With grant support from the NSF, Haimin Wang, distinguished professor of physics, leads a worldwide partnership of Big Bear Solar Research Observatory with four other observatories around the globe to study the sun in crimson hydrogen light 24 hours a day. In addition to BBSO, the Global High-Resolution H-Alpha Network includes the Kanzelhöhe Solar Observatory (KSO) in Austria, the Catania Astrophysical Observatory (CAO) in Italy, Meudon Observatory in France, and the Huairou Solar Observing Station (HSOS) and the Yunnan Astronomical Observatory (YNAO) in China.
H-alpha full disk observations of high temporal and spatial resolution have been proven to be a key diagnostic for determining the magnetic field topology between the photosphere, chromosphere, transition region, and corona. The global network provides round-the clock observation, necessary to avoid the "night gap" during which a single station could miss important phenomena, such as flares.The continuous data set certainly also increase the accuracy of the measurements, and can follow the evolution of active regions which produce flares.
Dr. Wang is also collaborating with Professor Guoxiang Ai of the Beijing National Observatory in China in solar physics research. With a grant from the NSF and the National Science Foundation of China, the joint project uses hi-resolution vector magnetograph data from both observatories to monitor the magnetic structure of the solar active region continuously and uses newly-developed fast camera systems to obtain images of solar flares.