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)

Why 'sibling stars' look alike Sep 1, 1:16 pm
Washington, Sep 1 (ANI): A new study has revealed that even stars that don't stay together in a cluster will share a chemical fingerprint with their siblings which can be used to trace them to the same birthplace.
Full Story
NASA's Mars rover gets ready to have its 'memory wiped' Sep 1, 12:21 pm
Washington, Sep 01 (ANI): NASA's Mars rover team has decided to reformat Opportunity's flash memory, it has been reported.
Full Story
Witness cosmic double play of Neptune, 'Dodgeball' Asteroid tonight Aug 30, 11:36 am
Washington, Aug 30 (ANI): Astronomers can enjoy a cosmic double play of Neptune and 'Dodgeball' Asteroid tonight.
Full Story
Way to detect tiny particles in exoplanet atmospheres found Aug 29, 2:04 pm
Washington, Aug 29 (ANI): A new study has found the method of identifying and measuring particles that are 10 times smaller than the width of a human hair, in exoplanet atmospheres.
Full Story
Comments

LATEST STORIES
TOP VIDEO STORIES
PHOTO GALLERY