Carsten Denker, assistant professor of physics, has a prestigious NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award to design and deploy state-of-the-art imaging equipment at Big Bear Solar Observatory. The new equipment includes an Infrared Imaging Magnetograph (IRIM), which measures the magnetic fields on the Earth's surface, and a Real-Time Image Reconstruction (RTIR) system, which overcomes the image distortion caused by turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere. The new instrumentation allows researchers to analyze the Sun with greater sensitivity and accuracy than previous solar telescopes. Read a paper by Dr. Denker on real-time image reconstruction.  

The Faculty Early Career Development Program at NSF recognizes and supports the early career-development activities of teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century. Awardees are selected on the basis of creative, career-development plans that effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their institution.

Dr. Denker's research focuses on high-resolution solar observations that provide essential information about the basic physical processes on the sun that affect the Earth environment in such areas as communications technology, the power grid, civil and military assets, space travel, and  terrestrial climate. The image above is a speckle reconstruction from his work. The instrumentation project, which built on the Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research's new optical laboratories, provided an opportunity to involve students in a coordinated program of instrument construction and research.