A New Technique to Study Extreme Space Weather Has Been Developed

extreme space weather research

A team of scientists from Skoltech collaborated with international colleagues to develop a new technique to study fast coronal mass ejections – powerful blasts of magnetized matter from the outer atmosphere of the Sun. 

The results are fantastic, and they could enhance the understanding and forecast the most extreme space weather events. The new method could also predict the potential of extreme space weather. Here is what you need to know. 

New Method Shed Light on Extreme Space Weather Study

Coronal mass blasts are one of the most energetic eruptive phenomena in the solar system. They’re also the main source of the biggest space weather events. Massive clouds of magnetic flux and plasma are discharged from the Sun’s atmosphere into the proximity space at some high speeds of 100 to 3,500 km/s. Also, these immense solar plasma clouds and the resulting powerful shock waves can reach Earth in less than 24 hours, causing major geomagnetic storms. 

The current study showed that the most powerful and most severe geomagnetic storms are driven by fast coronal mass ejections meeting other coronal mass ejections in the interplanetary space. Those interplanetary interactions among coronal mass discharges happen when they are blasted in sequence, one after another, from the same active location. Such a type of ejection can be defined utilizing the concept of clusters that produce enhanced particle acceleration compared to the remote plasma cloud. 

Generally, the detection of clusters has significant applications in many other severe geophysical events like floods or major earthquakes and interdisciplinary regions (telecommunications, finance, environmental studies, and hydrology). 

Dr. Jenny Marcela Rodriguez Gomez, part of the Skoltech team of scientists discussed the importance of the newly developed technique, saying that it: “can help us better understand the dynamics and variability of the Sun and the physical mechanisms behind these events.”

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