RAS Discussion meeting on Solar Partially Ionised Plasma

Organisers: Andrew Hillier (University of Exeter) & Alexander Russell (University of Dundee)

Theme: Modelling and observations of the partially ionised plasma in the solar atmosphere

Rationale: In the last decade, breakthroughs in solar observations have given strong new impetus to understanding partially ionised plasma in the Sun. For instance, the dynamic motions of prominence material, spicules and coronal rain now reveal MHD waves and instabilities in the solar corona, while it has become apparent that the chromosphere hosts magnetic reconnection at the base of coronal loops as well as playing a key role in the transport and dissipation of energy in the quiet Sun and solar flares. Unlike fully-ionised coronal plasmas, which have been studied much more extensively, the bulk of the fluid that forms these regions is composed of neutral atoms. These do not directly feel the magnetic forces, but the plasma is nonetheless clearly structured by the magnetic field, via coupling with ions and electrons, which is controlled by complex processes like collisions, charge exchange, and ionisation and recombination. This meeting will look at the current methods used to model partially ionsied plasmas, how they are improving our understanding of solar phenomena such as MHD waves, shocks and magnetic reconnection, future improvements, and synergies with other fields. This topic is of particular relevance now as we look to understand how models can be connected to future high resolution observations by DKIST and EST.

There will be two invited talks. One on modeling of solar partially ionised plasma  by Elena Khomenko (IAC) and one on waves and instabilities in partially ionised plasma by Roberto Soler (UIB).