For the first time, a team of scientists created a simulation of the complete life cycle of a solar flare. The results are spectacular, and enriching.
It is difficult not to be captivated by the beauty of this cosmic explosion. In a splendid multicoloured ballet, the solar flare takes shape, blossoms and fades gracefully. This animation is the first complete visualisation of a computer-generated solar flare, and in addition to its obvious beauty teaches us many lessons.
To better understand solar weather
This model represents a new advance in the field of solar meteorology. The effects of eruptions on our star can have considerable consequences for our planet, since a peak in the aurora borealis led to the damage of satellites and decommissioned electrical networks (GPS, communications, etc.).
Published in the journal Nature Astronomy, the study conducted by researchers from the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the Lockheed Martin laboratory dedicated to solar and astrophysics, proposed a more realistic simulation than those created so far, including the light emission spectrum commonly associated with these cosmic events.
Heading towards more precision
"This work allows us to provide an explanation for the appearance of solar flares, not on a single wavelength, but in visible light, ultraviolet, extreme ultraviolet and X-ray," said Mark Cheung, co-director author. "We explain the many colours of solar flares."
To create this simulation, the researchers had to resort to a mathematical technique allowing them to compress their equations so that they remain sufficiently precise but do not overload the program. After this first proof of concept, researchers are now planning to use Sun observation data to see if the program is able to predict their actual evolution.
Check out the video above to see the spectacular process for yourself!