Jason Byrne, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Research interests include:
  • Solar & heliophysics
  • Coronal mass ejections
  • Mathematical methods
  • Image processing
  • Data science
  • Statistics

Jason earned a B.A.(Mod) in Theoretical Physics, Dip. in Statistics, and Ph.D. in Physics from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, before joining the Institute for Astronomy, Hawaii, in 2011 as a postdoctoral research fellow. His work is funded predominantly by grants from NSF and NASA.

Academic CV  |  One-page CV (PDF)
Publications list (ADS)



CME Initiation Phase


Studying the initiation phase of CMEs using the PROBA2/SWAP imager in combination with other space-based and ground-based instruments; namely MLSO/Mk4, SOHO/LASCO and SDO/AIA. This work was born out of a Guest Investigator proposal with the PROBA2 team at the Royal Observatory in Belgium.

My Contribution:

  • Multi-instrument event tracking: AIA, EUVI, SWAP, Mk4 & LASCO
  • IDL; image processing
  • Multiscale methods
  • CME theory
Publication:  Byrne et al., Solar Physics (2014)

Determining Kinematics


Determining the kinematics of propagating phenomena, such as CMEs and coronal waves, can be difficult to achieve with accuracy and rigour. Often the sampling cadence is low and the measurements prone to errors, uncertainties or biases. Improved methods of determining kinematics were investigated, and the drawbacks and caveats of traditional methods and alternatives discussed and tested.

My Contribution:

  • Statistical sampling methods
  • Error propagation & simulation
  • Bootstrapping techniques
Publication:  Byrne et al., A&A (2013)

Automated CME Detection


A new coronal image processing package (CORIMP) was developed to overcome drawbacks of traditional image processing techniques and current CME catalogs. It works by first employing a dynamic background separation technique, and then characterise CME structure using a multiscale filtering technique. This proves highly useful for determining a wealth of CME parameters (e.g., onset time, speed, trajectory). Online LASCO detection movie here and STEREO movie here.

My Contribution:

  • Image processing
  • Data analysis; clustering
  • IDL; autonomous codes
Publication:  Byrne et al., ApJ (2012)

3D Earth-directed CME


A new 'elliptical tie-pointing' technique was developed for performing 3D reconstructions of CMEs with STEREO data. This enabled a quantification of the 'true' CME front morphology and kinematics of an Earth-directed event on 12 Dec. 2008; notably its deflected trajectory, increasing angular width, and aerodynamic drag in the solar wind. SECCHI movie here and 3D CME movie here.

My Contribution:

  • Development & implementation of 'elliptical tie-pointing' technique
  • Mathematical methods & coding
  • CME theory & modeling (w/ENLIL)
Publication:  Byrne et al., Nat. Commun. (2010)

Fast CME Workflow


As part of the HELIO-CDAW4 it was intended to produce a workflow that would run the SHEBA CME propagation model for a large number of events and produce predictions on their ETA at various points in the heliosphere. A working group designed and began developing the necessary parts of the workflow, including CME catalog inspections, flare and type II shock association, and solar wind speed determination.

My Contribution:

  • HELIO-CDAW working group leader
  • Concept & workflow design
  • Final report & presentation
Publication: Pierantoni et al. (in press)



Quasiperiodic acceleration of electrons is found to occur in the shock driven by a CME and coronal wave on the Sun. This relationship is not well understood, and indicates an effect consistent with a turbulent or rippled plasma shock surface in the solar atmosphere.

My Contribution:

  • Extend 'elliptical tie-pointing' for SOHO & STEREO
  • 3D CME + shock reconstruction
  • IDL; image processing
Publication:  Carley et al., Nat. Phys. (2013)

Multiscale Methods


Multiscale methods of image processing are applied to coronagraph observations to enhance the visibility of the faint CMEs. This enables an ellipse characterization of the CME fronts, that is used to objectively study the changing morphology and kinematics of a sample of events imaged by SOHO/LASCO.

My Contribution:

  • Multiscale methods; wavelets
  • Image processing
  • CME theory
Publication:  Byrne et al., A&A (2009)

Wavelets, Curvelets & Ridgelets


The use of mutiscale methods of image processing is demonstrated on coronagraph images for highlighting CME structure. Wavelets are used as localised filters to enhance details on a particular scale in the image. A possible extension to curevelets and ridgelets is shown here, as a method to overcome limitations on traditional image processing techniques, of use in space weather monitoring.

My Contribution:

  • Multiscale research
  • Data testing
  • IDL & Matlab coding
Publication:  Gallagher et al., ASR (2011)

Atuomated Solar Feature Detection


Book chapter written to highlight the advances of new image processing techniques developed for solar feature detection in the context of space weather. This type of work is expecially important with newer missions like SDO producing large qauntities of image data (>1.5 TB/day). In particular the detections of active regions, coronal holes, filaments, CMEs and coronal dimmings were reviewed.

My Contribution:

  • CME detections
  • IDL/Matlab image processing
Publication: Pérez-Suárez et al., (IGI Global; 2011)
Inspecting the initiation phase of a "two-stage" solar eruptive event.

Solar Physics, Springer
Improved methods for determining kinematics of CMEs & coronal waves

Astronomy & Astrophysics
Automatic detection & tracking of CMEs

Astrophysical Journal
Propagation of an Earth-directed CME in three dimensions

Nature Communications
A Workflow-Oriented Approach to Propagation Models in Heliophysics

Computer Science
Quasiperiodic acceleration of electrons by a plasmoid-driven shock

Nature Physics
The kinematics of CMEs using multiscale methods

Astronomy & Astrophysics
Coronal mass ejection detection using wavelets, curvelets and ridgelets: Applications for space weather monitoring

Advances in Space Research
Automated Solar Feature Detection for Space Weather Applications

"Applied Signal and Image Processing: Multidisciplinary Advancements"
IGI Global 2011



My Contribution:

  • IDL coding
  • Image processiong
  • Realtime implementation
  • Website design & admin. (HTML)


The CORIMP CME catalog is generated from the automatic detection and tracking of CMEs in images from SOHO/LASCO (with STEREO/SECCHI in development). The catalog utilises advanced image processing techniques to characterize CME structure through a sequence of observations, and thus reveal their changing kinematics and morphology.

Publications: Paper I: Morgan et al. (2012)                          Paper II: Byrne et al. (2012)

Feature Finding Team

My Contribution:

  • Administrator of CME module
  • IDL coding (development of CORIMP)
  • VOevent uploads (XML output)
  • Monthly telecons & annual meeting


The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) Feature Finding Team has operated for five years, developing a wealth of modules designed to automatically detect and/or characterize various aspects of solar phenomena, such as active regions, flares, CMEs, coronal waves, etc. All relevant information is gathered and uploaded to the Heliophysics Event Knowledgebase (HEK):

Involvement: 2011 - 2013

Heliophysics Workflows

My Contribution:

  • Concept & workflow design (Fast CME)
  • HELIO-CDAW working group leader
  • Weekly telecons & annual meetings
www.erflow.eu    www.helio-vo.eu


The goal of ER-flow is to build a European research community through interoperable workflows and data. A component of the effort is directed at the field of heliophysics; building workflows that access various solar data and catalogs, execute queries, run propagation models, return datasets/predictions/images, etc. Many of the efforts of the HELIO team members are now directed towards ER-flow.

Publication: Pierantoni et al. (in press)


  Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii.
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