Mass composition and dynamics in quiet sun prominences
Kilper, Gary K.
Doctor of Philosophy
Solar prominences are transient phenomena in the solar atmosphere that display highly dynamic activity and can result in dramatic eruptions, ejecting a large amount of material into the heliosphere. The dynamics of the prominence plasma reveal information about its interaction with the magnetic field of the prominence, while the eruptions are associated with coronal mass ejections, which greatly affect space weather near Earth and throughout the solar system. My research on these topics was conducted via observational analyses of the partially-ionized prominence material, its composition, and the dynamics over time in prominences that range in activity from quiescent to highly active. The main results are evidence that (1) in quiescent prominences, neutral He is located more in the lower part of the structure, (2) a higher level of activity in prominences is related to a mixing of the material, and (3) an extended period of high activity and mixing occurs prior to eruptions, possibly due to mass loading. In addition, innovative modifications to analytical techniques led to measurements of the material's mass, composition, and small-scale dynamics.