Solar flares can be very dangerous for the power grid, satellites, even cell phones. How dangerous a flare can be depends on how powerful it is. If a warning is received by NASA and other space agencies in time, the impact on Earth and humanity can be lessened. Now NASA has got a solution for the same. Yes, NASA has said it can predict solar flares. Scientists can now predict when and where the Sun’s next eruption may explode. The decisive role is Sun “Flashes”.
In particular, solar flares are powerful bursts of energy. According to NASA, solar flares are our solar system’s largest explosive events and are seen as bright areas on the sun, and they can last from minutes to hours. Flares and solar flares can affect radio communications, power grids, navigation signals and even pose a risk to spacecraft and astronauts.
“Using data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, researchers from NorthWest Research Associates, or NWRA, identified tiny signals in the upper layers of the solar atmosphere, the corona, that can help identify which regions of the Sun are more likely to produce solar flares – energetic bursts of light and particles released from the sun,” NASA said.
They found that over the areas that were about to flare, the corona produced tiny sparkles – like little sparklers before the big fireworks display. This information could ultimately help improve predictions of flares and space weather storms—the disturbed conditions in space caused by the Sun’s activity.
Scientists have previously studied how activity in lower layers of the Sun’s atmosphere – such as the photosphere and chromosphere – can indicate impending flare activity in active regions, which are often marked by groups of sunspots, or strong magnetic regions on the Sun’s surface, which are darker and cooler in comparison with their surroundings.
For their research, the researchers used a newly created image database of the Sun’s active regions captured by the SDO. The publicly available resource, described in a companion paper also in The Astrophysical Journal, combines over eight years of images taken of active regions in ultraviolet and extreme ultraviolet light. Led by Karin Dissauer and developed by Eric L. Wagner, the NWRA team’s new database makes it easier for researchers to use data from the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) at SDO for large-scale statistical studies, according to NASA.
The NWRA team examined a large selection of active regions from the database using statistical methods developed by team member Graham Barnes. The analysis revealed small flashes in the corona prior to each flare. These and other new insights will give scientists a better understanding of the physics taking place in these magnetically active regions, with the goal of developing new tools for predicting solar flares.