Researchers have come up with a new study, which looked at two solar cycles, to assist scientists in developing their weather forecasting in space. The outcome of the new study analyzes the central origin of dramatic space weather events:
fast coronal mass ejections (CME). CMEs are large flares of magnetized material that occasionally emit into space from the outer atmosphere of the Sun at speeds of up to 3,500 kilometers per second. These magnetic energy and clouds of plasma are likely to cause large geomagnetic storms, which can be a threat to communications and technology on Earth and astronauts in space.
The latest study recognized that the most powerful geomagnetic storms took place when rapid CMEs intermingled with at least one other CME in clusters and arose in order from the similar active region of the Sun. This research recommended that this can be linked to CME contact creating a more substantial and composite relation with the Earth’s magnetosphere.
Dr. Jenny Marcela Rodríguez Gómez, a scientist at the Skoltech Space Center, said understanding the characteristics of extreme solar eruptions and severe space weather events could help them better understand the dynamics and variability of the Sun as well as the physical mechanisms behind those events. Computer graphics visualizing two space weather events from 2017 shows substantial white plumes, representing the CMEs, blowing up into space from the surface of the Sun in lightning-quick rupture. This particular event forced astronauts on the International Space Station to move to a proper shelter to shield themselves from the radiation released by the solar flare.
The news release on the research explained that in 1859, a geomagnetic storm crashed the entire telegraph system in North America and Europe. This was the most significant space weather events to have occurred in the solar system. Researchers have said that if such an event happened at the moment, then modern devices could all be destroyed, resulting in surging consequences in several areas of life.
Additionally, the release explained that Solar activity has a cycle to it. At the peak of the period, there might be a high number of solar flares and CME activity going on. However, during the downward phase of a cycle, energy can build up before being released in more extreme, one-off space weather cluster events.
Tatiana Podladchikova, assistant professor at the Skoltech Space Center and research co-author, said they were currently entering a new, 11-year cycle of solar activity that scientists predict would be mild. However, he said there still could be extreme celestial events in the second half of the period. Therefore, their modern technological society needed to take that seriously, study extreme space weather events, and also understand all the subtleties of the interactions between the Sun and the Earth.