Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Big solar blowouts hold clue to space weather

Date:
June 23, 2014
Source:
Royal Astronomical Society (RAS)
Summary:
Solar jets are ejections from the surface of the Sun, where 1-10 tons of hot material are expelled at speeds of up to 1000 kilometers per second. Using space based observatories like Hinode and STEREO, solar physicists have recently discovered a new type of jet known as ‘blowout’ jets, which seem to be like the Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) that can disrupt the magnetic field of the Earth, but on a much smaller scale. Now a scientist has created a 3-D model of these events for the first time, with compelling computer-generated simulations that match the jets’ appearance from space.

A montage of images showing how the simulation closely matches observed events on the Sun. On the left are two images of the blowout jet eruption of 20 September 2008 observed using the Hinode observatory, showing how it changed over a period of five minutes. On the right are two frames from Eon Jui Lee’s simulation of a blowout jet eruption.
Credit: Hinode / Eon Jui Lee / University of St Andrews

Solar jets are ejections from the surface of the Sun, where 1-10 tonnes of hot material are expelled at speeds of up to 1000 kilometres per second. Using space based observatories like Hinode and STEREO, solar physicists have recently discovered a new type of jet known as 'blowout' jets, which seem to be like the Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) that can disrupt the magnetic field of Earth, but on a much smaller scale.

Related Articles


Now a St Andrews scientist, Dr Eon Jui Lee, has created a 3D model of these events for the first time, with compelling computer-generated simulations that match the jets' appearance from space. He will present his work at the National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2014) in Portsmouth from 23-26 June.

The most common class of 'hot' solar jets are the 'standard' X-ray jets, which are believed to be formed by 'magnetic reconnection' i.e. when magnetic field lines of opposite direction ('north' and 'south') come into contact. Blowout jets are different and seem to be triggered by the eruption of the magnetic field at the base of the jet, which carries a twisted filament of material. At a temperature of 10,000 -- 100,000 degrees Celsius, this is much cooler than the outer atmosphere of the Sun, where temperatures are typically between 1 and 2 million degrees.

On the Sun material is found in the form of plasma, a gaseous state where some electrons are stripped away from normally neutral atoms. In blowout jets, the eruption of relatively cool plasma leads to magnetic reconnection too and this in turn drives the eruption of hot plasma, so that both hot and cold material are carried into space. This makes them like miniature CMEs and suggests that a similar mechanism is at work.

Dr Lee's model shows the change from standard to blowout jets and frames from the simulation show a close fit between his work and pictures from the Hinode satellite. The model suggests that the twisted magnetic fields in standard jets become helical and drive the blowouts. Waves in the jet then transport material and energy into the outer atmosphere of the Sun and the wider Solar System.

He comments: "Solar physicists work hard to understand activity on the surface and in the atmosphere of the Sun. To see my simulations match real observations so well is wonderful. I hope that this work will help my peers working on space weather better understand and perhaps get more warning of events that might disrupt life on Earth."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. . ,

Cite This Page:

Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). "Big solar blowouts hold clue to space weather." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623092305.htm>.
Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). (2014, June 23). Big solar blowouts hold clue to space weather. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623092305.htm
Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). "Big solar blowouts hold clue to space weather." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623092305.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA Holds Memorial to Remember Astronauts

NASA Holds Memorial to Remember Astronauts

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) NASA is remembering 17 astronauts who were killed in the line of duty and dozens more who have died since the agency&apos;s beginning. A remembrance ceremony was held Thursday at NASA&apos;s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Rumble (Jan. 27, 2015) Scientists working with NASA&apos;s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California discovered an unexpected moon while observing asteroid 2004 BL86 during its recent flyby past Earth. Credit to &apos;NASA JPL&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) Eleven years ago NASA&apos;s Opportunity rover touched down on Mars for what was only supposed to be a 90-day mission. Since then it has traveled 25.9 miles (41.7 kilometers), further than any other off-Earth surface vehicle has ever driven. Credit to &apos;NASA&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins