mountain profile Institute for Astronomy University of Hawaii

Recent IfA Graduate Finds “Cool” Gas May Form and Strengthen Sunspots


Hydrogen molecules may act as a kind of energy sink that strengthens the magnetic grip that causes sunspots, according to scientists from Hawaii and New Mexico.

“We think that molecular hydrogen plays an important role in the formation and evolution of sunspots,” said Dr. Sarah Jaeggli, a recent UH Manoa/IfA graduate whose doctoral research formed a key element of the new findings. She conducted the research with Drs. Haosheng Lin, also from the UH Manoa/'IfA, and Han Uitenbroek of the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Sunspot, New Mexico.

They used the new Facility Infrared Spectropolarimeter (FIRS) designed by Lin and built at IfA, as well as the older the older Horizontal Spectrograph, on the Dunn Solar Telescope at Sunspot, New Mexico.