Hailing from the Golden Vale of Tipperary I ventured to Dublin to complete a BA in Physics and Astrophysics in Trinity College in 2017. Soon after I became a member of the Astrophysics Research Group as a PhD researcher. My interest in solar physics emerged from completing my final year project with the AMS-02 Reaseach Group in the University of Manoa, Hawaii who investigate the influence of solar activity on galactic cosmic rays. Currently I am working with I-LOFAR, a cutting edge radio telescope built in Birr Castle Co.Offaly. Apart from science I enjoy travelling, learning new languages, cooking and all things outdoors.
Explosive energy release in the solar atmosphere can result in the emission of intense bursts of electromagnetic radiation (a solar flare), and the acceleration of energetic particles to near light-speed. My project aims to observe the origin of these energetic particles in the solar atmosphere using radio observations provided by the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR), a state-of-the-art radio interferometer already deployed across Europe and with a station which was constructed in Birr Co.Offaly in the Summer of 2017. Radio observations provide the highest time resolution observations of the particle acceleration process in solar astrophysics, and those provided by LOFAR represent the forefront of such observation. The high time and frequency resolution radio imaging and spectra provided by LOFAR, combined with detailed extreme ultraviolet imaging observations using NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), will allow for an in-depth analysis of exactly where, when and how particles are accelerated in the solar atmosphere. Combining LOFAR and SDO will allow me to directly observe the fundamental origins of electron acceleration at the sun, leading to a significant advance in the fundamental physics governing the solar atmosphere and society’s ability to make reliable space weather forecasts.