#astronomy Armagh astronomers examine photo voltaic explosions – Astronotes

December 20, 2019 - Comment

AOP researchers have used knowledge from a NASA area mission to make clear probably the most violent phenomena in our photo voltaic system – magnetic explosions on the floor of the Solar. Abhishek Srivastava, previously a analysis affiliate at AOP and now a photo voltaic scientist on the Indian Institute of Expertise (BHU) in Varanasi,


AOP researchers have used knowledge from a NASA area mission to make clear probably the most violent phenomena in our photo voltaic system – magnetic explosions on the floor of the Solar.

Abhishek Srivastava, previously a analysis affiliate at AOP and now a photo voltaic scientist on the Indian Institute of Expertise (BHU) in Varanasi, India and AOP’s Professor Gerry Doyle have used NASA’s Earth-orbiting Photo voltaic Dynamics Observatory satellite tv for pc to look at a photo voltaic explosion, the likes of which have by no means been seen earlier than. Within the scorching higher reaches of the Solar’s environment, a prominence — a big loop of fabric launched by an eruption on the photo voltaic floor — began falling again to the floor of the Solar. However earlier than it might make it, the prominence ran right into a snarl of magnetic subject strains, sparking a magnetic explosion.

The floor of the Solar from the Photo voltaic Dynamics Observatory. Courtesy: NASA/SDO

Scientists have beforehand seen the explosive snap and realignment of tangled magnetic subject strains on the Solar — a course of generally known as magnetic reconnection — however by no means one which had been triggered by a close-by eruption. The remark, which confirms a idea put ahead a decade in the past, could assist scientists perceive a key thriller concerning the Solar’s environment, higher predict area climate, and might also result in breakthroughs within the managed fusion and lab plasma experiments. 

“This was the primary remark of an externally-triggered magnetic reconnection,” mentioned Srivastava. “This might be very helpful for understanding different programs.  For instance, Earth’s and planetary magnetospheres, different magnetized plasma sources, together with experiments at laboratory scales the place plasma is very diffusive and really onerous to regulate.”

Beforehand a sort of magnetic reconnection generally known as spontaneous reconnection has been seen, each on the Solar and round Earth. However this new explosion-driven kind — referred to as compelled reconnection — had by no means been seen straight, thought it was first theorised 15 years in the past. The brand new observations, which have simply been printed within the peer-reviewed Astrophysical Journal, allowed Shrivastava and Doyle to straight see the compelled reconnection occasion for the primary time within the photo voltaic corona — the Solar’s uppermost atmospheric layer. In a sequence of pictures taken over an hour (see hyperlinks at finish of publish), a prominence within the corona might be seen falling again into the photosphere. En route, the prominence ran right into a snarl of magnetic subject strains, inflicting them to reconnect in a definite X form. 

Since these eruptions drive area climate — the bursts of photo voltaic radiation that may harm satellites round Earth — understanding compelled reconnection will assist scientists higher predict when disruptive high-energy charged particles may come rushing at Earth. Understanding how magnetic reconnection could be compelled in a managed manner might also assist plasma physicists reproduce reconnection within the lab within the quest to attain sensible nuclear fusion.

Scientists are persevering with to search for extra compelled reconnection occasions. With extra observations, they’ll start to grasp the mechanics behind the reconnection and the way usually it would occur. Hopefully, the brand new discovery will assist resolve the decades-old coronal heating drawback, in different phrases why the photo voltaic corona, at a number of million levels Kelvin, is a thousand occasions hotter than the underlying layer, the photosphere. “Our thought is that compelled reconnection is all over the place,” Srivastava mentioned. “However we now have to proceed to look at it, to quantify it, if we need to show that.”

Hyperlink to NASA Press Launch

Hyperlink to NASA video explaining the findings



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