2023-2024: Space Physics and Aeronomy: Sarah E. Gibson

Sarah E. Gibson
High Altitude Observatory (HAO) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research


Dr. Sarah Gibson is a Senior Scientist of the High Altitude Observatory (HAO) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from Stanford University, and her Masters and Doctoral Degrees in Astrophysics from the University of Colorado. At HAO, she has served as Solar Section Head, Deputy Director, and Interim HAO Director. 
Dr. Gibson’s research centers on solar drivers of the terrestrial environment, from short-term space weather drivers such as coronal mass ejections, to long-term solar cycle variation. She has led International Space Science Institute teams on the subjects of Prominence Cavities and Coronal Magnetism and continues to lead the Whole Sun Month/Whole Heliosphere Interval/Whole Heliosphere and Planetary Interactions initiatives to characterize the three-dimensional, interconnected solar-heliospheric-planetary system at solar minimum.

Dr. Gibson is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and was the recipient of the American Astronomical Society – Solar Physics Division Karen Harvey Prize in 2005. She was a Scientific Editor for the Astrophysical Journal and has served on many national and international committees. She has been a member of the Executive Committee of the National Academies Space Studies Board, co-chair of its Committee on Solar and Space Physics, and has recently finished her terms as Vice President/President of the IAU Division E (Sun and Heliosphere). She is currently a co-chair of the National Academies Space Weather Roundtable  and Project Scientist on NASA's PUNCH mission. 

Abstract: Beyond Flatland: A Star of Many Dimensions 

The more we learn about the Sun, the more we can appreciate its essential complexity. Telescopes have taught us it is not an unblemished sphere.  Multi-wavelength observations reveal its structured coronal atmosphere, and ever-higher temporal and spatial resolutions expose its spectacular dynamics. Helioseismology penetrates its depths, and spacecraft views from off the Sun-Earth line yield the beginnings of a three-dimensional perspective. Underlying this complexity is solar magnetism – the consequence of a cycling dynamo and the cause of solar eruptions that originate in stressed and twisted magnetic fields. In this talk, I will highlight critical areas of solar physics, presenting recent advances and open questions associated with the generation, storage and release of magnetic energy, and consider what might be learned from sustained observations from the Sun’s poles and from a truly global view on solar magnetism.