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General News/UKSP Business:

COVID-19 Outbreak Expert Database – Please Invite Join

from Astrolists [March 25, 2020]

Over the past few weeks, Parliament has seen a surge in need for access to research expertise as it engages with the COVID-19 outbreak.

In this rapidly evolving situation, Parliament needs quick access to researchers who can provide expert insights relating to both Coronavirus and its impacts.

Parliament and Parliamentarians use these insights to help carry out their function effectively; that is to say, to represent the people, scrutinise the Government, debate important and pressing issues and pass legislation.

To speed up the process of Parliament accessing relevant research expertise, Parliament’s Knowledge Exchange Unit (KEU) are creating a COVID-19 Outbreak Expert Database.

If you feel you have any expertise relating to the COVID-19 outbreak or its impacts, the KEU would be very grateful if you would sign up to the database. Signing up does not commit you to contributing in anyway, it’s simply so that Parliament has your details to hand and can contact you very rapidly; if they contact you and you aren’t able to respond, they will fully understand.

A link to the sign-up form is found here.
A link to a tweet promoting the database is here.

Staff in Parliament have identified a number of areas where Parliament may need to be able to access research expertise, listed below, and found on the sign up page. If you identify an area that has not been listed, please do feel free to give detail on the sign up form in ‘other’:

Agriculture and farming, Airlines/airports, Arts, Behavioural science, Burial and cremation, Brexit, Business, Charities, Children and families, Civil contingency planning and management, Climate change, Communicating uncertainty, , Consumer protection, Coronavirus, Coroners, Countryside, Courts, Criminal justice, Criminal law, Crisis communications, Critical national infrastructure, Data protection, Death, Defence, Economics, Education – higher and further, Education – schools, Elections, Emergency planning, Emergency services, Employment, Employment law, Energy, Environment, European Union, Financial services, Financial systems and institutions, Foreign policy, Government, Health economics, Health services, Housing, Human rights, Immigration, Immunology / vaccinology, Industry, Infection control, Inflation, Insolvency, International law, IT, Law, Legal aid, Leisure and tourism, Local government, Medicine, National security, Package holidays, Pandemics, Pensions, Police powers, Ports and maritime, Prisons, Public expenditure, Public finance, Public health, Public order, Railways, Registration of deaths, Religion, Social security and tax credits, Social services, Sports, Surveillance , Taxation, Trade, Transport, Unemployment, Virology, Waste, Water, Welfare, Welfare benefits

Dr Sarah Foxen
Knowledge Exchange Lead

This email has been written with dictation software – please excuse typos.

Zoom link for the new UK-based Solar Online Seminar Series – UK-SOSS

from Marianna Korsos [March 20, 2020]

The first seminar will be held as follows
Time: 11:00am (GMT), 24 March, 2020
Zoom link:
Speaker: Prof. Ineke De Moortel (University of St Andrews)
Title: Aspects of MHD Wave Heating in the Complex Solar Atmosphere

Abstract: In a series of numerical experiments, we investigate the possible role of MHD waves in the energy and mass cycle in the complex solar corona. Using 3D MHD simulations of transverse, Alfvenic waves, we look at the role of chromospheric evaporation, the complexity of the magnetic field and the power spectrum of the wave driver. We focus on the efficiency of the wave-based heating in our models, in particular whether heating provided by the waves can balance coronal losses and whether proposed wave heating mechanisms are in fact self-consistent.

Best Regards,

Marianna Korsos (University of Aberystwyth), JiaJia Liu (University of Sheffield) and Chris Nelson (Queen’s University Belfast )


RHESSI Nuggets in March 2020

from Hugh Hudson [March 26, 2020]

No. 372: “Heating of the Solar Photosphere during a White-Light Flare”, by Jan Jurčak: the best-ever spectrum of the flaring photosphere.

No. 373: “SOL2017-09-04 (M5.5) 2017 as a Source of Relativistic Electrons and Protons,” by Alexei Struminsky: Flare-accelerated particles, rather than SEPs, energize sustained gamma-ray emission.

No. 374: “Using overlappogram data to find hot flare plasma,” by Louise Harra: imaging Fe XXIV at high resolution with the EIS slot data

We welcome contributions to the RHESSI Nuggets, and the topics may wander some distance away from specifically RHESSI results if they are generally interesting. See for these and others. Comments about specific flares can be found by searching for their SOLyyyy-mm-dd identifier from this home page.

Meetings/Workshops/Summer Schools:

COVID-19: Postponement of 2020 National Astronomy Meeting

from Natasha Jeffrey [March 26, 2020]

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) and senior management at the University of Bath have come to the difficult decision to postpone the National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2020) conference. The conference was due to take place in Bath from 12-17 July.

We all find ourselves in an unprecedented and rapidly evolving situation, with governments around the world revising their official guidelines on travel and social contact on a daily basis. This makes it impossible for us to predict what awaits us this summer. What is clear, however, is that this is not the right time to push ahead with plans to organise a large gathering bringing together people from across the UK and the rest of the world. Even if a conference were to be lawful come July, it would surely be reckless to expose our community to the unnecessary risk of coronavirus transmission.

