Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Daniel B. Seaton

Research Interests

  • Magnetic reconnection and other physical processes responsible for solar eruptions and flares
  • The structure, properties, and dynamics of the so-called middle corona
  • The processes and phenomena that determine the structure of the solar atmosphere on very large scales
  • Design, operations, and calibration of instrumentation to observe the solar corona
  • Solar image processing
  • Observation of the solar corona during total solar eclipses

Current Research

I am the senior scientist for solar physics in NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, leading the effort to calibrate data from the Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) on NOAA's GOES-R line of spacecraft and the upcoming Compact Coronagraph (CCOR) to fly on GOES-U and NOAA's Space Weather Follow-On missions. I help lead our SUVI product development efforts, and also serve as lead scientist for other solar image data products used by NOAA including observations of solar magnetic fields from the Global Oscillation Network Group (GONG) and the Solar X-Ray Imager (SXI) on the previous line of GOES spacecraft. Sometime I talk about space weather and its origins and the solar cycle.

Using SUVI we have made some exceptionally cool observations of never before observed phenomena in the solar corona. Lately we have been exploring the use of SUVI in novel ways to study the middle corona in the extreme ultraviolet. Our recent Nature Astronomy paper on the middle corona generated some media interestNovel observations that can teach us about the middle corona, have become one of my primary research interests. I am the project scientist on the proposed SunCET CubeSat mission that will help us to understand coronal eruptions in this region using extreme ultraviolet observations.

Prior to joining CIRES and NCEI in Boulder, I worked at the Royal Observatory of Belgium, where I served as Principal Investigator for the SWAP solar imager on the European Space Agency's PROBA2 spacecraft. I am a Co-I for the Extreme-Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) on ESA's Solar Orbiter mission and ESA's formation-flying PROBA3 coronagraph mission.

My research interests include determining how to better calibrated and utilize observations of the sun's atmosphere, the solar corona, and using observations of the corona to better characterize the physical processes that shape and heat it. I am also interested in the processes that cause and drive huge eruptions on the sun that can lead to severe space weather effects in the near-Earth environment. Of particular interest is the process of magnetic reconnection, which can liberate vast amounts of energy stored in the sun's magnetic field to drive these events, which was the subject of my Ph.D. thesis and an ongoing line of research I am working on.

Since the 2017 total solar eclipse I have been a Co-I on a project to observe the solar corona from high-altitude aircraft in both visible and infrared wavelenths. Our work earned some significant media coverage, but the best story was (of course) from our local paper the Boulder Daily Camera.

You can find the SUVI data I have been working on here.



A large solar eruption and X8.2 flare captured by the Solar Ultraviolet Imager on GOES-16 on September 10, 2017.

Our new SUVI observations of the middle corona reveal the structure and fundamental nature of this enigmatic region.

Honors and Awards

  • NASA Group Achievement Award for GOES-R, 2017
  • CIRES Gold Medal for GOES-R, 2018
  • NASA Robert H. Goddard Engineering Award, for SUVI, 2020
  • CIRES Administrator's Award for GOES-R, 2021

