Dr Helen Mason is a solar physicist at the University of Cambridge. She has worked on many space projects (most recently: SoHO, Hinode, SDO and IRIS). In 2014, she was awarded an OBE for her services to Higher Education and to Women in Science, Engineering and Technology. Helen has participated in many outreach projects and given science presentations to audiences at many venues, including the Royal Institution. She has participated in several TV programs, most recently BBC4's 'Seven Ages of Starlight'. She leads the Sun|trek project (www.suntrek.org) which explores the Sun and its effects on the Earth.
The Sun has just passed the peak of its activity cycle, but actually it has been rather feeble. Several solar space observatories have been watching the Sun over the past few years: SoHO, Stereo, Hinode, SDO and most recently the IRIS spectrometer. We now have high spatial and spectral resolution images of the Sun, with a high cadence. This talk will review what we have learnt about the active Sun, in particular what we know (and don't yet know!) about solar active regions and flares, and how this solar activity affects the Earth's environment.
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