Please rest assured that the conference is being postponed, not cancelled. The University of Bath is still entirely committed to hosting NAM. With so much remaining unknown about the pandemic, it is not possible for us to fix a new date quite yet, however we are tentatively hopeful that the conference can go ahead in the summer of 2021.

So much time and dedication has gone into preparing for NAM 2020 – from the RAS and University staff, and from volunteer conference session chairs and organisers too. We are truly sorry for the disappointment this announcement is sure to cause. In the run-up to the rescheduled conference, we plan to give priority to scientists who were due to present papers at this year’s conference and to sessions already accepted.

In the months ahead, we will be redoubling our efforts to stay connected with our community, updating people on our plans as they evolve. The Covid-19 situation has also strengthened our resolve to find innovative new ways for the astronomers, space scientists and geophysicists who planned to come to NAM 2020 this year to share their ideas.

There is no doubt that physical meetings will always play a part in the way scientists network and collaborate, but we are also eager to explore digital conference platforms, as we believe remote conferencing will be an important step forward in giving our participants dependable access to talks and meetings. Such virtual meetings hold great promise in making meetings both more inclusive and more environmentally sustainable. Inclusivity and reducing our carbon footprint are priorities for both the RAS and for the University of Bath.

As we research the options for streaming and digital conference solutions, we would very much welcome practical suggestions from our community – please send in your ideas.

A growing number of us will be working from home or self-isolating in the months ahead. Scientists with commitments to students will be absorbed by the logistics of taking their teaching online. It is going to be a busy and unusual time for us all. Despite the inevitable disruption to all of lives, it is hoped that we can all find a way to continue with our quest to unravel the mysteries of the universe and to add to humanity’s understanding of deep space.

All of us at the RAS and the University of Bath sincerely hope our community members and their families stay as healthy as possible.

We will be in touch again as soon as we have further news.

Best wishes,

Patricia Schady
on behalf of the NAM2020 LOC

RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting on 22 May Postponed

from Jiajia Liu [March 18, 2020]

Dear Colleague,

We have been informed by the RAS Council that the Specialist Discussion Meeting on 22 May 2020 is postponed due to the current situation regarding the Covid-19 outbreak. We are in close contact with the RAS and will get back to you as soon as the new date is established.

Best regards,

Jiajia Liu (UoS), Chris Nelson (QUB), Robertus Erdélyi (UoS), Mihalis Mathioudakis (QUB)

UK Solar Strategy Meeting – 22 May Postponed

from Natasha Jeffrey [March 18, 2020]

Dear all,

In light of the current uncertainty around the Covid-19 situation we have decided that it would be prudent to postpone the solar strategy meeting scheduled for 22 May. We will get back to you with a new date as soon as the situation is clearer.

Best wishes,
Sarah Matthews, Ineke de Moortel, Richard Harriosn, Bill Chaplin, David Long


Research Fellow in helioseismology/asteroseismology (Fixed term contract until 31 March 2023, University of Warwick, UK)

from Anne-Marie Broomhall [March 16, 2020]

The Department of Physics seeks to appoint an STFC-funded postdoctoral research fellow in the fields of helioseismology and asteroseismology, to work at the Centre for Fusion, Space and Astrophysics (University of Warwick, UK). The role will focus on data analysis techniques in helioseismology and asteroseismology with an emphasis on developing novel techniques to detect solar gravity modes, understanding the Sun’s activity cycle and the solar-stellar connection. You will work with Dr Anne-Marie Broomhall, and other members of CFSA.

For informal enquiries about this post please contact Anne-Marie Broomhall on

Further details about the Centre for Fusion, Space and Astrophysics can be found here:

Salary: £30,942 – £40,322 per annum
Closing date: 29th March 2020

For more details and applications:

Research Fellow in Solar Magnetohydrodynamics (Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

from Professor James McLaughlin [March 13, 2020]


Research Fellow in Solar Magnetohydrodynamics
Fixed-term for 3 years
Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Applications are invited for a three-year postdoctoral research position in the area of Solar Magnetohydrodynamics. The successful candidate will conduct research relevant to understanding how stored energy can be released from magnetised plasmas via time-dependent, wave-generating magnetic reconnection. This position is funded by a grant from STFC (ST/T000384/1) and the project focuses on a comprehensive investigation into the fundamental physics of Oscillatory Reconnection (a time-dependent, wave-generating reconnection mechanism). You will work primarily with Professor James McLaughlin (PI of the grant).

You will initiate, develop and conduct high-quality research in support of the project. The project will require an understanding of MHD wave theory, magnetic reconnection and computational MHD (particular 3D numerical modelling using High Performance Computing). The ideal candidate will have a good knowledge of MHD and experience of computational MHD simulations. Experience in magnetic reconnection and/or solar physics observations would also be beneficial.

For informal enquiries about this post please contact Professor James McLaughlin on

The successful candidate will join the Solar Physics research group. Further details about the research groups can be found here:

Salary: £35,844 – £40,322

Closing date: 22-March-2020

Official job advert website: