Dr. David Falconer



Dr. Falconer graduated from University of Maryland in 1994, where he analyzed SERTS sounding rocket data under Dr. Davila. Dr. Falconer came to MSFC in 1995 and began analyzing MSFC vector magnetograms to determine what magnetic conditions give rise to strong coronal heating. In 2000, he began looking into quantitative methods of forecasting CMEs from active region magnetic measures. The initial work was to determine which kinds of magnetic measures were most correlated with whether an active region will or will not be CME productive. Over several years the sample size was grown, and the magnetic measures were improved so that they could be measured from active regions of any degree of magnetic complexity. Two of the measures, a measure of active-region magnetic size and a proxy measure of active-region free magnetic energy, can be measured from line-of-sight magnetograms. This allowed the transition to MDI magnetograms which have a higher cadence and more complete coverage than MSFC vector magnetograms. When early work showed promise, under a 1-year NASA/TEI grant, the processing of all full-disk, 96-minute cadence MDI magnetograms was undertaken to produce a database of ~40,000 magnetogram from ~1,300 active regions from ~4,300 active-region days with known flare, CME, and SPE histories. This result has led to the MAG4 flare/CME forecast tool that is presently being used and supported by NASA/Space Radiation Analysis Group. Dr. Falconer has supervised both students and a computer programmer in doing this research. He has participated in Joint Space Weather Summer Schools 2011-2015. He won a Silver Snoopy award for his MAG4 work.


  • Ph.D., Physics, University of Maryland, 1994
  • M.S., Physics, University of Maryland, 1991
  • B.S. in Physics with a minor in computer science, Wright State University, 1986

Selected Publications

  • Falconer, D.A., Moore, R.L., Barghouty, A.F., Khazanov, I 2014, MAG4 Versus Alternative Techniques for Forecasting Active Region Flare Productivity, Space Weather, 12, 306.
  • Sterling, A. C., Moore, R. L., Falconer, D. A., Knox, J. M. 2014, New Aspects of a Lid-removal Mechanism in the Onset of an Eruption Sequence that Produced a Large Solar Energetic Particle (SEP) Event, ApJ, 788, L20.
  • Moore, R. L., Sterling, A. C., Falconer, D. A., Robe, D. 2013, The Cool Component and the Dichotomy, Lateral Expansion, and Axial Rotation of Solar X-Ray Jets, ApJ, 769, 134.
  • Falconer, D. A., Moore, R. L., Barghouty, A. F., and Khazanov, I. 2012, Prior Flaring as a Complement to Free Magnetic Energy for Forecasting Solar Eruptions, ApJ, 757, 32.
  • Moore, R. L., Falconer, D. A., Sterling, A. C. 2012, The Limit of Magnetic-shear Energy in Solar Active Regions, ApJ, 750, 24.
  • Falconer, D. A., Barghouty A. F., Khazanov, I, Moore, R. L., 2011, A Tool for Empirical Forecasting of Major Flares, Coronal Mass Ejections, and Solar Particle Events from a Proxy of Active-Region Free Magnetic Energy, Space Weather, 9, S04003.
  • Falconer, D. A., Moore, R. L., Gary, G. A. & Adams, M. 2009, The “Main Sequence” of Explosive Solar Active Regions: Discovery and Interpretation, ApJ, 700, L166.
  • Falconer, D. A., Moore, R. L., & Gary, G. A. 2008, Magnetogram Measures of Total Nonpotentiality for Prediction of Solar Coronal Mass Ejections from Active Regions of Any Degree of Magnetic Complexity, ApJ, 689, 1433.
  • Winebarger, A. R., Warren, H. P., & Falconer, D. A. 2008, Modeling X-Ray Loops and EUV “Moss” in an Active Region Core, ApJ, 676, 672.
  • Falconer, D. A., Moore, R. L., & Gary, G. A. 2007, Forecasting Coronal Mass Ejections from Line-of-Sight Magnetograms, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 69, 86.
  • Falconer, D. A., Moore, R. L., & Gary, G. A. 2006, Magnetic Causes of Solar Coronal Mass Ejections: Dominance of the Free Magnetic Energy over the Magnetic Twist Alone, ApJ, 644, 1258.
  • Wang, H., Song, H., Jing, J., Yurchyshyn, V., Deng, Y., Zhang, H., Falconer, D., & Li, J. 2006, The Relationship between Magnetic Gradient and Magnetic Shear in Five Super Active Regions Producing Great Flares, Chinese Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 6(4), 477.
  • Liu, C., Deng, N., Liu, Y., Falconer, D., Goode, P. R., Denker, C., & Wang, H. 2005, Rapid Change of d Spot Structure Associated with Seven Major Flares, ApJ, 622, 722.
  • Falconer, D. A., Moore, R. L., & Gary, G. A. 2003, A Measure from Line-of-Sight Magnetograms for Prediction of Coronal Mass Ejections, JGR, 108(A10), 1380.
  • Falconer, D. A., Moore, R. L., & Gary, G. A. 2002, Use of Yohkoh SXT in Measuring the Net Current and CME Productivity of Active Regions, in Multi-Wavelength Observations of Coronal Structure and Dynamics, ed. P. C. H. Martens, & D. P. Cauffman (Amsterdam: Pregamon), 303.
  • Falconer, D. A., Moore, R. L., & Gary, G. A. 2002, Correlation of the Coronal Mass Ejection Productivity of Solar Active Regions with Measures of their Global Nonpotentiality from Vector Magnetograms: Baseline Results, ApJ, 569, 1016.
  • Falconer, D. A. 2001, A Prospective Method for Predicting Coronal Mass Ejections from Vector Magnetograms, JGR, 106(A11), 25185.
  • Falconer, D. A., Gary, G. A., Moore, R. L. & Porter, J. G. 2000, An Assessment of Magnetic Conditions for Strong Coronal Heating in Solar Active Regions by Comparing Observed Loops with Computed Potential Field Lines, ApJ, 528, 1004.
  • Moore, R. L., Falconer, D. A., Porter, J. G. & Suess, S. T. 1999b, On Heating the Sun's Corona by Magnetic Explosions: Feasibility in Active Regions and Prospects for Quiet Regions and Coronal Holes, ApJ, 526, 505.
  • Moore, R. L., Falconer, D. A., Porter, J. G. & Suess, S. T. 1999a, Coronal Heating by Magnetic Explosions, Space Science Reviews, 87, 283.
  • Porter, J. G., Falconer, D. A., and Moore, R. L. 1998, The Magnetic Roots of Enhanced Coronal Heating in Large Loops and Plumes, in “Solar Jets and Coronal Plumes,” ESA 421, ed. T.-D. Guyene (“ESA Publi. Div. ESTEC: Noordwijk) 147.
  • Falconer, D. A., Moore, R. L. Porter, J. G., Gary, G. A. & Shimizu, T. 1997, Neutral-Line Magnetic Shear and Enhanced Coronal Heating in Solar Active Regions, ApJ, 482, 519.
  • Falconer, D. A. 1997, A Correlation between Length of Strong-Shear Neutral Lines and Total X-ray Brightness in Active Regions Solar Physics, 176, 123.
  • Porter, J. G., Falconer, D. A., Moore, R. L., Harvey, K. L., & Rabin, D. M. 1996, Magnetic Roots of Enhanced High Coronal Loops, (in Magnetohydrodynamic Phenomena in the Solar Atmosphere-Prototypes of Stellar Activity, ed., Y. Uchida, T. Kosugi, and H. S. Hudson (Kluwer: Dordrecht), 429).