Scientists have found new clues that could help predict when and where the Sun’s next flare might explode. In the Sun’s upper atmosphere, they found small flashes – like small sparklers before the big fireworks – above regions about to flare.
Using data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, researchers from NorthWest Research Associates, or NWRA, identified small signals in the upper layers of the solar atmosphere, the corona, that can help identify which regions on the Sun are more likely to produce solar flares – energetic bursts of light and particles released from the Sun.
“We can get some very different information in the corona than we get from the photosphere, or ‘surface’ of the Sun,” said KD Leka, lead author on the new study who is also a designated foreign professor at Nagoya University in Japan. “Our results may give us a new marker to distinguish which active regions are likely to flare soon and which will stay quiet over an upcoming period of time.”
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