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  Instabilities in Solar Prominences (Advert Ref: FAC16/EE/SCULLION)

   Faculty of Engineering and Environment

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  Dr Eamon Scullion  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Prominences and their on-disk counterpart (filaments) constitute the largest structures close to the surface of the Sun. They contain a relatively dense hydrogen dominated plasma and they become suspended above the solar surface by a complicated magnetic field. They can erupt suddenly and impact upon the Earth’s magnetosphere leading to space weather phenomena. What triggers this eruption remains unclear. It is thought that magneto- hydrodynamic instabilities (such as the Kelvin-Helmholtz, magnetic Rayleigh-Taylor, vortices) play an important role in prominence/filament dynamics.

This PhD project will investigate prominence instabilities, life-cycles and connectivity using observations at the highest resolution from international, ground-based solar telescope facilities. The PhD project will also involve the application of advanced 3D numerical MagnetoHydroDynamic (MHD) simulations for further understanding of the onset of plasma instabilities in prominences.

It is expected that the student has either a degree in Mathematics and/or Physics. Experience with coding in a scientific language (e.g., C, C+, IDL, Python) will be looked upon favourably. The PhD project will be a three-year joint venture between Northumbria University (Newcastle, UK), Armagh Observatory (Northern Ireland) and the IAC (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Canary Islands, Spain). The candidate will spend the majority of their time at Northumbria University and part of the project will be spent at the other institutes.

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
- Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
- Appropriate IELTS score, if required

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please ensure you quote the advert reference above on your application form.

Deadline for applications: 22 July 2016

Start date: 03 October 2016

Northumbria University is an equal opportunities provider and in welcoming applications for studentships from all sectors of the community we strongly encourage applications from women and under-represented groups.


Wedemeyer, S., Scullion, E. et al. (2013), Are Giant Tornadoes the Legs of Solar Prominences?

Astrophysical Journal, 774, 123

Where will I study?

 About the Project