About Dr. Peter Foukal

Welcome to our resume and bibliography page. Please click on any subject area on the left for background details and information.


B.S (Physics), McGill University
Ph.D. (Astrophysics), Manchester University, U.K.


Research Fellow in Astronomy, California Institute of Technology
Research Associate and Lecturer, Astronomy Department, Harvard University
Harlow Shapley Lecturer, American Astronomical Society
Member USRA Committee on the “Future Perspectives of Solar Research”
NATO Senior Fellow, Nice Observatory France
Member, National Academy of Sciences Panel on “Solar- Terrestrial Physics in the 1980’s”
Senior Scientist and Vice President, Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts
Member, NASA Solar Beacon Science Study Team
Chairman, National Academy of Sciences Ad Hoc Panel on Solar Synoptic Observations
1983- 2010
Member, Board of Trustees and Corporation, Wheelock College, Boston, Massachusetts
Member, Ad Hoc Advisory Committee to Mt. Wilson Observatory
Founder and CEO, Cambridge Research & Instrumentation, Inc.
Member, Evaluation Panel, National Research Council Research Associateship Program
Consultant, NASA Summer Study on Scientific Uses of the Space Station
Member, National Academy of Sciences Panel on Solar-Terrestrial Data Bases
Member, Instrument and Projects Advisory Committee, National Optical Astronomy Observatories
Member, Advisory Committee on Atmospheric Sciences, National Science Foundation
Chairman, NASA Solar Physics SR&T Peer Review Panel
Member, Solar Panel, NRC Astronomy Survey Committee
Chairman, Steering Committee, Program on Radiative Inputs of the Sun to Earth (RISE), National Science Foundation
Member, Hale Prize Committee, Solar Physics Division, American Astronomical Society
Member, Visiting Committee, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado
Member, Visiting Committee, National Optical Astronomy Observatories
Member, Editorial Board, Solar Physics
President, Commission 12, International Astronomical Union; (and President of IAU Division II)
Member, Steering Committee on Targeted Research and Technology, NASA Living-With-A-Star Program
Member, National Academy of Sciences Panel on Sun-Climate Influences

Professional Societies

  American Astronomical Society, American Geophysical Union, International Astronomical Union

Click on the general subject area at the left for a listing of our principal publications.

The Sun: Solar Rotation and Convection

“Magnetic Coupling of the Active Chromosphere to the Solar Interior”; Ap.J. 173, 149 (1972).
“On the Rotation of Gas and Magnetic Fields at the Solar Photosphere”; P.V. Foukal and J.R. Jokipii , Ap.J. Lett. 199, 71(1975).
“Spectroscopic Evidence for a Higher Rotation Rate of Magnetized Plasma at the Solar Photosphere”; Ap.J.Lett.203, 145 (1975).
“Supergranulation and the Dynamics of Gas and Magnetic Field Below the Solar Photosphere”; Ap.J.218, 539-546 (1977).
“A Doppler Measurement with Low Scattered Light of the Higher Rotation Rate of Sunspots at the Photosphere”; Ap.J.234, 716 (1979).
“Comment on: ‘Average Photospheric Poloidal and Toroidal Magnetic Field Components near Solar Minimum”; P. Foukal and T. Duvall, Solar Physics 67, 9 (1980).
“On the Interpretation of Fraunhofer-Line Doppler Shifts at Supergranule Boundaries”; P. Miller, P. Foukal, and S. Keil, Solar Physics, 92, 33 (1984).
“Active Region Flows”; in Theoretical Problems in High Resolution Solar Physics II, NASA Conference Publication 2483, G. Athay and D. Spicer, eds., 1987.