View Publications

  • Seaton DB; Hughes JM; Tadikonda SK; Caspi A; DeForest CE; Krimchansky A; Hurlburt NE; Seguin R; Slater G. (Aug 2021). The Sun's dynamic extended corona observed in extreme ultraviolet. Nature Astronomy. 10.1038/s41550-021-01427-8
  • Mason JP; Chamberlin PC; Seaton D; Burkepile J; Colaninno R; Dissauer K; Eparvier FG; Fan Y; Gibson S; Jones AR. (Mar 2021). SunCET: The Sun Coronal Ejection Tracker Concept. Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate , 11. 10.1051/swsc/2021004
  • Rochus P; Auchere F; Berghmans D; Harra L; Schmutz W; Schuehle U; Addison P; Appourchaux T; Cuadrado RA; Baker D. (Sep 2020). The Solar Orbiter EUI instrument: The Extreme Ultraviolet Imager. Astronomy and Astrophysics: a European journal , 642. 10.1051/0004-6361/201936663
  • Caspi A; Seaton DB; Tsang CCC; DeForest CE; Bryans P; DeLuca EE; Tomczyk S; Burkepile JT; Casey TT; Collier J. (Jun 2020). A New Facility for Airborne Solar Astronomy: NASA's WB-57 at the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. The Astrophysical Journal: an international review of astronomy and astronomical physics , 895(2). 10.3847/1538-4357/ab89a8
  • Mierla M; Janssens J; D'Huys E; Wauters L; West MJ; Seaton DB; Berghmans D; Podladchikova E. (May 2020). Long-Term Evolution of the Solar Corona Using PROBA2 Data. Solar Physics: a journal for solar and solar-stellar research and the study of solar terrestrial physics , 295(5). 10.1007/s11207-020-01635-x
  • Hughes, JM; Hsu, VW; Seaton, DB; Bain, HM; Darnel, JM; Krista, L. (25-Oct 2019). Real-time solar image classification: Assessing spectral, pixel-based approaches. JOURNAL OF SPACE WEATHER AND SPACE CLIMATE, 9. 10.1051/swsc/2019036
  • Shestov, SV; Zhukov, AN; Seaton, DB. (5-Feb 2019). Modeling and removal of optical ghosts in the PROBA-3/ASPIICS externally occulted solar coronagraph. ASTRONOMY & ASTROPHYSICS, 622. 10.1051/0004-6361/201834584
  • Tadikonda, SK; Freesland, DC; Minor, RR; Seaton, DB; Comeyne, GJ; Krimchansky, A. (MAR 2019). Coronal Imaging with the Solar Ultra Violet Imager. SOLAR PHYSICS, 294(3). 10.1007/s11207-019-1411-0
  • Pasachoff, JM, C Lockwood, E Meadors, R Yu, C Perez, MA Penaloza-Murillo, DB Seaton, A Voulgaris, R Dantowitz, V Rusin and T Economou. (24-Oct 2018). Images and Spectra of the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Corona From Our Oregon Site. FRONTIERS IN ASTRONOMY AND SPACE SCIENCES, 5. 10.3389/fspas.2018.00037
  • Veronig, AM, T Podladchikova, K Dissauer, M Temmer, DB Seaton, D Long, JN Guo, B Vrsnak, L Harra and B Kliem. (1-Dec 2018). Genesis and Impulsive Evolution of the 2017 September 10 Coronal Mass Ejection. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 868(2). 10.3847/1538-4357/aaeac5
  • Redmon, RJ, DB Seaton, R Steenburgh, J He and JV Rodriguez. (SEP 2018). September 2017s Geoeffective Space Weather and Impacts to Caribbean Radio Communications During Hurricane Response. SPACE WEATHER-THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF RESEARCH AND APPLICATIONS, 16(9), 1190-1201. 10.1029/2018SW001897
  • Yeates, AR, T Amari, I Contopoulos, XS Feng, D Mackay, Z Mikic, T Wiegelmann, J Hutton, C Lowder, H Morgan, G Petrie, LA Rachmeler, LA Upton, A Canou, P Chopin, C Downs, M Druckmuller, JA Linker, DB Seaton and T Torok. (AUG 2018). Global Non-Potential Magnetic Models of the Solar Corona During the March 2015 Eclipse. SPACE SCIENCE REVIEWS, 214(5). 10.1007/s11214-018-0534-1
