Shadia Rifa’i Habbal is a professor of solar physics at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy. She was raised in Homs, Syria and earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and math from the University of Damascus. She continued her education and obtained a master’s and a doctorate degree in physics from the University of Cincinnati. From 1978, Habbal formed a research group in solar-terrestrial physics at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. In 2005, she began working at the Hawaii Institute for Astronomy. Through her career she has focused on studying solar wind, solar magnetic field, and eclipse polarimetric observations. Habbal has lead ten expeditions to view and study solar eclipses around the world. She has also worked with NASA on multiple occasions observing the solar corona during eclipses and helped establish the NASA Parker Solar Probe, which launched in 2018. The mission of the probe is to help determine why the sun’s atmosphere is even hotter than its internal core.
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