S t e v e  K e i l
Director, National Solar Observatory

Greetings from sunny New Mexico!

My name is Steve Keil and on April 1, 1999 I became the Director of the National Solar Observatory. For the past 21 years, I have lived and worked as part of the Air Force’s solar research team located at Sacramento Peak in Sunspot, New Mexico. My main scientific interest is to understand the causes of solar activity and variability that effect the Earth and its near-space environment. This has led me to study the interaction of gas motions (such as waves and convection) with magnetic fields in the solar atmosphere. This Interaction produces solar activity and variability that often degrades communications (radio and television) and could harm spacecraft and astronauts.

In addition to conducting research at Sacramento Peak I am responsible for building a space instrument called the Solar Mass Ejection Imager (SMEI) which will be able to watch mass ejected from the sun as it propagates to the earth. SMEI will give us early warning of impending magnetic storms in the Earth’s atmosphere and will help us manage the safety of our satellites and protect our communications systems.

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