Scientists Study the Exoplanets and Stellar Flares by Examining the Sun

sun research and stellar flares

Recent research focused on the sunspots and other active areas offer intriguing insights.

A team of researchers supervised by Shin Toriumi at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency discovered that sunspots could change the overall solar emissions. They can also trigger some emissions to lower and others to increase; the changes’ timing also differs between different types of emissions. 

Such a thing will help scientists determine stars’ conditions and detect exoplanets around those stars. Here is what you need to know.

New Research Details

The team of researchers used satellites such as the Solar Dynamics Observatory and Hinode to observe the Sun and find out how it would look like if seen from far away, as a single spot of light like other stars.

The researchers also examined how traits such as sunspots can change the whole picture. What they discovered is truly astonishing. 

The Team’s Findings

Researchers discovered that when a sunspot is close to the center of the Sun’s side facing us, it triggers the total amount of visible light, lower it. Also, when the sunspots are closer to the Sun’s edge, the whole visible light increases. A reason is that at such a viewing angle, the bright structures dubbed faculae surrounding the sunspots are more noticeable than the dark centers.

Furthermore, the X-rays generated in the corona above the solar surface increase when a sunspot is visible. The coronal loops elongating above the sunspots are also magnetically heated. 

So, that brightening occurs before the sunspot rotates into view and persists even after the sunspots have rotated out of sight. 

Because the variations in the overall emissions and their timings contain essential data about the structure of features on the Sun’s surface and the location, scientists intend to deduce the surface traits of other stars such as magnetic fields and starspots.

The recent data will also help scientists to recognize better dimming caused by the shadow of an exoplanet. 

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