  • Redmon, R.J., D.B. Seaton, R. Steenburgh, J. He, J.V. Rodriguez. (2018). September 2017s Geoeffective Space Weather and Impacts to Caribbean. Space Weather. 10.1002/essoar.a530e85443c2d357.102532a29f074aec.1
  • Forbes, TG, DB Seaton and KK Reeves. (10-May 2018). Reconnection in the Post-impulsive Phase of Solar Flares. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 858(2). 10.3847/1538-4357/aabad4
  • Seaton, DB and JM Darnel. (1-Jan 2018). Observations of an Eruptive Solar Flare in the Extended EUV Solar Corona. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL LETTERS, 852(1). 10.3847/2041-8213/aaa28e
  • Stankov, SM, N Bergeot, D Berghmans, D Bolsee, C Bruyninx, JM Chevalier, F Clette, H De Backer, J De Keyser, E DHuys, M Dominique, JF Lemaire, J Magdalenic, C Marque, N Pereira, V Pierrard, D Sapundjiev, DB Seaton, K Stegen, R Van der Linden, TGW Verhulst and MJ West. (8-Aug 2017). Multi-instrument observations of the solar eclipse on 20 March 2015 and its effects on the ionosphere over Belgium and Europe. JOURNAL OF SPACE WEATHER AND SPACE CLIMATE, 7. 10.1051/swsc/2017017
  • Seaton, DB, AE Bartz and JM Darnel. (1-Feb 2017). Observations of the Formation, Development, and Structure of a Current Sheet in an Eruptive Solar Flare. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 835(2). 10.3847/1538-4357/835/2/139
  • DHuys, E, DB Seaton, A De Groof, D Berghmans and S Poedts. (8-Mar 2017). Solar signatures and eruption mechanism of the August 14, 2010 coronal mass ejection (CME). JOURNAL OF SPACE WEATHER AND SPACE CLIMATE, 7. 10.1051/swsc/2017006
  • Guennou, C., L. A. Rachmeler, D. B. Seaton, F. Auchere. (MAY 2016). Lifecycle of a Large-Scale Polar Coronal Pseudostreamer/Cavity System. Front. Astron. Space Sci., 3(14). 10.3389/fspas.2016.00014
  • Ryan, DF, M Dominique, D Seaton, K Stegen and A White. (AUG 2016). Effects of flare definitions on the statistics of derived flare distributions. ASTRONOMY & ASTROPHYSICS, 592. 10.1051/0004-6361/201628130
  • DHuys, E, D Berghmans, DB Seaton and S Poedts. (MAY 2016). The Effect of Limited Sample Sizes on the Accuracy of the Estimated Scaling Parameter for Power-Law-Distributed Solar Data. SOLAR PHYSICS, 291(5), 1561-1576. 10.1007/s11207-016-0910-5
  • Pasachoff, JM, V Rusin, M Saniga, BA Babcock, M Lu, AB Davis, R Dantowitz, P Gaintatzis, JH Seiradakis, A Voulgaris, DB Seaton and K Shiota. (20-Feb 2015). STRUCTURE AND DYNAMICS OF THE 2012 NOVEMBER 13/14 ECLIPSE WHITE-LIGHT CORONA. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 800(2). 10.1088/0004-637X/800/2/90
  • West, MJ and DB Seaton. (1-Mar 2015). SWAP OBSERVATIONS OF POST-FLARE GIANT ARCHES IN THE LONG-DURATION 2014 OCTOBER 14 SOLAR ERUPTION. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL LETTERS, 801(1). 10.1088/2041-8205/801/1/L6
  • Zuccarello, FP, DB Seaton, M Mierla, S Poedts, LA Rachmeler, P Romano and F Zuccarello. (20-Apr 2014). OBSERVATIONAL EVIDENCE OF TORUS INSTABILITY AS TRIGGER MECHANISM FOR CORONAL MASS EJECTIONS: THE 2011 AUGUST 4 FILAMENT ERUPTION. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 785(2). 10.1088/0004-637X/785/2/88
  • Rachmeler, LA, SJ Platten, C Bethge, DB Seaton and AR Yeates. (20-May 2014). OBSERVATIONS OF A HYBRID DOUBLE-STREAMER/PSEUDOSTREAMER IN THE SOLAR CORONA. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL LETTERS, 787(1). 10.1088/2041-8205/787/1/L3
  • DHuys, E, DB Seaton, S Poedts and D Berghmans. (1-Nov 2014). OBSERVATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF CORONAL MASS EJECTIONS WITHOUT LOW-CORONAL SIGNATURES. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 795(1). 10.1088/0004-637X/795/1/49
