Christian Thibeault - Astrophysics

Christian is a Ph.D. candidate in astrophysics at the Université de Montréal, specializing in solar physics. For his project, he is using numerical simulations of the Sun (developed by his supervisors) to learn more about its magnetic cycle.

"On the surface of the Sun, there are sometimes sudden bursts of intense radiation called solar flares. They can damage our space satellites, our GPS networks, and even pose a risk to our astronauts in orbit. It is therefore important to understand how a solar flare is triggered. Recently, researchers have proposed that it may be a chain reaction of mini-flares. The process would be similar to a sand avalanche, triggered by a chain reaction of small grains of sand that tip over each other. The goal of my research project is to test the model of mini eruptions, and the analogy with sand avalanches, through numerical simulations. We are using computers to simulate different versions of the avalanche model to see if it allows us to understand the behavior of real solar flares on the Sun."