Coolidge Corner Theatre Brookline, MA


Dr. Katharine Reeves

Astronomer and Solar Physicist, Harvard & Smithsonian

Sunshine— Solar flares

Cillian Murphy, Michelle Yeoh, and Chris Evans star in this mind-twisting 2007 sci-fi film, written by Alex Garland (Ex Machina) and directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting). Harvard astrophysicist Dr. Katharine Reeves discusses her research on solar flares.

Coolidge Corner Theatre Brookline, MA

Film Synopsis

A team of international astronauts is sent on a dangerous mission to reignite the dying Sun with a nuclear fission bomb in 2057.

50 years in the future, the Sun begins to die, and Earth is dying as a result. Though the encroaching darkness at first seems unstoppable, scientists have devised one desperate final plan to buy the human race a temporary reprieve from the grim future that looms just past the horizon. A crew of eight men and women has been given a nuclear device designed to reignite the sun and are sent hurtling through the cosmos on the most crucial space mission ever attempted. Suddenly, as the crew loses radio contact with mission control, everything begins to fall apart. Now, in the farthest reaches of the galaxy, the men and women who may hold the key to ultimate survival find themselves struggling for their lives and their sanity.

About the Speaker

Dr. Katharine Reeves is an astronomer and solar physicist who works at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA). Her research focuses on how thermal energy is transported during solar flares and coronal mass ejections. Dr. Reeves is the Director of the Solar Physics REU program, which brings a diverse group of undergraduate students to The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory every summer to work on data analysis, modeling, and instrumentation projects related to solar physics. The Hinode and IRIS teams that Dr. Reeves is a part of have been awarded numerous awards by NASA for telescope performance and scientific output. In 2016, she was awarded the AAS/SPD Karen Harvey Prize, an early-career award honoring significant contribution to the study of the Sun “for her work elucidating the energetics of solar flares and coronal mass ejections, for her leadership within the multi-national Hinode/X-Ray Telescope project, and for her strong role in scientific education and public outreach.”