in the solar corona and chromosphere to support understanding of solar eruptive events that drive space weather and investigation of long-term coronal phenomena. The large emission-line coronagraph will be the largest refracting telescope in the world.
COSMO complements other facilities and missions by providing 300-days-per-year limb observations of the coronal magnetic field down to 1 Gauss over a 1° field of view. Long-term synoptic observations will directly address how the coronal magnetic field responds to the sunspot cycle and how the switch in polarity of the global field manifests itself in the heliosphere.
On a shorter timescale, COSMO will provide new information on the evolution of and interactions between magnetically closed and open regions that determine the changing structure of the heliospheric magnetic field and provide verification of extrapolations of the photospheric field.
COSMO will detect polarization signatures of nonpotential fields to afford insight into the roles of energy storage, magnetic reconnection, helicity creation and transport, and flux emergence in CME formation. It will also provide white-light images of CMEs in the low corona needed to determine basic properties of CMEs in early stages of formation. Particles accelerated by CME-driven shocks have the highest particle energies and pose the greatest space weather hazards. COSMO can detect compressions and distortions in the field that are due to the formation and passage of a CME and associated waves. Density compressions resulting from shock formation can produce intensity enhancements in white-light coronal images. COSMO has the potential to detect shock and CME locations simultaneously.
COSMO will provide routine observations of prominence, filament, and chromospheric magnetic fields and prominence flows. Those observations will constrain prominence densities and determine how prominence and coronal magnetic fields interact, how and where magnetic energy is stored (for example, by flux and helicity transport), and how it is released (for example, by instabilities, reconnection, or dissipative heating). COSMO will provide the first routine high-time-cadence measurements of coronal magnetic fields in and around flares and associated CMEs as seen above the solar limb. The high-time-cadence observations can help to determine when, where, and how magnetic energy is released by CMEs and by dissipative processes that result in flares.
10.5.4.5 National Science Foundation Small-Grants Program
SHP Imperative: To support the community effort required to analyze, interpret, and model the vast new solar and space physics data sets of the next decade, the SHP panel assigns high priority to NSF’s adopting the policy of doubling the size of its small-grants programs.
Justification: The coming decade should see major advances in solar and space physics with new ground-based and space-based instrumentation coming on line, new computational technology becoming available, and new personnel in the nation’s universities and other institutions. Funding will be needed to achieve the science promise of the new capabilities and researchers. Core support for new researchers, especially in universities, comes from NSF small-grants programs, which include the CEDAR, GEM, SHINE, and base grants programs and associated postdoctoral and young-faculty programs. The NSF small-grants program is inadequate to cover the science requirements of existing facilities and personnel. Whether measured by publications, data analyzed, or students educated, increased investment in the small-grants program is by far the most effective strategy for NSF to use to achieve its science and education goals.