The Sun: Chromosphere and Corona

“A Three Component Concept of the Chromosphere and Transition Region”; Solar Physics 37, 317 (1974).
“EUV Observations of Sunspots with the Harvard Spectrometer on ATM”; P.V. Foukal, J.E. Vernazza, R.W. Noyes, E.M. Reeves, E.J. Schmahl, J.G. Timothy, and G.L. Withbroe, Ap.J.Lett. 199, 71 (1974).
“The Temperature Structure and Pressure Balance of Active Region Loops”; Solar Physics 43, 317 (1975).
“Plasma Diagnostic Techniques in the Ultraviolet: The C III Density-Sensitive Lines in the Sun”;A.K. Dupree, P.V. Foukal, and C. Jordan, Ap.J. 209, 621 (1976).
“The Pressure and Energy Balance of the Cool Corona over Sunspots”; Ap.J. 210, 575 (1976).
“Magnetic Loops, Downflows, and Convection in the Solar Corona” Ap.J. 223, 1046,(1978).
“Comments on the Thermodynamic Structure and Dynamics of the Cool Solar Corona over Sunspots”, in “Physics of Sunspots”; L. Cram and J. Thomas, eds., SPO publication, p.191, 1981.
“ Propagation of Magnetically Guided Acoustic Shocks in the Solar Chromosphere”; P.V. Foukal and M. Smart, Solar Physics 69, 15 (1981).
“The C I Opacity and Physical Structure of Cool, Very Dense Plasma in the Solar Corona”; Ap.J.245, 304 (1981).
- “The Thermal Structure of Solar Coronal Loops and Implications for Physical Models of Coronae”; J. Raymond and P Foukal. Ap.J.253, 323 (1982)
“Darkness Can Illuminate”; Nature (News and Views) 358, 285 (1992).

