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Philip Stahl


I have more than forty years of experience in Astronomy, specifically solar and space physics. My specialties include the physics of solar flares, sunspots, including their effects on Earth and statistics pertaining to sunspot morphology and flare geo-effectiveness.

Experience in the area

Astronomy: Worked at university observatory in college, doing astrographic measurements. Developed first ever astronomy curriculum for secondary schools in Caribbean. Gave workshops in astrophysics and astronomical measurements at Harry Bayley Observatory, Barbados. M.Phil. degree in Physics/Solar Physics and more than twenty years as researcher with discovery of SID flares. Developed of first ever consistent magnetic arcade model for solar flares incorporating energy dissipation and accumulation. Develop first ever loop solar flare model using double layers and incorporating cavity resonators.


American Astronomical Society (Solar Physics and Dynamical Astronomy divisions), American Mathematical Society, American Geophysical Union.


Solar Physics (journal), The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, The Proceedings of the Meudon Solar Flare Workshop (1986), The Proceedings of the Caribbean Physics Conference (1985). Books: 'Selected Analyses in Solar Flare Plasma Dynamics', 'Physics Notes for Advanced Level'. 'Astronomy and Astrophysics: Notes, Problems and Solutions'.


B.A. Astronomy, M. Phil. Physics

Awards and Honors

American Astronomical Society Studentship Award (1984), Barbados Government Award for Solar Research (1980), Barbados Astronomical Society Award for Service as Journal Editor (1977-91)

Past/Present Clients

Caribbean Examinations Council, Barbados Astronomical Society, Trinidad & Tobago Astronomical Society.

What do you like about this subject?

The extent and breadth in the cosmic perspective, and basically 'putting humans in their proper place', disabusing them of an exaggerated sense of self-importance.

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

To achieve: a computer program that can profile different double layer conditions for solar flares. To learn: anything that I haven't already.

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

The discovery of Pluto was a pure fluke based on in error in (Percival) Lowell's calculations. (The mass of Pluto was taken to be 6.6 x the Earth's!)It just turned out that Pluto was where Lowell predicted it was- but his calculations were totally wrong! The right result, for the wrong reason.

Something controversial or provocative about this subject

Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake for daring to speculate that life could exist on other worlds, and writing about it.

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Recent Answers from Philip Stahl

2016-10-18 Moon photograph:

Hello,    Bear in mind the full Moon sets when the Sun rises. This means your photo would need to be takn in the pre-dawn hours which precede the full Moon setting. (Refer to the diagram already sent)

2016-08-13 space telescopes:

Hello,    The Hubble's optics are enclosed because its aperture at 2.4 m (7.9 ft.) made it more practical to do so - apart from the fact it followed an original design to that end. The JWST with six hexagonal

2016-02-23 HELP:

Hello,    There is actually very little difference, given most of modern astronomy is also grounded in modern physics. The primary difference is that astrophysics may go into in in much more detail (e

2016-02-05 Accelerating Universe:

Hello,    No, dark energy is totally novel. Thus, dark energy is a separate concept from dark matter. The former is based entirely on what we call an equation of state, written      w = (p / rho) = -1

2016-02-05 Accelerating Universe:

Hello, and thanks for your question.    Actually, to the extent we trust our measurements (including for the density of the cosmos, red shifts etc.) and we do, the acceleration is real and is tied to what


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