GSFC: NASA Sun Data Helps New Model Predict Big Solar Flares

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GSFC: NASA Sun Data Helps New Model Predict Big Solar Flares

Post by bystander » Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:22 pm

NASA Sun Data Helps New Model Predict Big Solar Flares
NASA | GSFC | SDO | 2020 Jul 31
Using data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, scientists have developed a new model that successfully predicted seven of the Sun’s biggest flares from the last solar cycle, out of a set of nine. With more development, the model could be used to one day inform forecasts of these intense bursts of solar radiation.

As it progresses through its natural 11-year cycle, the Sun transitions from periods of high to low activity, and back to high again. The scientists focused on X-class flares, the most powerful kind of these solar fireworks. Compared to smaller flares, big flares like these are relatively infrequent; in the last solar cycle, there were around 50. But they can have big impacts, from disrupting radio communications and power grid operations, to – at their most severe – endangering astronauts in the path of harsh solar radiation. Scientists who work on modeling flares hope that one day their efforts can help mitigate these effects.

Led by Kanya Kusano ... a team of scientists built their model on a kind of magnetic map: SDO’s observations of magnetic fields on the Sun’s surface. ...

It’s well-understood that flares erupt from hot spots of magnetic activity on the solar surface, called active regions. (In visible light, they appear as sunspots, dark blotches that freckle the Sun.) The new model works by identifying key characteristics in an active region, characteristics the scientists theorized are necessary to setting off a massive flare. ...
A Physics-Based Method That Can Predict Imminent Large Solar Flares ~ Kanya Kusano et al
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