The Sun: Solar Irradiance Variation and Terrestrial Impacts

“The Effect of Sunspots and Faculae on the Solar Constant”; P.V. Foukal, P.E. Mack, and J.E.Vernazza, Ap.J 215, 952 (1977).
“The Effect of Magnetic Fields on Solar Luminosity”; P.V. Foukal and J.E.Vernazza, Ap.J 234, 707 (1979).
“Solar Luminosity Variation; Observational Evidence and Basic Mechanisms”; Invited review presented at AAS Meeting, Wellesley, MA June 1979, BAAS 11, 423.
“Solar Luminosity Variation on Short Time Scales”; Invited review presented at the Conference on the Ancient Sun: Fossil Record in the Earth, Moon, and Meteorites.R. Pepin, J. Eddy, and R. Merrill, eds., Pergamon Press.
“On the Secular Behavior of Seasonal Changes in Ozone Column Density”; J. Vernazza and P.V. Foukal, Geophys. Res. Lett. 7, 993 (1980).
“Solar Luminosity Variation on Human Time Scales: Observational Evidence and Basic Mechanisms”; Invited review presented at meeting of American Geophysical Union, Toronto, Ontario, May 27, 1980, in EOS 61, 355 (1980).
“Solar Luminosity Variations on Time Scales 102-104 secs; Invited review in “Sun and Climate”;(CNRS publication), R. Kandel, ed., p.275, 1981.
“Sunspots and Changes in the Global Output of the Sun”; Invited review in “Physics of Sunspots”; L. Cram and J. Thomas, eds., SPO publication, p.391, 1981.
“Possible Influences of the Variable Sun”; Introductory review presented at the “Workshop on Solar-Terrestrial Effects on the Lower Atmosphere; Twin Cities, Minnesota, May 19, 1981, ONR report 81-6, G. Freier, W. Cross, eds., p.3, 1981.
“Variations of Solar Luminosity”; Invited review in 2nd Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars Stellar Systems and the Sun”; M. Giampapa and S. Golub, eds., SAO special report 392, volume II, p.17, 1981.
“A Thermal Model of Sunspot Influence on Solar Luminosity”; P. Foukal, L. Fowler, and M.Livshits, Ap.J. 267, 863 (1983).
“A Summary of the IAU Joint Discussion at Patras, Greece, on Solar Luminosity Variations”; J. Eddy and P. Foukal, in Highlights of Astronomy, 6, 79 (1983).
“Radiometric and Photometric Studies of Solar Luminosity Variations”; Invited review in the “Proceedings of the Indo-U.S. Workshop on Solar-Terrestrial Research” held in New Delhi, Jan 30-Feb. 3, 1984, M. Kundu, ed., National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi.
“Solar Luminosity Variation”; Invited review in the proceedings of the Third Neutrino Astronomy Conference, Homestake Mine, Lead, South Dakota, August 23-25, 1984.
“The Influence of Faculae on Sunspot Heat Blocking”; W.H Chiang and P. Foukal, Solar Physics 97, 9 (1985).
“The Influence of Magnetic Faculae on Total Solar Irradiance and Luminosity”; P. Foukal and J. Lean, Ap.J 302, 826 (1986).
“Physical Interpretation of Total Solar Irradiance Variations”; Invited review presented at the AGU Special Session on Solar Variability, San Francisco, December 9-13, 1985, Journal of Geophysical Research, 92, 801 (1987).
“Magnetic Modulation of Solar Luminosity by Photospheric Activity”; P. Foukal and J. Lean, Ap.J.328, 347 (1988).
“A Model of Solar Luminosity Modulation by Magnetic Activity Between 1954 and 1984”;J. Lean and P. Foukal, Science 240, 906 (1988).
“Theoretical Interpretation of Total Solar Irradiance Variation”; Adv. Space Res. 8, No. 7, 43 (1989).
“Solar Luminosity Variations Over Time Scales of Days to the Last Few Solar Cycles”; Invited review presented at the Royal Society, London, Feb. 1989, Phil.Tans.Soc., Lond. A, 330, 591, (1990).
“An Empirical Model of Total Solar Irradiance Variation 1874 - 1988”; P. Foukal and J.Lean, Science 247, 566 (1990).
“Solar Irradiance Variability from Modern Measurements”; C. Frohlich, P. Foukal, J. Hickey, H. Hudson and R. Willson, in “The Sun in Time”; C. Sonnet et al. eds. P., 11 (1991).
“Do Changes in the Photospheric Magnetic Network Cause the 11-Year Variation in Total Solar Irradiance?”; P. Foukal, K. Harvey and F. Hill, Ap.Jlett.383, 89 (1991).
“Solar Luminosity Variation”; invited review presented in October 1991 at the 12th NSO/SPO Summer Workshop-The Solar Cycle, Astr.Soc. of the Pacific Conference Series 27, 439; K. Harvey, ed (1992).
“Stellar Luminosity Variations and Global Warming”; Science 264, 238 (1994).
“Study of Solar Irradiance”; Eos 75, 381 (1994).
“Solar Irradiance Variability and Luminosity Changes”; Invited review presented at the IAU General Assembly, The Hague, extended abstract in highlights of Astronomy 10, 294, I. Appenzeller, ed. (1995).
“A Measurement of the Quiet Network Contribution to Solar Irradiance Variation”; P. Foukal and L. Milano, Geophys. Res. Letts. 28, 883 (2001).
“A Comparison of Variable Solar Total and Ultraviolet Irradiances in the 20th Century”. Geophys Res Letts, 29,23 (2002).
“Can Slow Variations in Solar Luminosity Provide a Link Between Sun and Climate?” Eos, 84,205,(2003).
“ A Stellar View on Solar Variations and Climate.” P.Foukal, G.North and T.Wigley, Science, 306, 68, (2004).
Comment on: ”Variations in TSI Produced by Structural Changes in the Solar Interior.” P.Foukal and H. Spruit, Eos, 85, 52,(2004).
“Variations in Solar Luminosity and Their Effect on the Earth’s Climate.” P.Foukal, C. Frohlich, H. Spruit, and T. Wigley, Nature, 443, 161, (2006).
“Did the Sun’s Prairie Ever Stop Burning?” P.Foukal and J. Eddy, Solar Phys. 245, 247,(2007).
“Do Photospheric Brightness Structures Outside Magnetic Flux Tubes Contribute to Solar Luminosity Variation?” P.Foukal and P. Bernasconi, Solar Phys. 248, 1, (2008).
“Dimming of the 17th Century Sun.” P. Foukal, A. Ortiz, and R. Schneer, Ap.J Letts.. 733, 38 (2011).
“A New Look at Solar Irradiance Variation.” Solar Phys. 279, 365 (2012).
"Dimming of the Mid-20th Centrury Sun." Ap.J 815, 9 (2015)

