February 1, 2023
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MIDN Kniezewski Presents Research at the American Astronomical Society

Midshipman 1st Class (senior) Kara Kniezewski, 22, of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, presented her research on solar flare rain at the 241st meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Seattle on Tuesday, Jan. 10.

With assistance from Dr. Emily Mason, a solar physicist, Kniezewski, an astrophysics major, conducted a statistical analysis of rain that forms as the byproduct of a solar flare. Their research was conducted at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to determine the frequency and duration of post-flare rain and how a flare’s energy impacts the rain observed. Their work was recently published in,The Astrophysical Journal

 “Solar flares and rain on the sun have long been studied, but the statistical analysis on these events has never been carried out,” said Kniezewski. “This study provided the statistics surrounding flare-driven rain, but also contained many unexpected findings which significantly add to our understanding of solar flares and how we can utilize rain events following the flare to estimate the strength of solar activity in the future.” 

Rain rates can also be used to estimate how quickly the solar minimum activity period is approaching. Understanding the future of solar activity is critical to examine how flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) can impact our satellites, astronauts, and even technology on the ground. In an age of growing technological reliance on the ground and in space, estimating and predicting such solar activity is crucial.

Kniezewski is also a 2022 Goldwater Scholar, which provides scholarships to college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. 

A copy of her presentation can be found here. And the recording of her presentation is below:

The mission of the AAS is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe, which we achieve through publishing, meeting organization, advocacy, education and outreach, and training and professional development.

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