When and where sunspots will emerge can be predicted 1 day in advance

   Jul 10, 2:41 pm

Washington, July 10 (ANI): A team of researchers has found that subtle surface signs can reveal when and where sunspots will emerge on the Sun, at least a day in advance.

Using data from the Global Oscillations Network Group (GONG) and the Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI), scientists from NorthWest Research Associates (NWRA) and the Max-Planck-Institut fur Sonnensystemforschung (MPS) have found detectable signs of magnetic fields before they emerge at the solar surface to form sunspots.

Statistically significant differences were found between areas that produced groups of sunspots (called active regions) as compared to areas that stayed sunspot-free.

The differences persisted for at least a day prior to the first appearance of an active region.

While these differences are too small to make prediction possible for any single active region, the signals were visible for small and large (future) active regions alike, thus providing insight into a key piece of the sunspot formation process.

Solar active regions are areas on the surface of the Sun with strong concentrations of magnetic field.

One common model for the formation of active regions assumes that bundles of magnetic field are generated deep in the solar interior, become buoyant and rise up to the surface of the Sun.

When a flux bundle passes through the surface, it forms an active region.

This magnetic flux emergence is a fundamental process for the Sun and presumably solar-like stars, yet surprisingly little is known about its nature.

Active regions are the source of many space weather events that can impact Earth, so understanding their formation may ultimately lead to a better understanding of space weather.

The way in which active regions form can also help to determine the nature of the solar dynamo, the ultimate source of magnetic fields in the Sun.

Senior Research Scientist Dr. K. D. Leka summarizes the findings of the NorthWest Research Associates group by saying, "We've shown that careful research using the visible part of the Sun can indeed tell us about what is happening underneath; these results will be a guide for further research, and ultimately improve our understanding of the Sun and all stars."

The study has been published in The Astrophysical Journal. (ANI)

Philae results help understand the nature of comets Jul 31, 1:35 pm
Washington DC, July 31 (ANI): A new analysis of several studies on data sent back Philae has helped the scientists understand the nature of comets better than ever, and may be beneficial for future missions.
Full Story
NASA confirms existence of closest rocky exoplanet Jul 31, 10:07 am
Washington DC, July 31 (ANI): NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has helped confirm the discovery of the closest rocky planet outside our solar system, just 21 light-years away.
Full Story
Globular clusters could be factories of binary black holes Jul 30, 1:03 pm
Washington DC, July 30 (ANI): Astronomers have detected dense star clusters that they claim could be the factories of binary black holes.
Full Story
Space may be brewing its own `Kombucha` tea Jul 30, 11:16 am
Washington DC, July 30 (ANI): While Kombucha, the beverage the ancient Chinese referred to as "Immortal Health Elixir," has been around as a healthy tea for centuries, yeast and bacteria which make it have been found outside of the International Space Station.
Full Story
Comments

LATEST STORIES
TOP VIDEO STORIES
PHOTO GALLERY