Activities: Pro ISSI Talk with Karel Schrijver (recorded on May 8, 2019)

Abstract: For us on Earth, the Sun is the most important star. For billions of years, its steady glow has kept Earth habitable. The Sun also has a harmful side that humanity is increasingly affected by because of our growing dependence on electrical systems and on communication systems, and also because we venture into space beyond Earth’s atmospheric and magnetic shields. Fortunately, the Sun is also by far the nearest star: a complement of instruments on the ground and in space can study it in detail from its deepest interior to its outermost atmosphere. Distant Sun-like stars may not reveal much in detail, but their diversity enables us to understand what drives the Sun’s variability, to learn about the history and future of the Sun’s magnetism, and to quantify the infrequent extremes of space weather. This lecture will touch upon what we have learned about the dynamo that drives solar activity, how magnetism heats the solar atmosphere and drives the solar wind, what causes solar explosions, and what all that has to do with habitability of planets and how exoplanets can help us understand the Sun.

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