The Sun: Photospheric Photometry

“Detection of a Temperature Deficit in Magnetic Faculae at the Solar Photosphere”; P.V. Foukal, T. Duvall, and B. Gillespie, Ap.J. 249, 394 (1981).
“Variations in Photospheric Limb Darkening as a Diagnostic of Changes in Solar Luminosity”; W. Rosen, P. Foukal, R. Kurucz, and K. Pierce, Ap.J. 253, 89 (1982).
“Sunspot Bright Rings and the Thermal Diffusivity of Solar Convection”; L. Fowler, P. Foukal, and T. Duvall, Solar Physics 84, 33 (1983).
“Photometric Studies of Heat Flow at the Photosphere”; Invited paper in “Proceedings of a Workshop on Solar Irradiance Variations on Active Region Time Scales”; Pasadena, CA, June 20-21, 1983 (NASA publication 2310, B. Labonte, G. Chapman, H. Hudson, and R. Willson, eds., 1984).
“A Photometric Study of Heat Flow at the Photosphere”; P. Foukal and L. Fowler, Ap.J. 281, 442 (1984).
“A Study of Solar Photospheric Limb Darkening Variations”; L. Petro, P. Foukal, W. Rosen, and K. Pierce, Ap.J. 283, 426 (1984).
“Differential Photometry of Magnetic Faculae at the Solar Photosphere”; P. Foukal and T. Duvall, Ap.J. 296, 739 (1985).
“A Photometric Search for Solar Giant Convection Cells”; W.H Chiang, L.Petro, and P. Foukal, Solar Physics 110, 129 (1987).
“Comment on Asymmetry and Variations of Solar Limb Darkening Along the Diameter Defined by Diurnal Motion in April 1981 by Neckel and Labs, 1987”; P. Foukal, Solar Physics 120, 249 (1989).
“Infrared Imaging of Sunspots and Faculae at the Photospheric Opacity Minimum”; P. Foukal, R. Little and J. Mooney, Ap.J (Letters) 336, 33 (1989).
“Infrared Imaging of Faculae at the Deepest Photospheric Layers’; P. Foukal, R. Little, J. Graves, D. Rabin, and D. Lynch, Ap. J. 353, 712 (1990).
“A Photometric Study of Faculae and Sunspots Between 1.2 um and 1.6 um”; T. Moran, P. Foukal and D. Rabin, Solar Physics 142, 35 (1992).
“Properties of Faculae from Observations Near the Opacity Minimum”; P. Foukal and T. Moran in Proceedings of IAU Symposium No. 154, D. Rabin, et al. (1994), p. 23.
“A Bolometric Imager for Solar Irradiance Studies” SPIE Proceedings, 3442, 34 (1998).
“Total-Light Imager with Flat Spectral Response for Solar Photometric Measurements” P. Foukal and S.
“ Broad – Band Measurements of Facular Photometric Contrast With the Solar Bolometric Imager.” P.Foukal, P.Bernasconi, H. Eaton, D. Rust, Ap.J. Letts 611, 57, (2004).

The Sun: Coronal Electric Fields

“Electric Fields in Coronal Magnetic Loops”; P. Foukal, P. Miller, and L. Gilliam, Solar Physics 83, 83 (1983).
“Interpretation of Electric Fields in Coronal Magnetic Loops”; P. Foukal and D. Landman, in the Proceedings of the IAU Colloquium No. 86 on EUV and X-ray Spectroscopy of Astrophysical Plasmas, G. Doschek, ed., NRL publication, P.25, 1984.
“Electric Fields and Plasma Structure in Coronal Magnetic Loops”; P. Foukal, C. Hoyt, and L. Gilliam, Ap.J. 303, 861 (1986).
“Paschen-Line Stark-Broadening as an Electric Field Diagnostic in an Erupting Prominence”;P. Foukal, R. Little and L. Gilliam, Solar Physics 114, 65 (1988).
“Observation and Interpretation of Electric Fields in the Solar Atmosphere: A Review”; P. Foukal and S. Hinata, Solar Physics 132, 307 (1991).
“Measurement of Polarization-Dependent Stark Broadening as a Diagnostic of Electric Fields in the Solar Atmosphere”; T. Moran and P. Foukal in ‘Solar Polarimetry”, L. November ed., Sacramento Peak Observatory Publication, p. 393 (1991).
“An Electrograph for Measurement of Macroscopic Electric Fields in Prominences and Flares”; T. Moran and P. Foukal, Solar Physics 135, 179 (1991).
“Measurement of Electric Fields in Coronal Magnetic Structures”; P. Foukal and B. Behr, in IAU Colloquium 144, V. Rusin et al. eds., (1994) p. 177.
“Testing MHD Models of Prominences and Flares with Observations of Solar Plasma Electric Fields”; P. Foukal and B. Behr, Solar Physics p. 156, 293 (1995).
“Spectrapolarimetry of the 15-9 Transition of H I as a Diagnostic of Plasma Electric Fields”; P. Foukal and R. Casini; Bull.Amer.Astr.Soc.June, 1996.
“Calculated Profiles of H I Lines of Interest for Solar Plasma Electric Field Measurement”; R. Casino and P. Foukal, Solar Physics 163, 65 (1996).
“Plasma Electric Field Measurements as a Diagnostic of Neutral Sheets in Prominences” Proceedings of IAU colloquium 167, D Webb et al., eds., p.119, (1998).

