Scientists have developed a method for predicting the trajectory of dangerous plasma emissions based on 2D pictures of the Sun in the ultraviolet

Scientists have developed a method for predicting the trajectory of dangerous plasma emissions based on 2D pictures of the Sun in the ultraviolet

A joint group of scientists from Skoltech, NorthWest Research Associates, the University of Graz and the Kanzelhoe Observatory developed the DIRECD (Dimming Inferred Estimate of CME Direction) method, which allows for an early assessment of the direction of propagation of the coronal mass ejection in three. The data obtained using the method are important for reducing the negative impact of solar phenomena on many industries and technological systems in space and on Earth. The results of the study will already be published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

3D reconstruction of the coronal mass ejection on September 6, 2011 using the DIRECD method with an early estimate of its propagation direction. The black straight line is the central axis of the DIRECD cone. The black outline on the sphere is the dimming area on the solar disk.

Coronal mass ejections are giant magnetic bubbles of plasma bursting from the surface of the Sun into the surrounding space at a speed of several hundred to several thousand kilometers per second. If such a bubble is directed toward the Earth, then when passing through its magnetosphere, it can cause geomagnetic storms and auroras. These storms can cause serious disruptions to technological systems in space and on Earth and pose a radiation hazard to astronauts.

It is extremely difficult to detect a coronal mass ejection at an early stage of development, only at an advanced stage, when it appears in the view of special coronagraphs that create the effect of an artificial solar eclipse, but at the same time hide the solar disk by several of its radii.

Shantanu Jain

The first author of the study, a graduate student of “Skoltech”

“Our method makes it possible to estimate the direction of its propagation at an early stage of development of a coronal mass ejection, and even before it is detected by onboard coronagraphs. Particularly important is the fact that, with only two-dimensional dimming data obtained from images of the Sun in the early phase of the emission, we can accurately estimate its three-dimensional parameters, in particular the direction of its movement in three-dimensional space.”

The new DIRECD method uses emission traces directly on the Sun – coronal dimming. These are dark spots in ultraviolet images of the solar corona. The appearance of dimming reflects the loss of matter in the corona during plasma ejection. To develop the method within the framework of this study, the scientists used the work in which the relationship between dimming and the morphology of the coronal mass ejection was demonstrated. This paper shows the perspective of using coronal dimming to detect and study the emission at the early stage of its evolution.

A new study by a group of scientists opens up prospects for the development of space weather forecasting methods and technologies, thereby creating conditions for the stable operation of industries that use satellite communication, airlines, power grids, communication companies, transport, pipelines and emergency services.

Tatyana Piladchikova

associate professor, co-author of the study, director of the Skoltech System Design Center

“Our method is particularly useful for studying Earthward emissions. In these cases, the method will allow solving the problems associated with the difficulties of estimating emission parameters based on the data of coronagraphs located on the Sun-Earth line, since these devices observe, mainly, the expansion of the coronal mass ejection, and not the direction of its movement. We are now approaching the peak of the 11-year solar cycle, when solar activity increases significantly, and therefore sunspots, flares and coronal mass ejections increase.”

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