A curved eruption on the sun was recorded by NASA̵
A dramatic explosion in the sun reveals new clues as to what is causing these powerful and unpredictable eruptions, said a new study published this week.
In addition, the revelation of the mystery can help scientists better predict the eruptions that cause dangerous space weather conditions here on Earth.
The explosion, which took place in March 2016, contained elements from three different types of solar flares that usually occur separately – making it the first time such an event has been reported, NASA said in a statement.
“This event is a ‘missing link’ where we can see all these aspects of different types of eruptions in a nice little package,” said Emily Mason, lead author of the new study and solar scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “It drives home the point that these outbreaks are caused by the same mechanism, just on different scales.”
According to NASA, eruptions on the sun usually come in one of three forms: a coronal mass ejection, a ray, or a partial eruption. Coronal mass ejections and rays are both explosive eruptions that throw energy and particles into space, but they look very different.
While rays erupt like narrow columns of solar material, coronal mass emissions form huge bubbles that expand, push and form by the sun’s magnetic fields.
Partial eruptions, on the other hand, begin to erupt from the surface, but do not conjure enough energy to leave the sun, so most of the material falls back onto the solar surface.
In the 2016 explosion, all three types of eruptions occurred in the same event.
This is why scientists refer to the event as a “Rosetta Stone” eruption, referring to the Rosetta Stone, an artifact with writing in hieroglyphs, ancient Egyptian demotic and ancient Greek, which helped scientists decipher ancient hieroglyphs, according to Space .com.
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“This is especially important to us here on Earth because coronal mass emissions release large amounts of charged particles and can disrupt the power grid on Earth and even endanger astronauts and space technology,” Space.com said.
By modeling the 2016 eruption and others since discovered as it is, researchers hope they can figure out which root mechanism is causing the solar flare and determine their properties. Finding a trigger could ultimately allow scientists to predict when a major eruption could threaten Earth and Mars several hours in advance – leaving enough time for astronauts and spacecraft operators to take action, NASA reported.
The new study was presented on June 7, 2021 by Mason at the American Astronomical Society’s annual meeting and has been accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
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