Studies of a solar flare revealed something unexpected about the sun: its magnetic field is even stronger than scientists predicted.
tricky feat of the interference of Earth's atmosphere. But a team led by David Kuridze, a solar physicist at Aberystwyth University in the United Kingdom, got lucky when they caught sight of a super-strong flare that the sun belched on Sept. 10, 2017.
The researchers spotted the flare using the Swedish 1-meter Solar Telescope at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands. The solar telescope is a powerful solar telescope, but its aperture (viewing area) allows researchers to examine only 1 percent of the sun at a time.
Related: Huge New Solar Telescope Shares Science Excitement with Neighboring Schools This good luck allowed to measure the flare's magnetic field strength in the sun's corona, or atmosphere.
The sun is well-known for its magnetic activity, including periodic flares that rise from the surface when magnetic lines twist and "snap." Flares are associated with coronal mass ejections, which send streams of charged particles into space. These are aimed at Earth, they can disrupt satellites or cause colorful auroral displays.
The new finding could help scientists better understand what is happening in the corona, the superheated part of the sun's upper atmosphere that is visible to humans only during a total solar eclipse. The corona is being studied by a NASA spacecraft called the Parker Solar Probe, which is zooming closer to the sun than any other spacecraft before it.
have very few measurements of its strength and spatial characteristics, "said in a statement. "These are critical parameters, the most important for the physics of the solar corona. It is a little like trying to understand the Earth's climate without being able to measure its temperature at various geographical locations."
The research is described in a paper that has been accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal and that was posted to the preprint server arXiv.org in February.
Original article on Space.com.