NESSI 2021 - Milana Wolff

Milana Wolff

Milana Wolff, University of Wyoming

Improvements to HiWIND Code & Immersive Visualization of the Solar Corona

Recorded Talk

HiWind, a Fabry-Perot interferometer carried by a high-altitude stratospheric balloon, measures thermospheric winds, the dynamics of which are poorly understood at the present time. HiWind is, to date, the only instrument capable of making daytime measurements of winds in this layer of the atmosphere during the daytime. This presentation summarizes recent improvements made to the code base for the HiWind instrument and visualization routines. These enhancements included updated plotting functions written in Python 3.7, new logic to check for errors in instrument orientation from the ground control station, and preliminary work on a simulation of the instrumentation in flight.

Additionally, this presentation includes a novel visualization of the optically thin solar corona in a virtual reality environment. Users are able to enter a virtual environment, accessible on desktop and mobile devices or with a virtual reality head-mounted display (such as an Oculus Rift or Vive Pro) and see a 49x100x49 Mm section of the solar corona. The data represented in the visualization consists of emissivity values computed based on a magnetohydrodynamic MuRAM simulation of a magnetic dipole. The emissivities are computed based on a narrow Gaussian temperature response function, centered on 106 K. This visualization introduces new techniques for studying the solar corona, which will eventually enable interactive ways of studying large-scale structures and enhance intuitive understanding of solar dynamics.

Mentors: Alice Lecinski & Daniela Lacatus

Slides and Poster