The Sun: Magnetic Activity Indices

“The Curious Case of the Greenwich Faculae”; Solar Physics 148, 219 (1993).
“The Behavior of Solar Magnetic Plages Measured from Mt. Wilson Observations Between 1915-1984”; Geophys. Res.Letts.23, 2169 (1996).
“What Determines the Relative Areas of Spots and Faculae on Sun-Like Stars?’; Ap.J.500, 958 (1998).
“Extension of the F10.7 index to 1905 using Mt. Wilson Ca K Spectroheliograms” Geophys.Res.Letts.25, 2909 (1998).
"A Century of Solar Ca II Measurements and Their Implication for Solar UV Driving of Climate" P.Foukal et al. Solar Phys. 255, 229 (2009).
Comment on "A homogeneous database of sunspot areas covering more than 130 years" by L.A. Balmacceda et al. J.Geophys. Res. 115, A09102, (2010)
"An Explanation of the Differences Between the Sunspot Area Scales of the Royal Greenwich and Mt. Wilson Observatories and the SOON Program" Solar Phys. 289, 1517 (2014)

The Sun: Solar Flares

“The Development and Flaring of an Active Region Exhibiting Unusual Magnetic Structure”; Solar Physics 13, 330 (1970).
“Measurements of the Electron Temperature of Small 3-cm Radio Bursts”; Solar Physics 24, 411 (1972)

The Sun: Magnetic Field Structure and Filaments

“Morphological Relationships in the Chromospheric H-alpha Fine Structure”; Solar Physics 19, 59 (1971).
“Chirality, Helicity, and Joy’s Law”; Invited Summary presented at IAU Colloquium 167, op.cit. (1998) p.446.


“The Use of Cavity Radiometers as Broad-Band Detectors of Solar Ultraviolet Flux Variation” in “Proceedings of the Workshop on Solar UV Irradiance Monitors”; Boulder, CO, July 31-August 1, 1980 (NOAA-ERL publication). R. Donnelly, ed., p.69, 1980
“A Helium-Cooled Absolute Cavity Radiometer for Solar and Laboratory Irradiance Measurement”; P. Foukal and P. Miller, SPIE Proceedings, 416, 197 (1983)
"A Helium-Cooled Absolute Cavity Radiometer for Irradiance Measurements in the Laboratory and from Space Platforms”; P. Foukal, C. Hoyt, and P. Miller in Advances in Absolute Radiometry”; proceedings of a conference held in Cambridge, MA, June 24-25, 1985, P. Foukal, ed.
“Advances in Absolute Radiometry”; P. Foukal, ed., Proceedings of an International Meeting held in Cambridge, MA June 24-25, 1985.
“Comparison Between a Side-Viewing Cryogenic Radiometer and Self-calibrated Silicon Photodiodes”; C. Hoyt, P. Miller, P. Foukal, and E.Zalewski, SPIE Proceedings, 1109, 236 (1989)
“Cryogenic Absolute Radiometers as Laboratory Irradiance Standards, Remote Sensing Detectors and Pyrheliometers”; P. Foukal, C. Hoyt, H. Kochling and P. Miller, Invited review presented at “CORM 89” National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, May 17-19, 1989, Applied Optics 29, 988 (1990)
“Cryogenic Radiometers for Remote Sensing and Pyrheliometry”; P. Foukal, C. Hoyt, and P. Miller, Metrologia 28, 255 (1991)
“Cryogenic Radiometers and Intensity-Stabilized Lasers for EOS Radiometric Calibrations”; P. Foukal, C. Hoyt, and L. Jauniskis, SPIE Proceedings 1493, 72 (1991)
“Calibration of Ultraviolet Spectrometers Using Stabilized Laser and a Cryogenic Cavity Radiometer”; L. Jauniskis, P. Foukal and H. Kochling, Applied Optics 31, 5838 (1992)
“Application of Cryogenic Electrical Substitution Radiometers in the Calibration of Solar-Terrestrial Remote Sensing Instruments”; Invited review presented at NEWRAD, Baltimore, MD, Oct., 1992, Metrologia 30, 279 (1993)
“Advanced Absolute Radiometers Using Superconducting Transition Thermometers’; S. Libonate and P. Foukal, Metrologia, 37, 369 (2000)

