Welcome to the website of Andrés Muñoz-Jaramillo!

I'm a Research Associate at Montana State University and a visiting scholar at the University of California - Berkeley.

I'm originally from Colombia, my beloved country, but have been living in the US since I came to do my PhD at Montana State University in 2005. I felt in love with solar physics thanks to NSF's research opportunities for undergraduates (REU) program (of which I was part in 2003). When I was little I never imagined I would devote my life to research, let alone understanding how our own star works. I am grateful to say it has been an amazing experience so far and something I feel very passionate about.

The main objective of my research is to understand (and predict) the solar magnetic cycle and its impact on solar variability, space climate, and terrestrial climate change.

My main research interests are:
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Automatic Detection of Magnetic Regions

Automatic Detection
of Magnetic Features

Magnetic structures visible on the surface of the Sun are both tracers of, and critical contributors to the progression of the solar cycle. Computer vision is a very powerful tool for detecting and cataloging them in a ways that greatly enhance solar cycle research. This image shows the output of our Bipolar Active Region Detection (BARD) code, applied to SOHO/MDI data.

Self-Similarity in the Sun

Statistical Analysis
of Magnetic Structures

The solar magnetic field arranges itself into self-similar structures spanning a wide range of spatial scales. Their demographics give valuable insight into their origin and life-cycle. I'm particularly interested in how the statistical properties of magnetic regions are modulated by the solar cycle, and on using this information to better solar dynamo modeling and cycle prediction.

3D Kinematic Dynamo

3D Solar Dynamo
Simulations

Dynamo simulations are a very powerful tool for studying the solar cycle and understanding observations. One of my main interests is to develop a new generation of dynamo simulations that can be used for predicting the characteristics of the solar cycle. The figure shows one of our latest simulations that better captures emergence of the magnetic structures associated with sunspots.

Observed vs. Synthetic Butterfly Diagram

Solar Cycle
Prediction

The prediction of the solar cycle and its characteristics is one of the main practical goals of solar physics. My expertise in both data analysis and dynamo simulations puts me in a privileged position to tackle this problem. The figure shows the observed location, time and size of sunspots, as well as a synthetic set of sunspots created using only cycle amplitude information.

Coupled Dynamo and Solar Wind Simulation

Impact of the Solar Cycle
on the Heliosphere

In order to development useful solar cycle predictions, we need to be able to predict quantities that affect human technological activities and the Earth's climate. For this purpose, I'm actively working to interface our dynamo simulations with heliospheric models. The figure shows coupled dynamo and solar wind simulations performed in collaboration with NASA's CCMC.

Correction of KPVT Data

Rehabilitation and Analysis
of Historical Data

When it comes to study the solar cycle, long observational surveys and cross-callibration across instruments is of vital importance. I'm working to ensure that valuable observational surveys are not lost to the new generations as critical personnel retires. The figure shows work I'm doing to fix outstanding geometry problems in data from the Kitt Peak Vacuum Telescope.

Awards & Press

One of my main contributions to solar physics, has been the development of dynamo models that better capture the eruption sunspots and the decay of their associated magnetic fields. For this work I was awarded the 2011 Fred L. Scarf Award of the Space Physics and Aeronomy Section of the American Geophysical Union. Furthermore, this work paved the way for understanding the causes leading to the unusually deep and long minimum of solar cycle 23, published in Nature magazine; which was featured by the world's media (see for example: NASA Science News, ScienceNow, Montana State University, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Scientific American, Reuters), and showed me the pleasure that is to work with scientific journalists. Thanks to this initial contact with the press, I have been able to help disseminate scientific results among the general public. In particular, I was able to work together with NASA's artist Tom Bridgman to make movies for education and outreach of the solar magnetic cycle, I wrote an invited divulgation article for the Spanish edition of Scientific American, and my interviews have been used to help write articles by the Smithsonian Magazine and the Wall Street Journal.

Outside Science

My passion for history, cartography, and data analysis (coupled with my love for computer gaming), have led me to become heavily involved in fan-made game modifications (commonly known as "Mods"). My contribution has always been the assimilation of geophysical data to create realistic game assets, and the development of information-rich, user-friendly interfaces. My main projects have been:

Magna Mundi Map

Magna Mundi

The most popular mod for Europa Universalis III (more than the original game itself). My role was to assimilate shoreline, hydrography, topography, land coverage, and color data to create the most detailed and realistic world map in a Paradox game at that point in time. Our mod was so popular that Paradox decided to turn it into a commercial game. Unfortunately, it was later canceled.

Hearts of Oak Wind Patterns

Hearts of Oak

An ambitious historical seafaring game, set in the Age of Sail, being developed by the PiratesAhoy! community. My role is to assimilate sea wind speed, pressure, and temperature data to create realistic in-game weather systems. These systems, (including tropical storms, hurricanes, and squalls) will have seasonal variations based on their observed statistical properties.

Andrés Muñoz-Jaramillo

EPS building, Room 264
Department of Physics
Montana State University
P.O. Box 173840
Bozeman, MT 59717-3840, USA

Cell: (+1 801) 860-6805
Fax: (+1 406) 994-4452