  • Byrne, JP, H Morgan, DB Seaton, HM Bain and SR Habbal. (DEC 2014). Bridging EUV and White-Light Observations to Inspect the Initiation Phase of a "Two-Stage" Solar Eruptive Event. SOLAR PHYSICS, 289(12), 4545-4562. 10.1007/s11207-014-0585-8
  • Forbes, TG, ER Priest, DB Seaton and YE Litvinenko. (MAY 2013). Indeterminacy and instability in Petschek reconnection. PHYSICS OF PLASMAS, 20(5). 10.1063/1.4804337
  • Mierla, M, DB Seaton, D Berghmans, I Chifu, A De Groof, B Inhester, L Rodriguez, G Stenborg and AN Zhukov. (AUG 2013). Study of a Prominence Eruption using PROBA2/SWAP and STEREO/EUVI Data. SOLAR PHYSICS, 286(1), 241-253. 10.1007/s11207-012-9965-0
  • Kienreich, IW, N Muhr, AM Veronig, D Berghmans, A De Groof, M Temmer, B Vrsnak and DB Seaton. (AUG 2013). Solar TErrestrial Relations Observatory-A (STEREO-A) and PRoject for On-Board Autonomy 2 (PROBA2) Quadrature Observations of Reflections of Three EUV Waves from a Coronal Hole. SOLAR PHYSICS, 286(1), 201-219. 10.1007/s11207-012-0023-8
  • Chandrashekhar, K, SK Prasad, D Banerjee, B Ravindra and DB Seaton. (AUG 2013). Dynamics of Coronal Bright Points as Seen by Sun Watcher Using Active Pixel System Detector and Image Processing (SWAP), Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA), and Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI). SOLAR PHYSICS, 286(1), 125-142. 10.1007/s11207-012-0046-1
  • Raftery, CL, DS Bloomfield, PT Gallagher, DB Seaton, D Berghmans and A De Groof. (AUG 2013). Temperature Response of the 171 angstrom Passband of the SWAP Imager on PROBA2, with a Comparison to TRACE, SOHO, STEREO, and SDO. SOLAR PHYSICS, 286(1), 111-124. 10.1007/s11207-013-0266-z
  • Zender, J, D Berghmans, DS Bloomfield, CC Parada, I Dammasch, A De Groof, E DHuys, M Dominique, P Gallagher, B Giordanengo, PA Higgins, JF Hochedez, MS Yalim, B Nicula, E Pylyser, L Sanchez-Duarte, G Schwehm, DB Seaton, A Stanger, K Stegen and S Willems. (AUG 2013). The Projects for Onboard Autonomy (PROBA2) Science Centre: Sun Watcher Using APS Detectors and Image Processing (SWAP) and Large-Yield Radiometer (LYRA) Science Operations and Data Products. SOLAR PHYSICS, 286(1), 93-110. 10.1007/s11207-012-0033-6
  • Halain, JP, D Berghmans, DB Seaton, B Nicula, A De Groof, M Mierla, A Mazzoli, JM Defise and P Rochus. (AUG 2013). The SWAP EUV Imaging Telescope. Part II: In-flight Performance and Calibration. SOLAR PHYSICS, 286(1), 67-91. 10.1007/s11207-012-0183-6
  • Seaton, DB, D Berghmans, B Nicula, JP Halain, A De Groof, T Thibert, DS Bloomfield, CL Raftery, PT Gallagher, F Auchere, JM Defise, E DHuys, JH Lecat, E Mazy, P Rochus, L Rossi, U Schuhle, V Slemzin, MS Yalim and J Zender. (AUG 2013). The SWAP EUV Imaging Telescope Part I: Instrument Overview and Pre-Flight Testing. SOLAR PHYSICS, 286(1), 43-65. 10.1007/s11207-012-0114-6
  • Seaton, DB, A De Groof, P Shearer, D Berghmans and B Nicula. (1-Nov 2013). SWAP OBSERVATIONS OF THE LONG-TERM, LARGE-SCALE EVOLUTION OF THE EXTREME-ULTRAVIOLET SOLAR CORONA. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 777(1). 10.1088/0004-637X/777/1/72
  • BenMoussa, A, S Gissot, U Schuhle, G Del Zanna, F Auchere, S Mekaoui, AR Jones, D Walton, CJ Eyles, G Thuillier, D Seaton, IE Dammasch, G Cessateur, M Meftah, V Andretta, D Berghmans, D Bewsher, D Bolsee, L Bradley, DS Brown, PC Chamberlin, S Dewitte, LV Didkovsky, M Dominique, FG Eparvier, T Foujols, D Gillotay, B Giordanengo, JP Halain, RA Hock, A Irbah, C Jeppesen, DL Judge, M Kretzschmar, DR McMullin, B Nicula, W Schmutz, G Ucker, S Wieman, D Woodraska and TN Woods. (NOV 2013). On-Orbit Degradation of Solar Instruments. SOLAR PHYSICS, 288(1), 389-434. 10.1007/s11207-013-0290-z
