Cucho-Padin wins for time-dependent tomographic hydrogen density estimation
ECE ILLINOIS PhD student Gonzalo Augusto Cucho Padin won the Best Student Presentation Award at the annual National Science Foundation-sponsored CEDAR (Coupling, Energetics, and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions) Meeting for his poster presentation "Time-dependent tomographic hydrogen density estimation and its role in the ring current decay after geomagnetic storms." The CEDAR Meeting was held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, earlier this summer.
Cucho-Padin is advised by CSL Assistant Professor Lara Waldrop. She is the Y.T. Lo Fellow in Electrical and Computer Engineering as well as being an ECE assistant professor. The goal of his research is to understand the interactions between neutral Hydrogen (H) atoms, the most abundant constituent in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, and the Earth’s magnetospheric ring current, which is generated by the longitudinal drift of energetic ions trapped on closed geomagnetic field lines. Charge exchange reactions between the ions and neutrals dissipate the magnetospheric energy that is injected following solar storms and enhance the rate of permanent atmospheric escape to space. Cucho-Padin’s research advances understanding of potentially hazardous “space weather” as well as the long-term atmospheric evolution on Earth and other planets.
For his award-winning poster, he analyzed the time-dependent evolution of atmospheric H density following the onset of a solar storm. His approach, which he developed under NASA support, is based on global, 3-D, tomographic reconstruction of the atmospheric H density distribution using measurements of its scattered UV emission acquired by NASA’s TWINS mission. Cucho-Padin has first-authored a manuscript describing the tomographic density estimation technique, which was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics earlier this year.