Diffuse Nebulae

“The Electron Temperature and Internal Kinematics of M8”; Astrophys. and Space Science 4, 127 (1969)
“The Electron Temperature and Internal Kinematics of Seven Diffuse Nebulae”; Astrophys. and Space Science 5, 469 (1969)
“Image-Tube Photography of Diffuse Nebulae in SIII 9532”; Ap. 173, 591 (1972)
“A Measurement of Electron Temperature in the Orion Nebula from the Intensity Ratio of
Forbidden Transitions in S III”; PASP 86, 211 (1974)

The Moon

“A Possible Observational Correlation of Lunar Luminescence with the Kp Index”; Icarus 9, 162 (1968)

The Sun: Popular Articles

“Portrait of a Useful Star”; Griffith Observer 43, 2 (1979).
“Magnetic Loops in the Sun’s Atmosphere”; Sky and Telescope 62, 547 (1982).
“Does the Sun’s Luminosity Vary?”; Sky and Telescope 59, 111 (1980).
“The Variable Sun”; P. Foukal, Scientific American 262, 34 (1990).
"How Reconstruction of Solar Irradiance Variation Helps Us Understand Climate Change" Solar Observer, April 2010 http://solar-observer.com
"The Search for Magnetic Reconnection in Solar Flares." Physics Today, 61, 8 (2014).

The Sun: Books

“Solar Astrophysics”; Wiley-Interscience. 475 pp., May 1990; 3rd Revised Edition, Wiley – VCH, 2013
"Gus Meets the Queen" (Available from the author)

The Sun: Other Publications

“Induction Versus Deduction - Clues to Understanding Gender Differences in Approach to Science?” Gazette of the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics, American Physical Society, 22, 9 ( 2003)
“Will Astronomy be Next to Hit the Funding Wall?” AAS Newsletter # 125 (2005)
“Per Aerospace Ad Astra” AAS Newsletter # 134, (2007). “Scientific Entrepreneurship as a Career Path for Astronomers.” AAS Newsletter July/Aug (2009).
“John A. Eddy: An Obituary.” Physics Today, 63, 60 (2010).
“More Than One Fund for U.S. Entrepreneurs” Nature 479, 174 (2011).
"Harold Zirin: An Obituary."  Bull. Amer. Astr. Soc. 44, 8 (2012)
"The Scientist as Entrepreneur" Coronal Courant, Vol.1, #3 (2011)
"A Different Pathway to the Stars" Sky and Telescope 123, 39 (2012)
"In a Land of Flab, Pedestrians Are Viewd as Suspicious." Boston Globe Letters, April 11, 2012
"Follow Obama's Lead and Take A Pay Cut." Nature 500 , 151 (2013).
"Rewards and Risks for Physicist Entrepreneurs." Physics Today 66 , 8 (2013).
"Really Reaching the Public; Face to Face" EOS, Feb 18, 2014
"Some Day, The Deniers May Have To Answer For Their Claims" Boston Globe Letters, March 1, 2015
"Formation of Society's Upper Crust is Part of What Makes America Work" Boston Globe Letters, May 17, 2016.
"We Need to Pour More Talent into Science, Not More Money" Boston Globe Letters, December 18, 2016.
"Notes on the New Big Science" Physics Today, 70, 3, 12 (2017)