Receive the Mach newsletter.
By David Freeman
For the first time, scientists have modeled the entire life cycle of solar flares, those violent outbreaks of intense heat and radiation from the surface of the sun.
The new computer model is part of an ongoing effort to better understand solar flares and related solar events that emit high-energy radiation and fast-moving particles that can pose a serious threat to our flood. tech society.
"Solar flares and outbreaks can interfere with wireless communication and global positioning systems and affect the aviation and safety of astronauts and our communications satellites," says Mark Cheung, physicist at Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory in Palo Alto, California, and co-chair. Author of a recent publication describing the model, NBC News MACH said in an e-mail. "This research teaches us how the sun develops and how it affects our daily lives."
However, when new light is shed on the genesis and spread of solar flares, the new research also reveals the dazzling beauty of a sky phenomenon we never have a chance to see first-hand. A dazzling visualization of the model reveals tangled tendrils that represent magnetic field lines around sunspots that rise from the sun's surface and explode in a brilliant, multicolored flash.
To create the model, Cheung and his colleagues work in the laboratory and at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, using computer software that uses a set of equations describing the behavior of plasma, a superheated material Fired out of the sun when firing flames. The model simulates solar activity up to 1
Then Scientists Took the Conditions for the Sun This is similar to those associated with a sunspot observed in March 2014 that produced dozens of flickers – and observed how the model successfully produced its own flare.
"Our model was able to detect the entire process of energy buildup surfacing on the surface, rising into the corona, exciting the corona, and then reaching the point where the energy is released in a solar flare," said Matthias Rempel, senior scientist at NCAR and co-author of the newspaper in a statement.
Unlike previous models, Rempel said in an email that "details were modeled very well, but compromises had to be made when it came to creating the overall picture."
Rempel's role in the new model David Jess, a scientist at the Astrophysics Research Center of Queens University Belfast in Ireland, who was not involved in the new research, was confirmed with Ficance. In an e-mail to MACH, he called it a "noteworthy accomplishment in this area of research," adding that "models that not only predict better how big a solar flare will be, but also when they" go off. " Helping researchers help engineers make better decisions when it comes to protecting our planet's infrastructure. "
Protecting our infrastructure is certainly a big challenge as our society relies heavily on computers and other electrical equipment and systems. Experts say efforts to calculate the total economic cost of a serious solar event are still in their infancy, but a 2012 study said the cost could reach $ 2 trillion events, including adding a special circuit that absorbs excess energy and emergency transformers.
Want to know more about outer space?
FOLLOW NBC NEWS MACH ON TWITTER FACEBOOK, AND INSTAGRAM.