Mysterious ‘sparks’ on the sun could help scientists predict solar flares

Mysterious ‘sparks’ on the sun could help scientists predict solar flares

Mysterious ‘sparks’ on the sun could help scientists predict solar flares

Solar flares, powerful bursts of radiation from the sun, are often preceded by a pre-eruption spark, scientists have found. The discovery could lead to better predictions of solar storms, which can disrupt power grids and communication systems on Earth.

Scientists made the discovery after analyzing years of data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a satellite that has been observing the sun since 2010. Since the 1970s and 1980s, researchers have witnessed these pre-eruption flashes, using tools such as observatories terrestrials, so there was a lot of anecdotal evidence that the flashes and explosions were related, KD Leka (opens in new tab), a senior researcher at NorthWest Research Associates (NWRA) in Boulder, Colorado, told Live Science. But these researchers didn’t have instruments like the SDO, which is constantly observing and recording the sun’s activity from space.

“Images of [the sun] have definitely helped scientists and meteorologists understand when an active region is likely to be producing flares,” Leka said.

Two images of an active solar region taken by SDO/AIA show extreme ultraviolet light produced by million-degree coronal gas (top images) the day before the region exploded (left) and the day before it remained quiet and not flared (right). ). The changes in brightness (lower images) at these two times show different patterns, with patches of intense variation (black and white areas) before the flare (lower left corner) and mainly gray (indicating low variability) before the quiet period (lower left corner). bottom right). . (Image credit: NASA/SDO/AIA/Dissauer et al. 2022)

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