While we may think of our world as being huge, and our galaxy even more so, we are actually living in a very small sector of the Universe. The Sun is far smaller than many other stars researchers have been able to observe, and is able to generate far less energy than those others can.
But that doesn’t, in any case, mean that the amounts of energy it puts out are negligible or even weak. Oh no, our sun puts out enough energy to fry every single creature on Earth repeatedly, if we weren’t as well protected by the planet’s electromagnetic field as we are.
And while there is a very wide array of ways in which the Sun could easily destroy us, solar flares are the most simple and energy-efficient way for it to do that. In a very significant accomplishment for the Agency, NASA captures images of a solar flare and of coronal rain, finally finding out more about the two phenomena.
The images have such a high resolution, and they are so detailed that they offered new insights on the formation of solar flares. Scientists are eager to start learning more about how energy is transferred between various parts of the sun during a solar flare, something they will have a much easier time with now that they have such high-resolution images.
According to Ju Jing, research professor and physicist with New Jersey Institute of Technology and lead author of the study,
We can now observe in very fine detail how energy is transported in solar flares, in this case from the corona where it has been stored to the lower chromosphere tens of thousands of miles below it, where most of the energy is finally converted into heat and radiated away.
But even more exciting than the new solar flare data might be the captured images of coronal rain. For those not in the know, coronal rain basically consists of condensed droplets of cooling plasma that fall upon the sun’s surface after a solar flare. The plasma droplets generate many colorful explosions as the hit the superheated surface of the sun.
Seeing as they got so much new information from carefully observing a single solar flare, the team is now excited to start a new phase on their project. Not only are they going to really look into the inner workings of the two events, hoping to understand them better, but they are also hoping to get enough funding to improve on the telescope technology they already have, making it even better at picking up small details taking place during such extreme events as solar flares.
Image source: YouTube