


The meeting will be at the IHOP Restaurant, 2040 Ken Pratt Boulevard, Longmont. Please join us for coffee, dinner, or just desert around 6 pm; the general meeting and presentation will begin at 7 pm