Anybody who knows a bit of astronomy is well-aware that the true nature of the Sun is far from being all sweets and sugar, as many like to believe. Our star can cause skin cancer, other health issues, or it can even burn you alive if you get too close. But let’s not also forget about the solar flares that keep shooting into space from time to time.
According to ScienceAlert.com, the Sun has been “practicing” the shooting of plasma into space pretty seriously this month, and even more eruptions could be about to come. Some fear that geomagnetic storms could hit Earth, but the scenario is unlikely. Such storms are represented by interruptions of communications and auroras.
Our Sun got angry for a moment yesterday just before midnight UTC. A prominence eruption (maybe combined with a powerful flare?) launched a massive CME into space. While not earth-directed, the eruption was huge and could signal there might be something interesting on its way… pic.twitter.com/z0fhjNp5mO
— SpaceWeatherLive (@_SpaceWeather_) February 16, 2022
Junwei Zhao, an astronomer from Stanford University, declared for SpaceWeather:
This is only the second farside active region of this size since September 2017,
If this region remains huge as it rotates to the Earth-facing side of the Sun, it could give us some exciting flares.
Given the behavior of our Sun, there’s no wonder that astronomers always want to learn more about our star. For instance, NASA recently selected two new space missions for that purpose: HelioSwarm and MUSE (the Multi-slit Solar Explorer).
Thomas Zurbuchen from the NASA Headquarters from Washington, explained as SciTechDaily.com quotes:
MUSE and HelioSwarm will provide new and deeper insight into the solar atmosphere and space weather,
These missions not only extend the science of our other heliophysics missions—they also provide a unique perspective and a novel approach to understanding the mysteries of our star.
Usually, the Earth is located in the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ of the Solar System, meaning the right area where it’s neither too cold nor too hot for life to exist. Astronomers look for exoplanets located in their own ‘Goldilocks Zone’ areas, hoping to find clues for the existence of alien life.