  • Dolla, L, C Marque, DB Seaton, T Van Doorsselaere, M Dominique, D Berghmans, C Cabanas, A De Groof, W Schmutz, A Verdini, MJ West, J Zender and AN Zhukov. (10-Apr 2012). TIME DELAYS IN QUASI-PERIODIC PULSATIONS OBSERVED DURING THE X2.2 SOLAR FLARE ON 2011 FEBRUARY 15. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL LETTERS, 749(1). 10.1088/2041-8205/749/1/L16
  • Murphy, NA, MP Miralles, CL Pope, JC Raymond, HD Winter, KK Reeves, DB Seaton, AA van Ballegooijen and J Lin. (20-May 2012). ASYMMETRIC MAGNETIC RECONNECTION IN SOLAR FLARE AND CORONAL MASS EJECTION CURRENT SHEETS. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 751(1). 10.1088/0004-637X/751/1/56
  • Savage, SL, G Holman, KK Reeves, DB Seaton, DE McKenzie and Y Su. (20-Jul 2012). LOW-ALTITUDE RECONNECTION INFLOW-OUTFLOW OBSERVATIONS DURING A 2010 NOVEMBER 3 SOLAR ERUPTION. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 754(1). 10.1088/0004-637X/754/1/13
  • Seaton, DB, M Mierla, D Berghmans, AN Zhukov and L Dolla. (20-Jan 2011). SWAP-SECCHI OBSERVATIONS OF A MASS-LOADING TYPE SOLAR ERUPTION. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL LETTERS, 727(1). 10.1088/2041-8205/727/1/L10
  • Pasachoff, JM, V Rusin, H Druckmullerova, M Saniga, M Lu, C Malamut, DB Seaton, L Golub, AJ Engell, SW Hill and R Lucas. (20-Jun 2011). STRUCTURE AND DYNAMICS OF THE 2010 JULY 11 ECLIPSE WHITE-LIGHT CORONA. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 734(2). 10.1088/0004-637X/734/2/114
  • Shugay, YS, IS Veselovsky, DB Seaton and D Berghmans. (DEC 2011). Hierarchical approach to forecasting recurrent solar wind streams. SOLAR SYSTEM RESEARCH, 45(6), 546-556. 10.1134/S0038094611060086
  • Gibson, SE, TA Kucera, D Rastawicki, J Dove, G De Toma, J Hao, S Hill, HS Hudson, C Marque, PS McIntosh, L Rachmeler, KK Reeves, B Schmieder, DJ Schmit, DB Seaton, AC Sterling, D Tripathi, DR Williams and M Zhang. (1-Dec 2010). THREE-DIMENSIONAL MORPHOLOGY OF A CORONAL PROMINENCE CAVITY. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 724(2), 1133-1146. 10.1088/0004-637X/724/2/1133
  • Seaton, DB and TG Forbes. (10-Aug 2009). AN ANALYTICAL MODEL FOR RECONNECTION OUTFLOW JETS INCLUDING THERMAL CONDUCTION. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 701(1), 348-359. 10.1088/0004-637X/701/1/348
  • Reeves, KK, DB Seaton and TG Forbes. (1-Mar 2008). Field line shrinkage in flares observed by the X-ray telescope on Hinode. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 675(1), 868-874. 10.1086/526336
  • Winebarger, AR, HP Warren and DB Seaton. (20-Aug 2003). Evolving active region loops observed with the Transition Region and Coronal Explorer. I. Observations. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 593(2), 1164-1173. 10.1086/376679
  • Pasachoff, JM, BA Babcock, KD Russell and DB Seaton. (JUN 2002). Short-period waves that heat the corona detected at the 1999 eclipse. SOLAR PHYSICS, 207(2), 241-257. 10.1023/A:1016297800478
  • Seaton, DB and RB Partridge. (JAN 2001). Possible radio afterglow of a 1989 gamma-ray burst. PUBLICATIONS OF THE ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF THE PACIFIC, 113(779), 6-9. 10.1086/317984
  • Seaton, DB, AR Winebarger, EE DeLuca, L Golub, KK Reeves and PT Gallagher. (20-Dec 2001). Active region transient events observed with TRACE. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 563(2), L173-L177. 10.1086/338737