Chris Lowder
Graduate Student
Department of Physics - Montana State University

Hello! I am currently a graduate student with the Department of Physics at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana.

I work with the solar physics group here, specifically with Dr. Jiong Qiu and Dr. Robert Leamon. At the moment my research involves coronal dimming regions observed in extreme ultraviolet [EUV] images of the sun. We obtain most of our data from the EIT and AIA instruments on board the aging SOHO and shiny new SDO spacecraft, respectively. The goal is to link these dimming regions to the dynamics of the flaring active regions and potential coronal mass ejection. For more information, see the research tab above.

Above you can find contact information, my curriculum vitae, a summary of my research projects, and general resources.

I can be reached via email at : clowder {at}

Coronal dimming signatures

Magnetic reconnection and other magnetohydrodynamic interactions between an erupting flux rope and the overlying global magnetic field of the solar corona play an important role in predicting and interpreting possible interactions with magnetic clouds at 1 AU. I employ coronal dimming signatures as a diagnostic analogue of the open or closed nature and subsequent evolution of the local magnetic field.

In addition, potential field source surface models will yield insight into the global overlying magnetic topology. Existing statistical data on coronal dimming, several detailed case studies, and mathematical models of the flux rope / global field interaction will yield crucial insight into the eruption process, a critical component to space weather predictions.

Permanent coronal hole tracking

The SDO:AIA and STEREO:EUVI A/B instruments currently provide a unique observational opportunity. Their current orbits permit full surface observations of the sun. Taking advantage of this, coronal holes can now be automatically detected and tracked for multiple solar rotations. This provides a unique opportunity to study these regions of open field in depth.

This alignment between SDO and STEREO will remain for several years to come, which will yield itself well to long-term studies of coronal hole evolution. In addition, while not providing full-surface coverage, the entire EIT database can be analyzed for coronal holes.


Lowder, C., Qiu, J., Leamon, R. & Liu, Y. 2014, ApJ, 783, 142 - [pdf]

Lowder, C., Qiu, J., Leamon, R., & Longcope, D. 2015 (in preparation)

Lowder, C., Qiu, J., & Leamon, R., 2015 (in preparation)


IDL Guide - Documentation on some basic IDL and Linux terminal commands

IDL Reference - A quick reference of some commly used IDL commands


Coming soon!