Key to solar storms found? NASA’s Parker Solar Probe flew through a dangerous CME in quest of new insights


US space agency NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has been living dangerously ever since it started orbiting the Sun. In fact, NASA credits it with even ‘touching’ the Sun itself and still surviving. However, that is not the only dangerous stunt it has pulled. It transpires that the probe actually flew through the aftermath of a dangerous explosion on the Sun that is referred to as a coronal mass ejection (CME). The reason for doing that is to get new insights into how solar storms are formed.

A new clue has been found by NASA’s Parker Solar Probe about how solar storms form.(via REUTERS)

As with most of its other experiments that the Parker Probe has been involved in, this one too went off quite smoothly and the probe actually managed to find a key clue as to the origin of solar storms. Notably, solar storms, when they impact Earth, generate auroras at the poles of our planet – these are bright colorful, mesmerizing lights seen mostly around the North Pole and South Pole. However, if strong enough, these CMEs can impact the Earth and bring down power grids, affect satellites, knock out radio communications and more. The worst one recorded was the Carrington event in 1859 when one of the most powerful such solar storms actually set fire in telegraph offices and operators even received electric shocks.

Hindustan Times – your fastest source for breaking news! Read now.

The key clue picked up by the Parker Solar Probe will go a long way in predicting solar weather and therefore, forewarning Earth about the impending dangers, if any.

What really happened

NASA revealed that when the Parker probe sailed through the CME, it snapped “one of the most powerful coronal mass ejections (CMEs) ever recorded”.

Parker’s data is helping to prove a 20-year-old theory about the interaction of CMEs with interplanetary dust. NASA said, “CMEs may interact with interplanetary dust in orbit around our star and even carry the dust outward.” This will help in space weather prediction going forward.

The dust is mostly of asteroids, comets and perhaps, even planets. With Parker completing this mission successfully, yet another big danger that Earthlings face can be better understood and perhaps even taken effective measures against. At the least, it can help scientists to learn how quickly CMEs could travel from the Sun to Earth and thereafter they could predict the moment of impact.

Unlock a world of Benefits with HT! From insightful newsletters to real-time news alerts and a personalized news feed – it’s all here, just a click away! -Login Now!


Source link

Back to top button