Professor Lucie Green gave an engaging and enlightening lecture entitled ’15 million degrees: A journey towards the centre of the sun’. Professor Green is Professor of Physics and a Royal Society University Research Fellow based at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, a mere 15 minutes’ drive from Cranleigh School.
Showing her audience a striking image of the sun’s radiation in the X-ray and ultra-violet regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, she explained how the sun can be seen as a dynamic centre of electromagnetic activity, with streams of plasma particles spiralling along magnetic field lines that arc out of the surface and often loop back.
The audience learned about the cutting edge of research, driven by data from satellites such as SOHO situated deep in space at the first Lagrangian point, perfectly balanced by the competing gravitational fields of the Earth and the Sun. Professor Green further inspired students by remarking that the new Solar Orbiter satellite would not be operative until 2030 – so it could be down to some of them to carry the investigation forward.