NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory captured explosions on sun, particles might hit Earth today

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Solar Dynamics Observatory recently captured a video of explosions on the sun on January 2. In the southern hemisphere of the sun, two dark filaments of magnetism erupted and the particles could hit Earth on January 6.

The scientists at NASA have a new theory about sunquakes, which is seismic activity on the sun during solar flares. The scientists used to believe that the magnetic forces or the heating of the outer atmosphere of the sun caused the sunquakes. The data provided by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) suggests that the sunquakes are caused due to something that is beneath the sun’s surface. In an observation made back in 2011 about the sunquakes, it was concluded that the acoustic source of the sunquakes lies around 700 miles (1126.5 km) below the sun.

According to NASA, the sunquakes, “release acoustic energy in the form of waves that ripple along the Sun’s surface, like waves on a lake, in the minutes following a solar flare – an outburst of light, energy, and material seen in the Sun’s outer atmosphere”.

According to Space Weather, an astronomy site, the particles of the explosion that took place on the sun might hit Earth,” The double eruption hurled a closely-spaced pair of CMEs toward Earth. The first CME was slow-moving, the second was faster…This could cause the two CMEs to pile one on top of the other, intensifying their impact. NOAA forecast models suggest arrival at Earth on January 6.”

If the particles hit Earth, Auroras either Northern lights or southern lights, aurora borealis, aurora australis could be caused. Auroras are phenomena that are caused by solar particles hitting the Earth’s atmosphere. The solar storms and space weather however may pose threats than just causing stunning lights to appear across the sky. 

The solar storms can affect satellite-based technology. The solar winds can heat up the Earth’s outer atmosphere, resulting in the expansion of the atmosphere. The satellites in the orbit will likely be affected by it and this could lead to a loss of GPS navigation, phone signals, and satellite TV. Moreover, the increase in particles may lead to high currents in the magnetosphere eventually leading to higher than normal electricity in the powerlines, causing blowouts and loss of power in electrical transformers and power stations.

Scientists are still unsure as to what causes sunquakes and in an attempt to study the sun closely two new missions have been approved by NASA – Extreme Ultraviolet High-Throughput Spectroscopic Telescope Epsilon Mission, or EUVST, and the Electrojet Zeeman Imaging Explorer, or EZIE. The EUVST which is targeted for launch in 2026, will be led by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and the EZIE is set to launch in 2024. These missions will help scientist understand space weather, solar explosions, and more, to be able to predict these events.


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