Measurement of Macroscopic Electric Fields in Solar Plasma Structures
Final technical rept. 27 May-27 Nov 1987
CAMBRIDGE RESEARCH AND INSTRUMENTATION INC MA
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The work performed in this effort has led to several important advances in our investigation of a new technique for remote sensing of plasma electric fields. The atomic physics underlying the technique is placed on a firmer basis and the polarization structure of the high Balmer and Paschen lines behaves as predicted by perturbation theory. Balmer- and Paschen-line observations of erupting prominences are obtained at Sacramento Peak Observatory and show that the marked increase in sensitivity of the technique expected with the Paschen lines can be realized. Understanding of the interpretation of the observed hydrogen-line broadening is improved, and shown that the sensitivity of the technique, when applied to structures emitting intense hydrogen lines, can exceed 10 voltscm. This sensitivity is more than adequate to test predictions of transverse electric fields intensities and orientations, in models of flares and other active phenomena. The goal is to construct an instrument optimized for solar plasma electric field measurements, to be installed at the SPO Big Dome. Such an electrograph would make important advances toward understanding the mechanisms and prediction of solar eruptions such as flares and active filaments. Keywords Solar flares Electric fields.