David Weston was recently hired away to the Boeing Company's Physics Technology Group.
I spent three years as a graduate student at MSU and I loved it. Montana is just one big wilderness playground. The deer outnumber people four to one. We've got the Militia of Montana (MoM), the Freemen, the Church Universal and Triumphant, and the Unabomber. Our speed limits are reasonable and prudent , and legalized gambling keeps the beer cheap. What state can compete with that?
As an MSU solar physics graduate student...
I've worked with Dr. David Alexander of the Lockheed-Martin Solar and Astrophysics Lab on 3-D solar modelling. The solar corona is an optically thin 3-D medium, but we only see it in 2-D with the Yohkoh/SXT CCD detector. This may introduce projection effects, so we are modelling loops from different aspects to determine if some loop top sources or foot point sources may be due to loop orientation. We recently received the emission model of an 8 1/2 minute flare from Dr. Giovanni Peres from the Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania in Catania Italy, and we are analyzing the effects of loop orientation on the observed emission and temperature.
I've also worked with Dr. Loren Acton on calibration projects for the Yohkoh/SXT satelite. This work involved analysis of differential emission models, comparing what Yohkoh 'sees' vs. the actual modeled plasma. I used the emission models from a 1988 paper by M.E. Bruner and R.W.P. McWhirter, determining the flux emission from a solar coronal plasma, then ran it through the SXT pre-flight filter models to determine what the Soft X-ray Telescope (SXT) detects. I then ratio'd the output of two of these filters to determine an isothermal flux distribution and compared this to the emmision model. Results to be published at the 28th anual meeting of the Solar Physics Division of the AAS.
My favorite picture of the sun is the one at the top of the page (click here for a better view). I've been told that it looks like an exploding Death Star. I made it by subtracting a preflare image from the scattered light image of the flare. It shows a beautiful scatter pattern from the x-ray mirror, and the shadow of the mesh filter support. I planned to put it on tee-shirts and sell them to hippies, but then Jerry Garcia died and the market collapsed. So much for my get rich quick plan.
See my latest picture of the sun.
SPECTRAL AVERAGING OF THE POINT SPREAD FUNCTION FOR YOHKOH'S SXT
David C. Weston and Loren W. Acton, 1996, Solar Physics 186, 215