• Solar Physics

    Universe of stars

The Sun, our closest star, is the geometrical and gravitational centre of our Solar System - it provides all the light, heat and energy that is required for life here on Earth. The influence of the Sun extends over a vast region, called the Heliosphere, which includes the solar system planets. Due to the Sun being so near (150 million km, which in astronomical terms is tiny!) we can observe it in immense detail. It is also very important to understand how this celestial object interacts with our planet. The research carried out by the solar group focusses on studying the Sun and how the Sun's activity affects the Earth. The Solar Physics group is part of the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute.

Expertise and Subject Areas

The solar physics group are carrying out international research on the Sun’s atmosphere and its impact on the solar system including the Earth.

Our scientific interests include:

  • Dynamics of sunspots
  • Magnetic structure of the solar atmosphere
  • Heating of the solar corona
  • Solar flares and coronal mass ejections
  • Solar energetic particles and their effects on space weather.

Our research makes use of:

  • Space-based observations from satellites including SDO, STEREO and Hinode
  • High resolution imaging of the solar corona from sounding rocket missions including Hi-C
  • Sophisticated computer simulations of the Sun’s corona 
  • Simulations of solar energetic particle propagation using High Performance Computing.

We are involved in a number of international projects including:

  • Hi-C, provision of hardware and expertise via a NASA Space Act Agreement
  • COMESEP, EU FP7 funded project developing a Space Weather Alert System
  • UCLAN SDO data archive, the UK’s only repository for SDO data
  • STEREO HI calibration


Publication information available on the Jeremiah Horrocks institute website.

Courses and Postgraduate Study

Opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate study (PhD and MSc by Research) are described in the JHI website. Visit the study astronomy website for more information on distance learning courses.

Additional Information

Further information can be found at the JHI website.

Related research groupings

School of Physical Sciences and Computing

Stellar Astrophysics

Extragalactic Astrophysics

High Performance Computing Advanced Visualisation Facility