Meeting Information

The Secret Lives of Solar Prominences

June 15, 2016
The American Center for Physics
College Park, MD

Date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Speaker: Holly Gilbert, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Topic: The Secret Lives of Solar Prominences

Time and Location: 1:00 p.m., with Q&A to follow; in a 1st floor conference room at the American Center for Physics (, 1 Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD - off River Rd., between Kenilworth Ave. and Paint Branch Parkway.

Abstract: Solar prominences are large impressive loop-like structures suspended above the solar surface that provide a glimpse into the magnetic environment that supports them. Although these structures have been studied for decades, scientists still struggle to fully understand every aspect of their lifecycle: formation, dynamic behavior during existence, and eruption. After existing for days or weeks, prominences exhibit a range of eruptive-like dynamic activity, ranging from the full or partial eruption of the partially ionized mass and surrounding magnetic structure as a coronal mass ejection (CME), to a fully confined dynamic evolution or ‘failed’ eruption. I’ll discuss research in the prominence lifecycle and how the synergy between observations and modeling is driving prominence research. I will highlight the importance of missions like SOHO, SDO, and STEREO which have provided a wealth of data allowing scientists to investigate the magnetic nature of prominences and how they are connected with other dynamic activity in the surrounding atmosphere (e.g., CMEs).

Biography: Dr. Holly Gilbert is Deputy Division Director of the Heliophysics Science Division (HSD) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. She arrived at Goddard in 2008 as the HSD Associate Director for Science and prior to becoming Deputy Division Director, she was Chief of the Solar Physics Laboratory. She obtained a BS in physics from the University of Colorado, Boulder and her PhD in theoretical astrophysics from the University of Oslo in Norway. Prior to joining NASA, Holly was a Research Scientist at Rice University and an Associate Scientist at the High Altitude Observatory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.