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James McAteer
Assistant Professor
Office: 206 Astronomy
Phone: (575)646-4087
Fax: (575)646-1602
E-mail: mcateer
(append "@nmsu.edu")
Ph.D.Queen's University Belfast ,2003
B.S. Queen's University Belfast , 2000

Professor McAteer Bio

Dr R.T.James McAteer is an assistant professor at New Mexico State Universtity, where he leads the Solar Physics and Space Weather research group. He currently runs multiple NASA and NSF grants, including an NSF Career Award. Prior to 2010, he held a a Marie Curie fellowship at Trinity College Dublin (2008-2010), and worked as a STEREO scientist and held a NRC Research Associateshipe at NASA / GSFC (2004-2008). He completed his PhD thesis at Queens University Belfast in 2004

Prospective PhD students and Research positions

If you would like to pursue a Phd in Solar Physics and Space Weather, please contact Professor McAteer directly at the email or phone number above. Detailed information on research projects are also available at his research website. There is immediate funding available for multiple projects of PhD research and Postdoctoral study with Professor McAteer, including data from Solar Dynamics Observatory , STEREO , and the National Solar Observatory. It is expected that a student will undergo a lot of travel within USA (including Hawaii) and abroad during their time at NMSU. There are also opportunities in receiving training in advanced image processing, scientific reading, scientific writing, proposal writing, large database management, and scientific instrument design.

There are current postdoctoral research opportunites in the broad area of heliophsyics, under funding from NASA Eddy fellowships, or NSF postdoctoral grants. There are also opportunities for postdoctoral researchers to work in collaboration with NASA and the the National Solar Observatory. Email Professor McAteer directly for details.

Undergraduate research students at NMSU. There are research opportunites in solar coronal seismology funded by NSF and the New Mexico Space Grant Consotrium.Bring you CV and list of references to my office or speak to me after class.


At graduate level Professor McAteer leads a Heliophysics course (ASTR670) at NMSU and is involved in the Hale Graduate online course. At undergraduate level, you wll find Professor McAteer teaching courses on The Planets (ASTR105G) and Revolutionary Ideas in Astrophsyics (ASTR301V ). These courses focus on modern discoveries in our solar system and beyond. They are taught using inquiry-based learning, team-based learning, and extensive use of iClickers

Social Media

You can follow Professor McAteer's commentary on current trends in astrophysics on Facebook, on his AMacroJot blog and @ProfMcAteer on Twitter
ProfJames McAteer | 
AMacroJot Blog



A full and up-to-date publication list can be obtained via NASA ADS

Current Projects

Professor McAteer's research covers the entire breadth of solar physics: from his PhD work on the dynamics of the quiet Sun; to studying active region magnetic fields and solar flares; and including the initiation and propagation of coronal mass ejections (CMEs). He uses spectroscopy, imaging, and detailed modeling to analyze data across a vast array of temporal, size and energy scales. His current research interests can be divided into three broad areas:

(1) Fundamental solar physics , including observational evidence for magnetohydrodynamical (MHD) processes including waves and magnetic reconnection. Studies of the chromosphere and corona of the Sun and other stars, and inferring plasma properties. Studies of radio emission from the Sun. Studies of Differential Emission Measures in the corona.
(2) Advancement of solar physics research through the design of high-cadence imaging and high-resolution spectroscopy instruments. Design of new high performance computing and advanced signal processing techniques in interpretation of existing and expected data (from both ground- and space-based instrumentation
(3) The Sun-Earth connection, including the effects of space weather throughout the solar system, predicting the onset of solar flares, tracking coronal mass ejections, and modelling the solar wind. This includes studies of the magnetic complexity of active regions and searches for signatures of imminent solar flares, general studies of complexity and turbulence in science, and design of risk management performance measures for space weather predictions. This also includes studies of the solar cycle, and the effects on the Earth and the viability of life.

Current Postdoctoral Researchers

  • Dr Chunming Zhu is tracking filament eruptions and studying filament-filament interactions.
  • Dr Greg Taylor is studying Rayleight Taylor instabilities in filaments.
  • Current Students

  • Dr. McAteer is supervising PhD student Gordon MacDonald on coronal models, solar winds, and coronal mass ejections. This is a collaborative study with scientists at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Kirtland Air Force Base with the aim of refining and improving data drivers for the WSA and ADAPT models. This project is funded by a NASA NEESF fellowship and funding from an NSF Career award.
  • Dr. McAteer is supervising PhD student Sam Schonfeld on solar radio emission F10.7 line. This is a collaborative study with scientists at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Kirtland Air Force Base with the aim of combining data from the Very Large Array and the Solar Dynamics Observatory. This project is funded by a AFOSR reseach award and funding from an NSF Career award.
  • Dr. McAteer is supervising PhD student Laurel Farris on coronal seismology. This project is funded by an NSF Career award.
  • Dr McAteer is science supervisor for Engineering PhD studeent Amani Al-Ghraibah on automated active region feature detecion, and Engineering Masters studeent Meghala Valluri on coronal hole detection.
  • Dr McAteer leads undergraduate research projects on the SDO oscillations detetction program, research on the dynamics of small scale photopsheric features, and research on rapidly growing, flare-producing active regions.

  • Completed projects and collaborations at NMSU

    Postdoctoral researchers

  • Dr. Alexandra Andic worked on studies of quiet Sun dynamics and active region flux emergence
  • Dr. Vigeesh Gangadharan worked on MHD simulations of waves in the lower solar atmosphere
  • Previous PhD Students

  • Dr Greg Taylor, An Adaptive Optics system for NSO , curently a postdoctoral fellolow at NMSU
  • Dr Michael Kirk, Solar Flare Brightenings , curently a NASA postdoctoral fellolow at NASA / GSFC
  • Previous Undergraduate Research Students

  • Brandon Calabro, Coronal Seismology , currently in graduate school at UT San Antonio
  • Fernando Delgado, Active Region Evolution , currently in graduate school at Montana State University
  • Cedric Ramesh, Chromopsheric Bright Points , currently in graduate school at University of Alabama
  • PhD students prior to NMSU

  • Dr Eoin Carley, Radio Shocks and CMES , currently a postdoctoral fellow in Dublin
  • Dr Pietro Zucca, Radio Shocks, currently completing his PhD in Dublin
  • Dr Paul Conlon, Active Regions Complexity , currently working in financial markets
  • Dr Claire Raftery, Solar Flares and CMEs, currently a researcher at Berkeley
  • Dr Jason Bryne, CMEs in 3D, currently a a researcher at University of Hawaii
  • Dr David Long, Globally Propagating Coronal Bright Fronts , currently a researcher at MSSL, London
  • Dr Paul Higgins, Active Region Identification and Extraction, currently a researcher at Lockheed Martin, CA
  • Dr Shane Maloney, Coronal Mass Ejections and the Solar Wind, currently working in industrial research in Dublin
  • Dr David Jess, currently a lecturer at Queen's Belfast
  • Dr Shaun Bloomfield, currently a postdoctoral researcher at Trinity College Dublin