On field lines in the solar atmosphere
Tom Schad



Advanced spectropolarimetric techniques based on non-equilibrium atomic physics may be our best hope to understand the formation and evolution of stellar chromospheres and coronae. While these ubiquitous phenomena of active stars are generally agreed to be the by-product of convection-generated magnetic stresses, the nature of the transport, dissipation, and sometimes eruptive behavior of this mechanical energy is not well constrained by observations nor uniquely identified by models. Among the challenges is the severe lack of information regarding the upper atmosphere’s magnetic field structure. Recent modeling efforts have pointed to a complex relationship between observed thermal structures and individualized lines of magnetic force, which undermine many of our deeply held convictions about the solar atmosphere. In this talk I will demonstrate new spectropolarimetric measures of chromospheric and coronal magnetic fields inferred from atomic-level polarization. The results show the first vectorial comparison between magnetic field measures and resolved fine-scaled features in the outer atmosphere. In congress with novel instrumentation being developed by the IfA for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST), such measurements represent a new frontier of solar/stellar physics and will play an essential role in our understanding of active stellar atmospheres.