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SolarALMA Report Summary

Project ID: 682462
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SolarALMA (ALMA – The key to the Sun’s coronal heating problem.)

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2018-02-28

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The key question of the SolarALMA project is how are the outer layers of the Sun heated to such high temperatures. A large number of heating mechanisms have been proposed as explanation but it remains open by which mechanisms are most important. The key to solving the chromospheric/coronal heating problem lies in accurate observations at high spatial, temporal and spectral resolution, facilitating the identification of the mechanisms responsible for the transport and dissipation of energy. This has so far been impeded by the small number of accessible diagnostics and the challenges with their interpretation. The interferometric Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), located at an altitude of 5000m in the Chilean Andes, now offers impressive capabilities. Due to the properties of the solar radiation at millimeter wavelengths, ALMA serves as a linear thermometer, mapping narrow layers at different heights. It can measure the thermal structure and dynamics of the solar chromosphere and thus sources and sinks of atmospheric heating. Radio recombination and molecular lines (e.g., CO) potentially provide complementary kinetic and thermal diagnostics, while the polarisation of the continuum intensity and the Zeeman effect can be exploited for valuable chromospheric magnetic field measurements.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

First regular observations of the Sun with ALMA have been carried out in December 2016 - April 2017. Among them are solar observations in connection with this project. These first data sets are currently being analysed.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The SolarALMA project has contributed to development of new observing techniques and data processing methods for observations of the Sun with ALMA.
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