Magnetic springs disperse particles on the Sun

Magnetic springs disperse particles on the Sun

In April and July 2014, the Sun released 3 jets of energy particles into space. The streams were surprising, as they contained a huge amount of iron and helium-3 (a rare species). Unusual events occurred on the back of the star, so they could not be noticed immediately.

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research have presented a new analysis of the event. It is based on the readings of two probes - STEREO A and STEREO B, which were then still working and located on the required location.

Still remains a mystery mechanism for the sudden release of the Sun a huge number of charged and uncharged particles into space. Some streams are accompanied by solar flares, an unexpected and local increase in stellar brightness, and the presence of 10,000 times more helium-3 and up to 10 times more iron than is found in the solar atmosphere.

Why is this rare helium isotope accelerated into space so effectively? Why iron? Where does the sun take energy to shoot with such volumes? Due to the intensity, the events of 2014 gave the greatest amount of information on these issues for the entire time of studying our star.

Most of the probes examining the Sun are close to the Earth. Therefore, they see only the side that is turned towards us. But STEREO A and STEREO B since 2006 revolved around the star from opposite sides. Shortly before losing contact with the STEREO probes in 2014, they managed to capture the events of the eruption. Each lasted up to 3 days and was characterized by a huge amount of helium-3 and iron. While the SIT ion telescope recorded the composition of particle fluxes, the EUVI and SECCHI instruments studied regions of origin in the atmosphere. There, researchers noticed a typical increase in extreme UV radiation. However, the shape turned out to be unusual - distinct spiral movements.

For the first time, it was possible to follow the swirling radiation flash, which is a source of helium-3 and iron fluxes. The radiation is generated by a hot plasma moving along constantly changing magnetic field lines in a stellar atmosphere. When the lines regroup, a sudden release of energy can occur.

Only further observations will allow a better understanding of the mechanism of the appearance of flares. The main focus is on coronal mass ejection, where the particle energy is extremely high. They are able to cause solar storms on Earth, threatening satellites.

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