Explosions from the Sun’s surface sending huge amounts of energy towards the planets remind us that our star can rapidly become our biggest foe instead of the faithful guardian of life that it usually is.
Powerful solar storms are capable of sending coronal mass ejections (CMEs) into space. If our planet is in the trajectory of a CME, the charged particles will disrupt satellites and cause them to fail. While hopefully, such an event won’t happen too soon, scientists are now gathering precious data from a solar explosion that uncovers new clues about what causes the Sun to go so berserk.
Unpredictable eruptions… or not
USA Today News wrote about the new study on a solar explosion known as ‘Rosetta Stone’ that unveils clues about the unsettled activity of the Sun. If astronomers manage to fully solve the puzzle, it would be a huge benefit for all of us. Scientists would be able to better predict solar eruptions that aim to cause dangerous space weather.
NASA reveals that the ‘Rosetta Stone’ explosion, which occurred back in 2016, is truly unique. It was the first explosion that has shown elements of three different types of solar eruptions simultaneously.
Emily Mason from NASA, who’s also the lead author of the new study, declared:
This event is a ‘missing link,’ where we can see all of these aspects of different types of eruptions in one neat little package,
It drives home the point that these eruptions are caused by the same mechanism, just at different scales.
There are usually three forms of solar eruptions: a jet, a coronal mass ejection (CME), and a partial eruption. For the 2016 cosmic event, all three types of eruptions happened at once.
By modelling the solar eruption from 2016 and others discovered afterwards, scientists hope to understand what exactly causes such events.
The new study will be published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.