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Discover the engine that drives solar storms

New research by the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) reveals the origin of energy explosions on the Sun.

Solar Storm Motivator Detection Solar Storm Simulation. Video: Amaze Lab / NASA.

In a study published in the journal Nature Astronomy, an international team of scientists from CfA presented unprecedented details about the “central engine” that drives the development of solar storms or flames. the sun – the event of a sudden energy explosion on the surface of the star.

The research team focused on analyzing a hurricane recorded on September 10, 2017 by the Owens Valley Solar Array radio telescope complex in California. They observed the event at extremely short wavelengths to make measurements of the magnetic field and the particles at the center of the explosion.

The results show that there is a giant current beam spanning more than 40,000 km through the central region – where curves in space with magnetic fields approach, break, and fuse together – creating energy sources. Extremely strong propelled the outbreak of solar storms.

The magnetic structure of a solar storm was recorded on September 10, 2017. Photo: NSF.

Measurements also indicate a vase-shaped magnetic structure 20,000 km above the surface of the Sun. According to the team, this structure is likely where high-energy electrons are trapped before accelerating to asymptotic speeds of light.

New insights into solar storms are significant because it can aid in predicting future space weather, helping to protect technologies on Earth such as communications systems, navigation and satellite operations. .

“One of the main goals of this study is to better understand the fundamental physics associated with solar storms. This is the first time we have measured the magnetic details of an electric current flowing through the mid-region. ”, lead author of the Bin Chen study at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, which operates the Owens radio telescope, providing new insights into the motivations of energy explosions on the solar surface. Valley Solar Array, emphasis.

(According to the National Science Foundation)

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